These are dark and frustrating times. People are scared, uncertain, and unsure of how to go forward. All of us are worried about countless things right now that are out of our control….
Will I still have a job when this is over? And if I don’t or have to take a big pay cut… how will I provide for my family?
How can I maintain my job and try to homeschool my children?
What will all of this mean for our country and families long-term?
When will this virus go away and how many people will it hurt or kill before it does?
I am not going to even pretend to have any of these answers! But I am going to share some things I learned throughout some very dark times in my history, including my own periods of self-quarantine aimed to protect my daughter during her cancer battle.
I learned early on during Olivia’s cancer battle that self-care is EXTREMELY important during dark and scary times! When I didn’t take care of myself at all I didn’t have the strength or the energy my family needed during the worst of times.
Self-care for me during those times looked totally different than they had previously… I couldn’t go to the gym. I couldn’t spend time shopping in stores for some retail therapy. Often times it wasn’t possible to go to church. I had zero time to go to a day spa. And time alone was not something I got very often, if at all.
Here are some beautiful realities… you don’t HAVE to leave your home or be alone to find peace and opportunities for self-care! Below is a list of a few ways you can take care of yourself even in the midst of this time for social distancing:
- GET DRESSED & READY – Even if you can’t leave the house there is something to be said for taking the time to still brush your hair, put on a little makeup, and put on some “real” clothes. There are days it feels DOWNRIGHT AMAZING to stay in my jammies all day and have zero makeup on. But other days it makes the isolation of not needing to get ready for anything feel even more, well isolating.
- EXERCISE – Moving your body a little bit is very helpful for reducing stress and anxiety! Plus it’s a natural immune booster! Whether you go on a walk, play a family game of outdoor soccer or basketball, or try out a new workout video, it will feel great to get a little bit of movement in each day.
- INDULGE – In the ways that you can do something that feels “extra” to make your days a little bit brighter. Take a bubble bath, have family dinner by candlelight, do an at-home face mask, order takeout from a nice local restaurant and put on fancy clothes to eat it, etc. Let your kids drink their apple juice out of a fancy champagne glass. It’s amazing how something simple can make you all feel extra special.
- CONNECT – When you can’t spend time with friends, colleagues, and extended family in person, still take the time to connect! Call, text, chat on Face Time, but stay in touch and let your loved ones know you are still thinking about them.
- HAVE A ROUTINE – Stick to somewhat of a routine even during uncertain times! By all means sleep in a little bit (if your kids will actually let you!) but develop a routine that provides some normalcy for your family. A routine will help everyone feel more settled, which will help keep the calm in your home.
- PRAY – What gives me the most peace and fills my soul is time spent in prayer with the only One who has any answers during times of uncertainty. I also purposely sandwich my day with his Word. I read a devotional before I get out of bed in the morning and get back in his Word again before I lay my head down to go to sleep.
For me one of the most challenging pieces of Olivia’s battle (besides her life being in such grave danger) was the isolation I felt from absolutely everyone. Play dates weren’t possible most of the time. What I was going through with my child was drastically different from what most of my friends were having to deal with, so our ability to connect on parenting and life suffered. There also was no time to get away and deal with my own emotions.
I felt scared, alone, and completely overwhelmed with life. But it DID GET BETTER. Eventually I figured out how to navigate life and these new challenges. I adjusted and prioritized relationships. I discovered that a little self-care and prayer went a long way to helping me manage the unmanageable.
I am going to continue to share ideas and strategies for surviving this time of isolation! Hopefully they are helpful to someone. If you have any ideas, comments, or personal experience please feel free to share them in the comments or send them via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.