If you have been following me you may have seen previous posts regarding my mental health. I suffer from occasional panic attacks, mild claustrophobia and anxiety. So being quarantined with my husband and two children to stop the spread of COVID-19 has had its challenges.
If you are a parent like me, you may have been focusing most of your Shelter In Place time trying to keep the kids entertained through homeschooling, exercise, healthy meals, playtime or maybe you are too busy breaking up fights. While this is a important, I have caught myself losing sight of my own mental health and sanity. I did not realize it until I woke up at 2am with a mild panic attack. Thankfully, I used the tools I have learned to bring myself back down but it was a wake up call. Moving forward I realized that in order to be there for my family, I had to take care of myself first.
What Works For Me
- Making Lists – I found that if I give myself a daily purpose or goal, which I write down the night before, I have something that I need to accomplish. This may not work for everyone but the way my brain works, I need a plan no matter how big or small. Without a goal, I feel overwhelmed and have a tough time focusing on anything. This goal could be something like organize the closet, or cook a certain meal. Sometimes I write down more than one goal and get enjoyment out of checking things off the list. Afterall, you know what they say about idle hands…
- Outdoor Exercise – Getting fresh air while walking, running, biking or whatever floats your boat, is good for the soul. Even better if you can get away for a solo walk!
- Morning yoga – This is a great way to wake up especially if you can do it before seeing another person. I go into the day already with a small sense of peace and acceptance. Here are a couple options: Sunrise Yoga and 20 Minute Morning Yoga.
- Evening/Meditation yoga – I have become hooked on this. The class I found on YouTube is only 20 minutes and brings me peace and relaxation. If yoga is not your thing, just meditate for 10 minutes or so and be sure to stop frequently throughout the day for some deep breathing exercises. Check out these favorites : Yoga for anxiety and Meditation Yoga.
- Workout – I have been doing a 30 in home boot camp that my gym is providing. There are many resources for in home exercise right now so take advantage! Getting my heartrate up and blood pumping ironically helps me relax. It has seriously been my daily therapy. And it keeps me in shape so it’s a win win! Check out these no equipment workouts: Boxing and Full Body HIIT
- Read More – Sitting down with a good book has been extremely difficult with young children. But now that I am not constantly on the go taking them to and from their school and activities, my excuses are limited. Instead of zoning out on Instagram, grab that book you have been meaning to read and sit by the fire, or a relaxing candle and take yourself deep into a story.
- Leave the Dishes – This is a tough one for me since I cannot relax with a messy kitchen. But with every meal being cooked at home every single day for a family of four (plus constant snacks of course) the dishes are overwhelming! Sometimes you just have to walk away and take those 20 minutes doing something else. You can get to them after the next meal or even the next day. Or if you’re super fortunate, your significant other or children will do them instead.
- Sleep – Find a way to get in those eight hours. I suffer from seasonal insomnia and with the stresses of COVID-19, my anxiety and my insomnia have reared their ugly heads. I have had a little success with Melatonin and/or CBD but not much. They can usually help me fall asleep but I still manage to wake up several times throughout the night to make sure no one has fallen ill in the middle of the night with a fever and slow breathing (true story). These are the things that this anxious brain musters up at any given moment. I spoke to my doctor and I am going to start taking Ambien despite my reservations. I plan to take a very small dose just to get me through this rough patch since functioning without sleep is barely functioning at all.
- Talk to Someone – Whether it be a friend or a therapist, find someone to open up to about your thoughts and fears without any judgement. I have a best friend whom I can tell anything to and she not only can relate, but is there to listen and support. I always feel so much better after our talks. A virtual therapist is a great way as well.
- Get Creative – I am currently getting a lot of use out of my Cricut machines. I have also downloaded an audiobook series to learn Spanish and a sewing machine to learn to sew.
- Help Out Others – I find that during this time, I need a real purpose to help people who need it more than ever. I made an appointment to donate blood though the Red Cross and I also plan to learn to make masks to donate.
Let me know your ways to cope with stress and anxiety while under self-quarantine in the comments below.