1. Create me-time Every. Single. Day.
Whether you are working full time, caring for a child, working inside the home, working outside of the home, or all of the above, you need me-time! We are all doing our best to adjust to our new normal and we need to grant ourselves permission to take a break. Remember, we are always told to put our own oxygen mask on before assisting others! Me-time can include a face mask, meditation, a hot cup of coffee, a phone call, doing yoga, a walk outside, reading a book, watching a movie, etc. Whatever you choose, make sure it is exactly what YOU want to do!
2. Avoid over-planning
It is hard to fight the urge to keep busy during the quarantine. We are all struggling to find a balance between keeping things fun and exciting for our children (and ourselves) and following the rules to keep everyone safe. You and your children will have an easier time with fewer plans. Kids always do best when they are prepped ahead of time and know what to expect. Family meetings at breakfast are a perfect opportunity to get everyone on the same page as to what to expect for the day ahead!
3. Check-in on your checklists
We all have running checklists of things we need/want to get done at any given time. Do not let yourself feel pressured to complete everything on your checklist just because you are quarantined! However, it does feel good to cross out those items that have been hanging over your head. From time to time, just check in on simple, small tasks that could easily be accomplished. Maybe your kids are even old enough to help! Even toddlers love a good task that helps them feel strong & successful 🙂
4. Take news breaks
Unfortunately, these days we are consistently being inundated with stressful news. Please take breaks. Turn off the TV when it is getting to be too much. Follow positive news outlets on social media (e.g. @upworthy, @goodnews_movement, @somegoodnews, etc.) and start and end your days with no news or good news! Sometimes we even need to take breaks from family or friends in our lives that are bringing too much negativity into our orbit. It is important to set these boundaries for yourself so you can be your best for you and your family.
I suggest practicing gratitude every day –but it is even more important during times of stress. It is in fact a practice so set reminders to try it out. It is an amazing way to re-train your brain to think more positively. I wake up and give a quick list in my head of what I’m grateful for and go to bed doing the same. When I’m having a tough moment (particularly with a grumpy toddler) I remind myself what I’m grateful for right then and there.
For example, in the middle of making a morning smoothie, perhaps my toddler pushes the blender over and smoothie ends up everywhere. I am super-duper frustrated! But, more importantly, I am grateful that we have an abundance of great food in our fridge so that we can make more. I am even more grateful that my toddler loves to clean up messes. Another way that I love to practice gratitude is to “memorize moments.” Whenever my little guy gives me a yummy hug, I smell his hair and close my eyes to memorize how good that moment feels so that I can be right back there in that hug when I need it most!
Molly Dresner is a Speech Language Pathologist based in New York City.
She recently authored The Speech Teacher’s Handbook, an engaging parent guide that includes practical and easy-to-follow tips and activities to help you help your little one!