Taking Care of Yourself and Staying Connected to Others
We know that this is a very difficult time for so many women and families. For many parents the stress, anxiety, and sadness can feel overwhelming, This is a time where we need to take two things very seriously; 1) self-care; and 2) staying connected to others for support. We need both – we cannot only rely on ourselves, nor only rely on other people to help us through.
Sleep is one of the most important things for our physical and emotional health. And yet getting good sleep can be a challenge for many. For tips about getting good sleep during this time, read this article from the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center. However, if you are having difficulty falling or staying asleep, please talk to your healthcare provider.
Eat regular healthy meals and snacks. Our brains need good vitamins and nutrition to function well. This means that the food we eat can directly impact our mood and how we feel. There is even a whole new field of medicine called nutritional psychiatry because the link between food and mood is so strong. Try limiting sugar and processed foods, and add in fruits and vegetables. If your family does not have enough food, visit Other Resources for links to support.
Exercise can be a very powerful way to improve our mood. There are many options for guided workouts or yoga practices online right now. Visit Other Resources for links. Just walking is also a great way to get exercise. Try 20-30 minutes per day of moving your body.
Breathing or Meditation is way to help our bodies calm down as well as a way to try to stay present. When our minds are spending too much time going over the past or worrying about the future, we suffer. Meditation can help us stay in the present moment since it is the only moment we can actually change. Visit Other Resources for links to meditation resources.
Fresh Air is important for our mood. It is a very good time to get outside every day as the weather is warming up. Remember to practice recommended physical distancing guidelines, and when you can’t the CDC is recommending you wear a mask. For more information about masks from the CDC, including easy, no-sew masks you can make at home, click here.
Having a sense of purpose each day is very helpful during this time when days may seem to all feel the same. Practicing good self-care or trying to home school your children may be enough for you right now. But if you are feeling something is missing, try to find something that is interesting to you to work on. This could be a new hobby, finding a way to help others, or making a list of projects you can work on a little bit each day.
Other ideas for self-care can be found at the following links:
- Self-Care Tips from Zero to Three
- NAMI Information Guide
- Self-Care Videos from the Center for Mind-Body Medicine
Staying Connected to Others
We need the support of others right now even when we cannot be physically close. Support can make all the difference in helping you feel better. Without it, we can feel very alone and it can take longer to feel more like ourselves.
Make a list of people who you feel safe with and can talk to. It doesn’t need to be a long list – but just knowing there are a couple people you can count on is very important.
Schedule regular times to talk with family and friends either on the phone or online.
Try video chatting with your support people. There are many options for free video chatting.
Connect with a therapist or other mental health provider. Check out Resources for Pregnant Women and Parents for referrals.
Write letters to family and friends. Writing can be a great way to deal with difficult feelings, especially if talking is not as comfortable for you.
Be careful connecting with people online that you do not know. This is a hard time for all of us, and when we are stressed we can have a harder time knowing who is a safe person and who is not. Try to stick to connecting with people you know well and who are supportive of you.