Those famous words, “You can't pour from an empty cup”
Self-care. We all know the importance of it, we all desire it, and we are told often and seeing more often the information about how it can be helpful to us when caring for others, especially as parents caregivers grandparents, etc. of kiddos with extra needs. But how does one do self-care during a pandemic? Especially when our “community” and support systems are likely not as available. We typically might have 2-3 hours while our littlest loves are at preschool? Maybe we do a babysitting swap with another mom friend on Wednesdays, but that isn’t happening right now. Playdates are even tricky these days, as we are being cautious to keep distance and be safe.
Even though self-care is tricky to do, it is needed. Being kind and caring to ourselves allows for more ability to stay calm in the chaotic moments, be less reactive, and offer compassion to our family members and others around us. It also models for our children the need to be kind to ourselves. This does not mean we will then be perfect parents if we give ourselves some care, but it allows for a recharge of one’s own battery, which can filter into relationships with others.
Let’s rethink self-care, redesign it to fit our “quarantined” life or current pandemic lifestyle to be simple small things like sitting in silence for five minutes (even in the bathroom if that’s all that is available) and focusing on your breath - deep inhale through the belly and exhale all the breath; waking up 10 minutes early to just be mindfully aware and quiet before the rest of the household wakes up. In their new book, The Connected Parent Lisa Qualls and Dr. Karyn Purvis describe “Restful Thinking” as a quick, easy way to take care of oneself. “Letting your mind rest and be unfocused for a bit of time each day is good for you. With so much to accomplish in the hours we have, we’re inclined to be productive until we collapse. Believe it or not, daydreaming is restorative for our overworked brains.” I bet we all can agree our brains are on overload and are overworked these days. Think for a minute-how can you redesign self-care to better fit your current life situation?
Written by Lindsay Bragdon, Adoption Program Director at The Maine Children's Home for The Connected Community @ MCH.