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Self-Care Tips For Parents in a Pandemic

Oct 30, 2020 ● By Julie M. Gentile

Photo by AdobeStock_351120970

When a pandemic meets the rush of the upcoming holidays, chaos may arise—or at least a feeling of overwhelm amid the ebb and flow of the unknown, and tinsel and bows of the season. Self-care can help with that. Part of managing chaos is welcoming each moment with the same awareness and presence as the moment before. Self-care is the groundwork needed for just about everything—patience with family members, forgiveness of others and kindness to all—especially in times of significant uncertainty. Take care with these self-care tips using the CALM strategy and be ready for the next wave of chaos.

Connect: Stay in touch with yourself: Quality sleep, exercise and nourishing meals are self-care essentials for staying connected to the rhythm of body, breath, mind and spirit. A yoga practice can help tap into these layers, guiding us to more balance for whole-being well-being.

Become more connected with your inner landscape through self-observation. See if you can name what you’re feeling in this moment. Once we identify what we feel, we can name what we need (rest, a day off) and make it happen.

Our connection with others has looked different for months, but there are still opportunities to connect with loved ones, such as physically distanced walks and virtual get-togethers. At home, get back to basics: Write with sidewalk chalk, play board games, sing together and eat meals together.

Spend time with nature. Walk outside for the experience—not specifically to count steps; sip a cup of tea watching the sun set; and look for the moon in the night sky. Become familiar with the beauty that exists outside the front door. Take three deep breaths, and with each exhale, name one beautiful thing outdoors.

Ask for help: Asking for help is an act of self-love. Recognizing that we may need assistance with cooking, cleaning and watching the kids is being realistic: we can’t do it all alone. Our time is valuable, and our self-care is essential. If overworked from too many to-dos, reach out to your resources. Ask a physician or a professional to support you or guide you to someone that can help.

Let go: An unexpected year can hold moments of joy and gratitude, but we likely have some things we would like to let go of this year. If it’s time to let something go (maybe a habit you picked up during the pandemic), gently thank it and send it on its way. Sometimes what comes (or doesn’t come) in place of something you let go of is better than you would ever expect. 

Meditate: Meditation can help tie together connecting, asking for help and letting go, which can lead to more meaningful experiences. Try this simple, breath-focused meditation:

Begin seated, with your spine tall and long. Close your eyes and draw awareness to your nose. Observe your breath coming and going. If your mind drifts, guide your attention back to your breath. There’s nothing extra to do here. After a few moments, open your eyes. Let this calmness and presence help enrich your day.

Julie M. Gentile is a yoga teacher and award-winning author of 108 Yoga and Self-Care Practices for Busy Mamas and How to Stay Calm in Chaos: An Everyday Self-Care Guide. For more information, visit and her Stand Up for Your Self-Care YouTube Channel, and follow Julie’s self-care adventures on Instagram and Facebook @JulieGTheYogi.


Free Upcoming Self-Care Talk

Yoga and Self-Care to Help You Stay Calm in Chaos

Virtual session via Zoom from 7 to 8 p.m., December 10, at the Gail Borden Public Library District, in Elgin.

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