Right now, busy parents have more than the usual headaches on their plates. Many have added “homeschool teacher” to their resumes, and they have to figure out how to keep the kids occupied while they work from home. Who wouldn’t feel frazzled under such conditions?
During this time of pandemic, it’s more critical than ever to keep it together – and that means caring for your mental and physical health. Follow a few simple tips to maintain your wellness and sanity in uncertain times.
1. Establish a Schedule
If your laundry had feelings, right now, you probably understand its emotions as it goes through the spin cycle. A whirlwind of changes occurred in mere weeks, and people are still struggling to adjust. The best thing you can do for your mental health and the well-being of your children is to establish a new routine early.
Why? A routine is something that you know you can do well, which adds stability to your day. It eases decision fatigue in you and your kids. If you know that homeschool starts at 9:00 a.m., everyone has something to prepare for — it makes for an ordinary day during extraordinary times.
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2. Take a Walk
Unless you or any of your children exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus, you may go outside as long as you practice social distancing. It’s also a wise idea to wash your hands thoroughly when you return home.
That said, both fresh air and exercise improve your mood and benefit your child’s health, too. You don’t want them necessarily climbing on public playground equipment, even if your parks remain open. However, getting their bodies moving will aid in physical and mental development, as well as help keep them calm in chaotic times.
3. Stretch It Out
Yoga is a terrific mind-body exercise to relax you, and you can practice it with the entire family. You can find free videos on YouTube. Alternatively, you can put on relaxing music and try moves like a happy baby and warrior right on your living room rug.
4. Color and Crafts
Artistic pursuits can calm you, so bring back family craft hour. If you don’t have a ton of supplies on hand, you can enjoy the relaxation benefits of coloring with a few books and crayons. You can even print free handouts online that you and your kids can complete. Coloring soothes the soul and gives your brain quiet time to process challenging emotions while you keep your hands busy.
5. Bring Back Family Dinner
Hopefully, you have ample supplies in your kitchen, so use this time to tie on your apron and prep healthy meals. Bring back the family mealtime and schedule it for approximately the same time daily. Doing so adds structure and gives your entire family something to look forward to after a busy day of telecommuting and homeschooling.
6. Nurture Living Things
Do you have a garden? If so, you can use it as a soothing activity for you and the kids during this time. If your local nursery is closed, you can learn to save the seeds from your produce and start seedlings indoors. You can use this as a science lesson to teach your children about the life cycle of plants. Plus, you ensure your family always has a stream of fresh produce when the store shelves run thin.
7. Evoke Some Laughs
Guess what? Everyone needs an escape, and it’s okay if you ease up on the rules surrounding TV a tiny bit during this chaotic time. Select family-friendly lighthearted comedies that leave you in stitches. Laughter is the best medicine — and it can boost immunity as well as busting stress.
8. Set Quiet Hours
All this family togetherness can grow overwhelming at times. When you establish your weekly schedule, plan for quiet times for reading or light play. That way, you can squeeze in 30 minutes of self-care without feeling guilty. Consider placing “quiet time” right before bedtime. Children tend to need more than the recommended eight hours of sleep, so this will ensure they’re ready to settle in for a good night’s sleep.
9. Practice Meditation
If you already feel overwhelmed, you might think that making time to sit still makes no sense. However, taking the time to clear your mind can eliminate the racing thoughts that lead to unwise decisions. All you need to do is find time to sit or lie down quietly and focus on your breath. You can perform a body scan to breathe relaxation into the tense areas that need it the most. Teach this technique to your kiddos, too.
Stay Healthy Even in Tumultuous Times
Right now, it’s natural to feel unsettled. However, following a healthy routine can keep your family feeling their best, even in troubled times.
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Kate Harveston is a health and wellness enthusiast and online journalist from Pennsylvania. If you enjoy her work, you can visit her blog, So Well, So Woman, where she writes about women’s reproductive health.