Self-care for parents: Ideas to take care of yourself during COVID-19

If you’re feeling afraid, stressed, or disconnected, try these self-care strategies for your mind, body, and spirit.

Cynthia King, Specialized Behavioral Health Supervisor

April 08, 2020

In your role as caregiver for others, “self” is often on the back burner. You question,How can I carve out time for myself during challenging times? Schools are closed indefinitely, there are limited child care resources, maybe you’ve been laid off, you have concerns for elderly parents, and maybe you’re feeling socially (and physically) disconnected.

I get it. Self-care doesn’t come easy for many people. That’s why I’m sharing these self-care strategies—for mind, body, and spirit—as you manage your “new normal.”

MIND

  • Be honest about your emotions, whether you’re feeling frustrated, sad, or angry
  • Remind yourself that you’re doing your best in a difficult situation
  • Ask for help when you need it, and look for opportunities to help someone back
  • Take a break from what you have to do to do something you love to do
  • Take regular breaks from stressful activities
  • Look for the good/positive in something

BODY

  • Relax: Find a way each day to reserve some time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes
  • Breathe: Inhale (4 seconds), hold (4 seconds), and exhale (4 seconds), and repeat
  • Eat healthy: Engage your family in preparing a healthy meal, and then sit down together and eat as a family
  • Wind down at night: Read a book to your child or pick up that book on your night stand that you haven’t had time to read
  • Sleep: On average, adults need approximately eight hours of sleep each night
  • Exercise: Take a walk outside, walk the dog, have a dance contest, go up and down stairs in your home, and find other creative ways to stay active while practicing appropriate social distancing
  • Have fun

SPIRIT

  • Pray and meditate
  • Consult with your spiritual leaders
  • Help or assist others in a safe and thoughtful way
  • Give thanks to God for your blessings, even during uncertain and difficult times
  • Demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus Christ—to yourself, to your family, to your neighbors
  • Enjoy nature
  • Practice moments of being still
  • Laugh—it’s good for the soul

Write down your self-care plan—what you will do daily, weekly, and monthly. Check in with yourself at the end of each day and reflect. Keep your plan where you can see it, and remind yourself that to take good care of others, you must take good care of yourself.

As tough as this may be right now, we will get through this together. And we will be stronger as a result of this journey.

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