Self-Care, COVID-19 Edition: Give Yourself the TLC You Need
As is true with most of life’s treasures, the gift of motherhood comes with immense responsibility. But in order to give to another, you must first prioritize yourself—ensuring that you’re strong and healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
That makes self-care ever-important. And in the midst of the Covis-19 pandemic—with mothers-to-be growing babies and giving birth in unprecedented times and postpartum mamas quarantined with newborns—self-care is particularly relevant for moms.
It’s not a woo-woo term either: The World Health Organization defines it (broadly as the ability to promote and maintain health with or without the help of a healthcare provider). Research continually shows it’s a crucial part of mental and physical health. Any busy mom knows the powers of a few glorious moments of me-time!
The best kinds of self-care recharge you before you need charging, allowing you to give the best of you instead of—well—what’s left. But with more families staying home and fewer out-of-the-house options to choose from, what does self-care look like now? As it’s slowly been reimagined, how do you steal away a few much-deserved moments to feel invigorated, calm, and like your best version of you?
Make Your Skincare Routine Intentional
Still stressed even with more time at home? A great tip is to transform a few rushed moments for skincare into a calming routine by penciling in time (perhaps after the kids go down) to be intentional about what you and your skin need at any given moment. Honor those needs with even five minutes of focused attention.
“Before the pandemic started, the time to take care of my face was a little bit faster, because I was always running from one place to another with the girls and with the stress that the day brings,” says skincare influencer and mom of 2, Elisamar Rosado. "But in the quarantine I began to take care of my face with more focus on specific needs and enjoy my skin care moment, relaxed, calm and it happens step by step. more intentional. Less makeup and more care for my face. And the results? The best."
BONUS: Research finds that facial massage can have stress-lowering, anti-anxiety effects!
Honor Your Mind
By now it’s clear that the mind and body don’t operate in isolation from one another—and that when you respect your mind, you feel better physically and vice versa.
It’s just that the physical—exercise, eating well, using clean personal care products—is usually top of mind when we think about health. But your mind needs attention, too. “Physical things can only take you so far. It is the mental nurturing that is crucial,” says Lauren Aller, mom of 1 with one on the way, who practices gratitude daily. “In times like these, it is easy to worry and be swept up in a nervous thought. I stay vigilant, but I remind myself there are only certain things that I can control. A happy mind equals a happy body.”
The benefits of gratitude are great, but to find a mental health practice that resonates with you, think about when you feel your best—that means grounded, centered, yourself—and what activities get you there. It might be 15 minutes on the yoga mat, a walk around the block, or (ahhh) a nap.
Sure, it’s not as easy as it once was to meet up with friends or have a babysitter come by, but having a solid support system remains an important part of self-care and overall health. “Whether it’s my spouse, parents, sibling, or a close friend, I surround myself with people I can go to when I need comfort and vice versa,” says Aller. “This helps me to fully care for myself during this uncertain time.”
Yhanni James, mom of 4 and founder of the Mama Makers Collective, notes that she feels rejuvenated after spending time with others doing anything crafty. Months ago, she says she’d meet up in-person with others for creative workshops, but now she’s pivoted to Zoom meetups. “Learning something new, being social, doing something repetitive, and creating art are all so healing and necessary for me. Thankfully, I still feel as joyful and refreshed closing my laptop after these workshops as I would leaving a physical gathering.”
Support comes in many forms—and sometimes you just have to be creative to find it. Reach out to like-minded mamas online (in Facebook groups, via Instagram DMs, by joining in on IG Lives or webinars), pencil in weekly Facetimes with family members, or seek virtual support from therapists, doulas, and other health professionals.
Even a socially-distanced walk around your local area can help you feel connected and supported—a key for any new or soon-to-be mother.
Cassie Shortsleeve is a freelance writer and the founder of Dear Sunday, an online platform that helps women adjust to new motherhood. She's a regular contributor to Men's Health, Women's Health, Parents, and other national publications. She lives in Boston, MA with her husband and daughter Sunday.
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