I have been Zooming all week. Staff meetings, department meetings, morning meetings, read alouds for my kids, a special 'happy birthday' for my son, and my favorite — happy hour. Zoom happy hour has become a regular part of my day, when I carve out time to enjoy a drink (or more) and chat with friends. These calls have been vital to my week and help keep me sane and grounded each night.
Things are uncertain and scary right now. There's no way to know when life will return to normal — when we'll all look back on this time and say "remember when." But there are certainly some silver linings to it all. We're slowing down and really focusing on family time. We're doing everything we can to make sure things are relatively calm as we set new routines for our kids. If you're anything like me, you're also using this time for yourself as best as you can. It's easy to get wrapped up in what our kids need most, but we can't forget to take care of ourselves right now. Because, as we all know, you can't pour from an empty cup. So here are a few suggestions for how to take care of yourself amidst the craziness.
My parents are 73 years old. My in-laws are 69 and 70. I am fortunate to have all four of these wonderful people in...
A manicure can cost as little as $15 and take as little as 15 minutes. I got to get out of the house and connect with someone face to face, see other women bopping around taking care of themselves, and, most importantly, do something to take care of myself while also paying someone to take care of me, in a way. It did wonders to boost my self-love. Let’s love on ourselves more often, especially when it involves a nice pop of color that can bring joy!
These morning walks have changed my life. I promise I am not dramatizing it. Getting to see the beginning of a new day full of possibilities is nothing short of a blessing. And with the days getting longer comes earlier sunrises, which is my favorite part of my walks.
I often feel like I am misunderstood. Friends will comment on how well I am managing the difficult parenting situation I have been given. They see my strengths, and though I see them too, I also see the work. The energy — both emotional and physical — that parenting has taken. I see the missed opportunities my kids have had because of my fear of not being able to handle a situation.
I cherish my early mornings. Those minutes before the kids' wake-up clock turns green are all mine. They help me stay sane. Here’s a window into my "early to rise" mornings — or a week's worth of them, anyway — and what you can find me doing at 5:40 a.m. as I try to hold all the pieces together. This is not a tale of heroism. In fact, it might be a tale of foolishness. Though I bristle when I hear myself use the word "busy" to describe my life, here I am... busy.
If the holiday season doesn't go the way you envision, there's always next year. Let’s not forget that the season is about the joy and the meaning of our holidays, not the junk, or the events, or all the things. You do the holidays your way, I’ll do them mine, and everyone else can go about it their way. Let’s go into this holiday season happy and excited with sound mind and presence so we can enjoy our children, our faiths, and our families — and a little of all the extras.
Whenever I'm in a funk, I head for the forest. Forest bathing, or what the Japanese call shinrin yoku is the practice of simply being among the trees. Benefits include increased immunity, lowered stress hormones, lower blood pressure, and increased energy and vitality. But, most importantly, it changes the scenery, which sometimes is the best self-care of all. When my babies were little, just going outside changed the mood so quickly, with new smells and sights and stimulation. I could ward off a tantrum even on the streets of Cambridge.
So what’s my strategy? It took work, but I learned to take control. I have prioritized my 'me time,' and over the past six years my two besties and I have made a commitment to one another (no rings required) and to our relationships with each other. Like clockwork, we meet monthly — without fail. It’s our tradition, and I look forward to this day as if it were an all-inclusive getaway to a remote paradise island. We constantly mix it up, always succumbing to our inner foodies. We keep it spontaneous, getting lost in conversation and cocktails, not knowing how long our adventure might be (and always knowing it’s never long enough).