I can’t believe one of my posts is about self care. In my mind, self care took on a negative connotation. It seemed to imply putting oneself above others which is definitely not what I stand for. I try to live my life by putting others first. At times, I run myself to the point of exhaustion.
As this stay at home order crept into another month, I gained a new perspective on self care. This perspective is one that my husband, Mike, has been trying to tell me for years. For me to best serve my family, I must take care of my own mental and physical health first.
Before the quarantine, I had many healthy habits that I built into my day. Reading, exercising, and learning a new skill were ways that I took care of myself. As an introvert, these activities were enough that I naturally felt healthy and ready to give back to my family.
It became much more difficult to get quiet times away from the family when we needed to stay at home together. After about two weeks of dropping into bed exhausted, I knew I needed a new plan to recharge by myself.
I used to go to the gym 4 times a week to exercise. About twice a week, I would attend a barre class. The other times I would just get on a treadmill and catch up on my podcasts. Either way, the gym was a place for me to just think.
We started going on family walks right when the gym closed down. I enjoyed our evening family walks but they didn’t give me the mental space that the gym did. I quickly realized that I still needed to exercise by myself to feel ready to take on my day.
Thankfully, my gym made online workouts available. I am able to start my day by exercising in our basement. Their classes are updated with new offerings so it keeps the workouts more interesting. This is time that I have to myself and helps me feel like I am ready to take on a full day.
At lunch, I go on a 2.5 mile walk by myself. Since Mike is working from home, I am able to get out during the day. I look forward to this time and use it to listen to my podcasts. Just getting out of the house and off our property makes the world feel bigger. Changing my scenery a little helps change my perspective when I am in a funk.
I have such fond memories of nap time when the girls were babies and toddlers. I loved having about a hour and a half to shower, read, get things done around the house, or plan dinner. Nap times were the best time for me to get mental space.
It has been about 4 years since any of my girls napped. However, with so much time together we need to have a down time during our days. By 2:00 pm we are ready for quiet time. In our family, it works best for each of us to grab a book and head to our own rooms.
I couldn’t ask for better people to be quarantined with, but I still need space. My three girls are all pretty chatty right now and have a lot of thoughts that they want to share with me. Most of the time, I am attentive and ready to engage. I do need time to myself where I know they will not interrupt me and I have time to recharge by myself.
Implementing an afternoon quiet time has given me mental space. I use this time to read, write blog posts, bake, catch up with my to do list, work outside, or just relax. Having a scheduled down time each day, ensures that we all have time to relax and recharge.
It is most difficult for me to take time to rest. For me to truly rest, I have to be in an environment that is orderly and clean. With all of us home, it is much more difficult to keep on top of picking up and cleaning.
During our homeschool day, books get piled up on the dining room table, crafts are left out on the coffee table, and a stack of school work that needs corrected takes over the kitchen counter. It is best for me to mentally focus on school rather than trying to maintain an orderly home.
After dinner, we all work together to clean up the main floor of the house. If all of us pitch in it takes less than 15 mins to put everything away, clean the dishes, and run the vacuum. Having the counter tops, kitchen table, and coffee table cleaned off makes our living space easier to relax in.
At 8 pm, the girls are in their rooms winding down from the day. This is the sweet time of the day that Mike and I are able to relax in the main living space. It is satisfying to reflect on what was accomplished that day over tea.
Rest is essential for me. Rest comes when my to-do list for the day is done, the room is quiet, and I have mental space to reflect on my day. To be ready for tomorrow, I have to give myself time alone to rest.
Are you running yourself to exhaustion? It is important to know your personality and how to take care of your mental & physical health so you can best take care of those in your family. I found the tips for self care during quarantine helpful from Psychology Today.
I want to parent and school my children out of a place of strength. When I feel refreshed, recharged, and energized I am a better wife, mom, teacher, and friend. I still struggle with taking time for myself, but I know that it is better for those around me when I do.
How are you practicing self care during the quarantine?
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