Quarantine: 1. Me: 0.
"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming."
You want to make it to the end of the day and feel connected and happy. These last 7 months of quarantine have been tough for you! Social distancing, masks, feeling isolated and alone, working from home, homeschooling, emotional eating. Yup, definitely struggled with that last one…. Ok all of them! Sometimes you just try to keep powering through in hope that one day things will go back to normal. But when we push on through, we often miss out on the signs our bodies are giving us when we are stressed or overwhelmed. It may be what leads us towards getting that second helping of dessert or the deeper reason why we snapped at our kids. The emotions in the house can get a little tense when all you see every day are your family members. I've had to apologize to my kids multiple times for snapping at them for things I'd later laugh about (keep reading for some of my personal stories). Sometimes you just need a break.
Creation over consumption. As creatures, we are really good at consuming: food, music, social media, news, drama. But rarely we take a little time to create. Art, poetry, sculpting, building, baking, painting, all of which fills us up in positive ways. My middle son’s coping strategy is creating. When he gets really frustrated he will either start building with blocks or coloring pictures. When we are both frustrated, I'll start coloring pictures, he'll join me and within minutes we both feel calmer. This all is calming except when he chooses to draw on the walls or his bedsheet.
Practicing gratitude and self compassion sounds new age or may make you want to roll your eyes. I know I had a similar reaction when my counselor suggested these to me. But practicing these daily, I have noticed I am more positive, thankful for the small things, kinder to myself and others, less judgemental and critical of myself and others. As Olaf says in Frozen, "All good things! All good things!"
Getting active is crucial for our bodies. It makes our bodies healthier physically, emotionally, and mentally. Some of my favorite free online resources include Fitness Blender, Pilates, and Yoga. All can be found on YouTube. My kids really enjoy the Would You Rather PE videos. By choosing to do it with them, it creates space for shared memories, makes us sweat, gets the wiggles out, helps us be more positive and laugh a lot.
I know the days are getting colder as we get deeper into Fall, but getting outside is so crucial for our health. The sun gives us vitamin D, which is not only good for our bones, helping absorb calcium, but it also helps our bodies reduce inflammation. And if you're walking outside, you will become less stressed, clearing up your thinking, which helps us parent better too. I've had to take walks after my kids did something that just made me want to blow a head gasket, like the time I left my kids at the table for just a second with apple slices and a jar of opened peanut butter only to return with laughing boys and globs of peanut butter on their heads. Ohhh… walks can really do wonders!
This season of Quarantine is no joke! It's especially important for us to make healthy choices for ourselves and for our kids now more than ever. Cheering you on Mama Bear!
Kristine is a full time mother of 3 rambunctious lovable boys, married to her best friend Kaleb, and is learning to love herself a little bit more everyday through her imperfect life. She enjoys running when her adrenal fatigue isn't trying to gain control of her life, playing in the ocean with her kids, and laughing. She and her family reside in Salem, Oregon.