Living in lockdown feels a bit like the December holidays, doesn't it? We're not sure what day it is and time seems to alternate between being excruciatingly drawn out or rapidly flying by. Your kiddies may be feeling this too, as they have missed out on school and normal routines. Get yourselves back on schedule by setting clear bed times, wake up routines and study or play time throughout the day. Not only will this bring you and the kids back to some sense of normal, but it allows you time for yourself.
Mark out an allotted time per day dedicated to your own self-care. Whether this includes a 15-minute workout in the morning, meditation or reading time, is up to you. Your 'me time' should not involve answering work emails, checking Facebook notifications or watching videos sent on Whatsapp groups. These activities may help you escape for awhile, but they will not refresh your body or mind. Make your time alone about working through your thoughts and feelings instead. Even if you only practice 10 minutes of mindful thinking a day, you'll be a calmer and less aggravated mommy or daddy.
This is a hard one to master, but it's pertinent to your well-being and mental health. When you feel yourself ready to snap, remove yourself from the situation and take a breather. Don't allow your children or spouse to follow you into your quiet place. Lock the door and let yourself unwind. Scream into a pillow if you must! This 'me time' rule applies to bathroom visits as well. So long as you have someone else to watch over your little ones while you are busy, you should lock the door. Sing in the shower, let your hair down and just be you for a few minutes.
If you don't have the luxury of a spouse or caregiver at home in lockdown, treat yourself to a luxurious bath once the kids are down for the night. This will relax you and help get you some good, restorative sleep as well. Remember that sleep counts as 'me time' too, so make it a priority to get at least seven hours of rest a night if you can.
Let's face it, as parents we have very little time to pursue hobbies and learn new skills, even in lockdown. If you have been feeling left out watching all your childless friends or family baking up a storm in lockdown, taking on new fitness challenges or knitting mounds of winter hats and gloves, you're not alone. But don't fret. Even if you don't have time to start a side hustle or become the next Nigella Lawson, you can still feed your soul with the little things. This could be as insignificant as planting herbs in your garden or tidying up that closet you eye with shame each morning. Do these kinds of activities when the kids are busy with school work or occupied with the latest dance trend on TikTok.
Your children need time to themselves too, even if they aren't able to articulate it. In learning to tackle challenges on their own, they grow and become well-adjusted little people. Give each other the space you need to flourish in these tough times.
It's alright to ask for help when you need it. Reach out to family and friends when you feel overwhelmed. They may not be able to rush over to help out, but they can have a chat with the kids while you prepare dinner or do some breathing exercises to centre yourself. It's important to grant yourself time for adult conversation, as well. A person can only stand a certain amount of Peppa Pig and Disney replays before they go mad!
Organise a girls' night in over Zoom on a Friday night or work on your online dating profile if you are a single parent. Alternatively, treat your spouse to a date night at home. Parents are multifaceted beings, remember that. You are mom, dad, sister, daughter, spouse, professional, creative, DIY expert and master chef all rolled into one. You must nurture all these facets to avoid losing yourself in the job of being a parent.
How do you find time for yourself as a parent? Share your tips and tricks with us and other moms and dads in need!