We find ourselves in the second month of quarantine and stay-at-home orders here in LA. As we celebrate women’s health and Mother’s day this month, I want to turn the focus of this article to women, especially moms, and how to take care of themselves during this pandemic.
Women are often the primary caretakers of the household. They embody Mother energy. They get up and start planning their day around the rest of the household members – kids’ zoom classes, partner’s meeting/phone schedules, meal times, snack times – making sure the family gets fed and the house stays in order as everyone tries to find a spot to accommodate their own agenda. Women are often the last ones to “put themselves first”. Self-care is important on an average day, but so much more during a pandemic where quiet spaces and alone time are hard to come by. We have to prioritize. We have to get creative. We have to plan self-care into our day, or we won’t get to it.
What are the benefits of self-care, and what are the consequences of no self-care? You may ask, “Why is self-care important?”
Everyday life can really drain one’s energy, patience, and vitality, but all the more in today’s circumstances. In the midst of this pandemic the house may be constantly filled with others fighting for their own productive space. Emotions may be running a little stronger, and stress levels higher. Covid-19 circumstances can really drain the life out of you. This may lead to increased blood pressure, increased anxiety levels… which then can lead to hormone imbalances and health risks in general. As a yogi and a physical therapist, I know first hand how psychological stressors can negatively impact one’s physical health.
So how do we practice self-care in a house constantly buzzing with people and their various zoom classes and meetings? Find moments to yourself. It doesn’t have to be a big production, or require a huge amount of time. Little moments of self-care throughout the day add up. And if you happen to be able to find an entire hour, take it! Here are a few recommendations:
- Shower/Bath time – Take time to enjoy your shower, or better yet, draw yourself a bath, put on calming music, add some Epsom salts to your tub and/or a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Take a few extra minutes to enjoy this time rather than see it as one more thing to check off of the to-do list.
- Exercise – You don’t need a full hour to exercise, but find a way to move your body, maybe break a little sweat. Dance to your favorite station, do a few yoga poses, or bang out a 20 min HIIT online class. Whatever it is, getting your heart rate up, changing up your breathing pattern, and getting your body moving works wonders. It is a sure way to increase endorphins and to feel great.
- Meditate and/journal – I find this easiest to do first thing in the morning. Perhaps wake before everyone else and give yourself some time to enter the day mindfully instead of rushing out of bed and into your day. I enjoy using a meditation app on my phone, and then writing in my gratitude journal to start off my day. It puts me in a positive mindset right off the bat. Find your own version of this.
- Read a book – Carve out time to just read that book you’ve been meaning to start. Nothing feels more like self-care than snuggling up in a cozy corner of the house with a good book and a warm cup of tea.
- Spend time outdoors – Make time to go outside and feel the sunshine on your face. Be sure to stop and smell the roses that are in peak bloom right now. Self-care can be as simple as that.
Do whatever it takes to take care of yourself during this time, and don’t feel guilty about prioritizing YOU! We need to do whatever it takes to be our best selves.
Danél Lombard, MPT, MA, E-RYT is a Integrative Physical Therapist at the Akasha Center For Integrative Medicine. You can schedule an appointment with her by calling 310-451-8880 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org