Hey Mamas! What a wild few weeks! Life got real, real fast.You likely have more on your plate right now with things like homeschooling, toilet paper sourcing, and/or working from home, etc. There is a lot of new territory to navigate right now. However, in order for you to better show up in the capacities that matter most to you, you can not afford to toss self-care aside. Remember, you are better able to take care of others, as you remember to take care of yourself.
Below, we have provided a list of Self-Care Essentials that are adapted to Social Distancing changes. Don't let the list overwhelm you. Just focus on each area and find something that works for you. Allow this unique time in history to be an opportunity for self-discovery. Figure out what helps you and what fills your cup. Let's dive right in.
It may seem like we are stuck inside with no other options, but if circumstances/weather permits it...get outside! Even if it's just in your backyard...take some time to get some VITAMIN D. Sunlight will boost your mood and research has shown it also can boost your immunity too.
While you're outside take a few moments to be present. Notice what you see, smell, hear, and feel. Take deep breaths and let the fresh air fill your lungs. Visualize breathing out the stresses you are holding inside of you.
On days when weather isn't cooperating, be sure to open your windows for a period of time to let the fresh air fill your home. Studies show this can reduce carbon dioxide levels and can even improve sleep. Which brings us to our next focus...
Obviously we are huge supporters of rest around here, but it can be challenging if your mind is running a million miles an hour. Something that is recommended in order to help you unwind before bed, is go through a REST PREP ROUTINE.
Here are some ideas to include:
-No screens after 9 pm.
-Do a "brain dump" before bed and get all of your thoughts and "To-Dos" down on paper.
-Meditate. (There are a ton of free apps that provide guided meditations. I have used this one and would recommend it.)
-During the day, you may also want to experiment with Power Napping to see if that is helpful for you. You may feel a little "guilty" taking the time to nap, but don't let that stop you. Some of the most influential people in history were avid nappers. From inventors, to presidents, to celebrities, you can view a list of famous nappers here.
If napping isn't your thing, still try to take some time during the day to rest your body and mind. Remember, you need to rest in order to work.
MOVE YOUR BODY
In addition to rest, you also want to make sure that you move your body. It can be so easy to become sedentary at this time, but make physical activity a priority. You owe it to your mind and overall well-being at this time to make physical movement part of your regular routine.
If you're like me and going to the gym was your normal resource for physical exercise, you can be comforted in knowing that the fitness world is showing up in BIG WAYS to keep you physically active right now. There is something available for every fitness level.
Here are a few favorites. (And if you are a postpartum mama and have not yet been approved by your doctor for physical exercise, remember walking is still movement. Listen to your body and don't overdo it.)
High Fitness: If you haven't yet checked out High Fitness...you must! It is a fun aerobics workout all to your favorite songs. Last week they just announced that for the first time ever they are offering a full 45 minute class on YouTube for Free! If you sign up in advance, you can also attend FREE Live classes too.
Les Mills on Demand: My favorite is the Barre class! But they have a great variety of classes available. If you have a membership at the YMCA, you can access a handful of classes for free. Otherwise, you can sign up for about $15/month. They also offer a free trial.
Jenny Redford Pilates Postpartum Essentials: I did these videos after having my third son, and I can't recommend them enough! They helped to correct my Diastasis Recti. And they also help to improve pelvic floor health. With Jenny as your guide, you can be comforted in knowing what moves are appropriate during the fourth trimester as your body continues to heal.
BOHO Beautiful Yoga: If you want to escape to an island...but you can't. Turn on BOHO Beautiful Yoga available on YouTube. She has different levels of Yoga classes that can meet your needs.
SHINE Dance Fitness: This is one that I am hoping to try out soon. I hear it is a blast! Their website describes their original choreography as being "rooted in traditional jazz, ballet and hip-hop,[and] provides the perfect balance of cardio, toning, and strength components."
Prenatal Yoga with Laura Dutta: This class prenatal yoga class is a great option for you expectant mamas out there. There are a ton of other great prenatal exercises available for free on YouTube. Experiment with what works for you and the stage of pregnancy you are in.
Momstrong Move App: This is another fitness option we have been hearing great things about. There are workout options for whatever stage of motherhood you are in. You can get a sneak peak over in the stories section of @momstrongmove and @meg_miles.
TAKE A WARM BATH/SHOWER
Though we are home bound for a while, it can help you to feel more like yourself as you care for your body. Take some time for yourself to shower/bathe. If you're feeling really motivated...get ready for the day. Routines can help bring some normalcy into this unfamiliar territory.
EAT NUTRITIOUS FOOD
Yes, we all need to get creative on this one. It is likely that not all of your normal foods are readily available right now. Assess what you have that is available and get some form of greens every day. Also, experiment! If all you have are canned or frozen beans, cook them in oil and season them to make them a bit tastier. Try new recipes. In addition, take appropriate vitamins and supplements to ensure you're getting the daily nutrients you need. And don't forget about lots of H2O!
CONNECT WITH LOVED ONES
I think we are all to the point where we really miss and long for physical interaction with loved ones. It feels as if we are living some type of weird social experiment. The bottom line is we really need each other.
Though we can't physically get together with all of our friends and family, make sure to continually reach out to them whether it be FaceTime, Marco Polo, a phone call, text, etc. Perhaps you could even send a letter, because who doesn't love getting actual letters?
We are fortunate enough to live in a day and age where regular contact with loved ones is possible. When you're feeling extra isolated and alone, reach out. There is likely someone out there feeling the same way.
There are sooo many benefits to journaling and so many different ways to journal.
One product that we recommend when you are in a funk, is Promptly Journal's Gratitude Journal. It can be easy right now to focus solely on the challenges we are facing, but taking the time to mentally shift towards gratitude can improve your mood and spirits. And it can reduce stress!
Another journaling exercise that I discussed in my stories last week, is therapeutic free writing. To do this, I take out a plain piece of white paper (which can easily be shredded later) and just write whatever comes to mind. The rule for the exercise is that there is no judgement... so anything goes. Sometimes I will start with different questions such as "What am I feeling? Why do I feel that way? What can I do about it?"
Therapeutic free writing helps to better identify which emotions you are experiencing and what is within your realm of control. If you tend to suppress feelings like me, I would recommend giving free writing a shot. It has been an extremely useful tool in order for me to become more clear-minded.
Lastly, create. Utilize this unique time to slow down. Do something that you simply enjoy doing. If your schedule seems too busy, schedule at least one hour a week where you can just create. Don't worry about whether or not your creation is "any good", but just find joy in the process. If you don't feel like you're very creative, create any way. You can begin by painting, writing, cooking, capturing, etc.
Need a little more direction? You can sign up for a free trial on Skillshare which is an online educational platform to teach you a variety of creative skills.
We hope this list can be helpful for you as you face the social distancing frontier head on. If you need a quick reference, your Rest Dress includes "Self-Care Instructions" on the opposite side of the laundering instructions. Be sure to refer there if you need a quick reminder.
Both change and the unknown can be stressful. However, as you prioritize self-care, you will be better equipped to manage the stressors that arise. Also, don't forget to show yourself grace along the way. We have never experienced anything quite like this before. Be patient with yourself as you figure things out.
You can do this! And you have 7.8 Billion people around the world doing it along with you. And if you need some professional assistance, make sure to reach out. Many therapists have moved their practices online to meet current needs.
Sending a whole lot of love from Texas to you and your family.