Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Self-care in the time of COVID: read, sleep, connect, chill

Editor’s note: Things have opened up a bit since we first wrote this, so we have a few more options. But self-care is as important as ever! (Perhaps more so with the beginning of school.)

Sneaking in a few minutes here and there to listen to an audiobook or waking up earlier than the rest of the household to breathe in the quiet are a couple ways that Seattle parents are finding time to care for themselves in this time of quarantine.

We’re not able to take a spa day or get our hair cut, colored, and styled at the salon, travel, go for a hike or meet friends at a restaurant.

We’re making do with the time that we have, after bedtime, before the morning begins, or in the middle of the day, when the kids are occupied, to just breathe. Taking these breaks gives us pause in a busy day, reduces our anxiety, and reassures us that we can get through this way of being at home. Self-care has always been about mental health, and here are some ways to clear your head and give yourself a break from the stresses of what we’re all going through together:

Mental break: Turn off the news, get off social media and stop reading the paper for a day. Pick up that novel that you’ve been dying to read, listen to a podcast, audiobook or dance to your favorite music.

Screen time: We set so many limits on ourselves and want to set an example for our children, but go ahead, put the kids to bed and give yourself some screen time to watch a funny movie or see a comedy show. Maybe catch up on a good mystery or thriller. There are so many things to watch these days to entertain and help de-stress!

At home spa: Draw a warm bath, light candles, take a few extra minutes in the shower, indulge in your favorite drink, add some chocolate, do your own nails, and make your own facemask. Meditate and relax …

Exercise: Take lots of walks or go biking around the neighborhood. Once a day, throughout the day, with the family or without – fresh air and the outdoors are proven to be mood enhancers. Yoga, strength and cardio workouts also help to boost immunity and endorphins that gives us strength to get through another day at home.

Gardening: Tis the season! Lots of families have tied in this activity to homeschooling, growing starts at home and are now moving to the garden. Get dirty with all the digging, planting and watering. A nice way to get some exercise, to focus on one task, watch something grow and zone out. Check out: 5 kid-friendly crops for beginners to plant

Night out on Zoom: Skip dinner with the family and join in on a happy hour call with friends. Talk about your day, share stories and laugh a lot! Or call someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Check in and reconnect.

Sleep in or go to bed early: Trade days with your partner to watch the kids in the morning over the weekend or if they’re old enough, have them make their own bowl of cereal and watch cartoons, while you get some extra shut-eye. Sleep is so important to our mental and physical health. Let your body have a few extra minutes to repair.

Fancy dinner in: We all miss having a nice meal, made by another person, but now you don’t have to: Support local restaurants and order takeout. Opt for delivery, pickup or curbside using the appropriate social-distancing measures. Feed and put the kids to bed early so you and your partner (maybe just you!) can enjoy a fancy meal in a quiet home and with fewer dishes!

Eat your meals and stay hydrated: Caring for yourself doesn’t only mean escaping for a few minutes, it means taking care of your needs throughout the day. Make sure you are hydrated and eating a well-balanced diet along with your family. Calm moments can also happen when you’re together around the table. Sharing a bit of gratitude for your health and safety is a good way to reflect.

Declutter: Have a junk drawer you need to clear or a closet that is overflowing with clothes? Take a few minutes each day to clear out the mess and feel much lighter, accomplished and organized.

Connect and communicate with your partner: Seattle moms shared that they work with their partner to make sure each takes a break to recharge. Sharing in the accountability ensures that we take time for ourselves to do what we need for self-care.

Jasmin Thankachen is a contributing writer and Eastside mom to two boys, ages 6 and 8.