We’ve all seen the quarantine memes comparing adults without kids to those parents with young children trapped in the house. Images of frazzled moms with baby food stuck in their hair, small handprints decorating three-day-old lounge wear and piles of mess surrounding them provide a bit of comfort to those of us who are barely hanging on.
We’re part of the same chaos club, in which parents are doing their best to juggle multiple responsibilities simultaneously — working from home, helping with school, managing three meals a day plus snacks (don’t forget about snacks), dishes, laundry and the list goes on.
Truth is, we need a break.
Enter Mother’s Day. Okay, so let’s deconstruct this one day when a kid brings you breakfast in bed, hopefully with a sweet handmade card and maybe you get to pick an activity that you like to do — usually with the whole family in tow. As nice as those gestures are, it doesn’t seem like enough to effectively de-stress amid a global pandemic. And so we hereby declare every day in May to be Mother’s Day.
Moms, check out these seven ways to celebrate yourself this month (or anytime). Because, after all, you deserve it.
1. Meditation Monday
Let’s face it, you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. Our number one recommendation for self-care is — drum roll — find five minutes to meditate. That’s it, five minutes. According to verywell.com, “Many people don’t try meditation because they believe it’s difficult to practice or only effective with regular, lengthy sessions. Not true… Just five minutes of meditation actually can bring quick stress relief.”
2. Talk it out Tuesday
When life gets busy, sometimes friendships fall by the wayside. Childhood friends who share memories like riding bikes with you around the neighborhood, or high school friends you cried your eyes out with after your first heartbreak, or college friends you crammed all night with to get through finals, or post-college friends who convinced you to take that cross-country road trip, or your new mom friends you met during Baby and Me classes. Yes, those friends. Carve out some time to talk to them. Many people are using chat room sites such as Zoom to connect with their friends during the stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Friendships may take a back seat to other priorities, such as work or caring for children or aging parents…The enjoyment and comfort friendship can provide, however, makes the investment worthwhile.”
3. Wear What you Want Wednesday
It’s the middle of the week and you’re feeling blah, but something in your closet beckons you. That little black dress you never get a chance to wear anymore. Seems impractical to put it on when there’s no occasion, right? Well, we’re here to tell you to wear what you want. Reader’s Digest reports, “More often than not, we dress how we’d like to feel or how we’d like others to think we’re feeling. In other words, we put on a happy sweater along with a happy smile, even if we’re feeling down. And it works…” Your kids will notice if your mood changes from feeling blah to beautiful, too. Even if they’re the only people who see you smile, that’s worth it. You’re worth it.
4. Thoughtful Thursday
Have you heard the hype about journaling? It’s not just for teen angst anymore. According to Positive Psychology, “A gratitude journal is, quite simply, a tool to keep track of the good things in life. No matter how difficult and defeating life can sometimes feel, there is always something to feel grateful for.” Invest in a journal that brings you joy. Designs range from inspirational quotes to blooming bouquets to leather bound luxe. Then fill the pages with thoughts of gratitude.
5. Feel-good Friday
By the time Friday rolls around, you might have pizza delivery on speed dial, but what about ordering in from a restaurant that offers your brain a boost instead? Nutritionists at Healthline.com suggest, “The foods you eat play a role in keeping your brain healthy and can improve specific mental tasks, such as memory and concentration.” And, we all know how hard that can be with the bazillion different tasks we have to complete each day. Feel good about what you put in your body, whether you or someone else makes the meal.
6. Sunshine Saturday
It’s no secret that walking does the body good, but don’t rely on your treadmill to do the trick. Boost your immune system with a healthy dose of natural vitamin D (aka the “sunshine vitamin”) when you soak in some rays with a walk in the neighborhood or at a local park. Thrive Global, an organization that seeks to end the stress and burnout epidemic, advises, “When you walk in the green spaces you lead your brain to a calm state with little or no signs of anxiety.” It’s your weekend, too, so go ahead and walk your way to relaxation.
7. Sleep-in Sunday
Hitting the snooze button doesn’t always work with young children at home. But crawling under the covers after a warm bath might offer the same benefits. We checked in with relaxation experts at Nabalik, who claim, “Taking a warm bath before bed is known to help people fall asleep more quickly. Your body tends to drop in temperature at night and, in turn, produce melatonin, a chemical associated with sleeping. Warm water makes you, well, warmer, so the temperature drop at night is even more dramatic, giving you a boost towards bed. A better night’s rest leads to a slew of health benefits, so a warm bath before bed creates a snowball effect toward a healthier you.”
Dahlia Fisher is a writer, artist, motivational speaker and workshop leader. You can follow her on her blog (dahliafisher.com) to learn more about her year facing new challenges to practice living with more presence and purpose in 2020.