As a yoga teacher, author and full-time working mom of a preschooler and a first grader, my pandemic mantra has been to take it one day at a time. Sometimes it helps to break it down even further — one hour at a time, even one breath at a time.
My home serves as an all-in-one school, restaurant, office and more. Maybe you can relate? I use these five self-care practices to help cope with the unpredictability of a modern-day pandemic.
Go to bed earlier.
An early bedtime is not just for the kids. Adults need quality sleep, too. Sleep is critical for mood and energy, which is why it’s No. 1 on my self-care list. Aim to be in bed by 10 or 11 p.m. at the latest. Give yourself the opportunity to sleep at least eight hours every night.
Exercise in the morning.
Continue your mood and energy boost from a good night’s sleep by starting your day with movement. Choose some- thing you look forward to, such as yoga (check out the practices on my Stand Up for Your Self-Care YouTube Channel) or walking. You get to choose the path and pace. Even on colder days, bundle up and walk.
Check in with yourself daily through meditation, yoga or journaling. Start with five minutes. Set an alarm with a gentle, pleasant ringtone as a reminder to reflect. See what comes up in the quiet space you’ve created.
Screens follow me everywhere, which is why I take technology breaks. The always-on, always-available mindset can be stressful. Turn off:
- The TV and keep devices off the kitchen table while eating, so you can chew, enjoy and digest your meal
- Notifications on your smartphone and switch to airplane mode for a few hours every weekend
- Screens at least an hour before bed. Read a book or magazine (like this one) instead!
Connect with care.
Call a loved one. Listen to their voice; let them hear yours. Connect in other ways, too — smile at and make eye contact with the people in your home or at the grocery store.
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This article also appeared in Chicago Parent’s holiday 2020 magazine.