As I’ve said in my last two posts–How to Manage Being Stuck at Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic as a Parent with Bipolar Disorder, and How to Make Time for Self-Care as a Parent During the Coronavirus Pandemic–self-care is crucial for you to continue functioning as a parent.
This is true always, but is especially true as a parent stuck at home during self-quarantine for the coronavirus pandemic.
But what is self-care? A lot of people think self-care ideas are limited to bubble baths and painting their nails. But that’s just not true.
Self-care is taking responsibility for your physical and mental well-being. That’s it.
There are 7 types of self-care: physical, emotional, relational, social, intellectual, spiritual, and safety and security self-care.
Read on for self-care ideas you can do while stuck at home that cover all 7 of these areas.
Make notes of the ideas that apply to your life or that you want to try, and see which ones you can incorporate your children into. Put a C by those ideas. Next, put an I by those ideas that you need independent me-time for. We’ll come back to this later.
Some of these ideas are taken from a sheet given to me by the teachers at Lake Washington Toddler Group.
Physical Self-Care Ideas
Physical needs are usually the most insistent. When we’re hungry, we feel it in our bellies and throats. Here are some ideas on how to meet our physical needs. Some of these are done alone, and some are best done with others:
- Exercise, on your own and as a family.
- Sleep as much as you can and nap when your child naps. For a post on how to get forty winks despite the sleep disturbances and insomnia of bipolar disorder, click here.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Take a hot shower.
- Drink tea or hot chocolate.
- Go on a long walk outside with your child in the stroller or sling.
- Drink plenty of water.
- If you do get sick, call your medical providers and let them know, to see if you need to come in to their offices.
Emotional Self-Care Ideas
Emotional self-care is ensuring that you are emotionally and mentally healthy. You need to express a range of feelings in order to take care of yourself emotionally. Here are some ideas to meet your emotional needs:
- Prioritize the activities that make you happy.
- Spend time alone each day.
- Check in with your therapist if they offer virtual visits.
- Indulge in a good, cleansing cry.
- Listen to a comedy show.
- Watch a movie that you love.
- Say no to extra responsibilities.
Relational Self-Care Ideas
Relational self-care is ensuring your relationships with your family members are strong. Familial relationships are critical for good mental health, as without them you may feel alone and unsupported. And with all the time you’re spending with your family during the coronavirus crisis, you can deepen your relationships with them. Relational self-care ideas include:
- Cuddle, kiss, and hug your children.
- Make love to your partner, if you have one and you have a sexual relationship.
- Play a game with your family.
- Play a game specifically with your partner, after your kids have gone to bed.
- Establish healthy boundaries around alone time for everyone, and respect those boundaries.
- Foster honest communication about your needs, and those of your partner and children.
- Encourage respect for each other and others.
Social Self-Care Ideas
Social self-care is strengthening relationships with those outside your immediate family. Socialization is so important to your mental health, even if you’re an introvert. It’s part of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid. Ideas for social self-care include:
- Check in with family and friends via Facetime, Skype, phone calls, or texts.
- Ask friends and family to remind you that things will be okay, and that what you’re feeling is temporary.
- Cuddle with your immediate family or a pet.
- Schedule time each day to talk to another adult.
- Intentionally reconnect with someone you’ve lost touch with or have unresolved conflict with.
- Leave a funny voicemail for someone you care about.
- Join an online support group or forum.
Intellectual Self-Care Ideas
Intellectual self-care is looking after your intellectual pursuits and critical thinking skills. One of the best ways to develop your intellectual self-care repitoire is to engage in creative pursuits. Here are some intellectual self-care ideas while you’re stuck at home:
- Check your library’s website for their online catalog, and check out some books to read on your phone or ereader.
- Read books slightly above your child’s grade level to them.
- Listen to podcasts or audio books while you work.
- If your child is doing an art project, sit down with them and create your own art.
- Write something, be it a blog, stories, or a personal journal.
- Watch documentaries on TV, from the library, or on a streaming service.
- Identify a project that would be challenging and rewarding, and then plan to do it.
- Return to old hobbies that you may not have pursued since the birth of your children.
Spiritual Self-Care Ideas
Spiritual self-care is not synonymous with religion, though it can take the form of attending church services and praying to a higher power. It’s a search for purpose and understanding in the universe, and expressing values that are important to us. Spiritual self-care ideas include:
- Pray or meditate, especially in front of your children.
- Volunteer to pick up groceries for an elderly friend or neighbor.
- Write in a journal to reflect upon your new life.
- Be open to inspiration and awe.
- Contribute to causes you believe in.
- Spend time outside in your front yard or on your balcony.
- Attend religious services online.
Safety and Security Self-Care Ideas
Safety and security self-care involves having health insurance and being smart about your personal safety. Understanding the financial sphere falls under this type of self-care. Many people wait to evaluate their safety or finances until they’re in trouble. Don’t do that. Make sure you have contingency plans. Here are some ideas for safety and security self-care that you can do while stuck at home:
- Check out an ebook from the library on investing, and read it.
- Read backlogs of articles on personal finance sites.
- Double-check your locks. Change them if someone might have a key that you don’t want to.
- Order a locking mailbox on Amazon and install it when it arrives.
- Change your internet passwords.
- Call your insurance company and find out if they cover virtual medical appointments.
- Go through your credit card statements line by line and see if there are any charges that you don’t recognize.
- Examine your bills (utilities, cell phone, internet, streaming services). Find out if there are any fees you don’t want, and call the companies to see if those fees can be waived.
Self-care isn’t complex. But it can be difficult to think of ideas to do, especially while you’re stuck at home with your kids due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Review your list to see which ideas you can incorporate your children into and which ideas you need me-time for.
If you’ve placed a C next to the ones you can do with your children and an I for ones you need independent time for, then pick out one or two that you can do tomorrow.
Start with the C ideas. Once you’ve performed some self-care alongside your children, find some time to work on the I ideas.
(For a post on how to find time for self-care as a parent stuck at home, click here.)
Self-care, especially independent self-care, can make you feel better. You may soon see the rewards–for yourself and for your family–of a little bit of me-time.
I wish you well in your journey.
- COVID-19: 7 Ways to Combat Anxiety About the Coronavirus Pandemic
- How Depression Interferes with Getting Things Done (GTD)
- 6 Steps to Become Your Own Mental Health Advocate