The coronavirus pandemic is affecting people around the world. And even those who are in quarantine are taking a considerable toll on themselves, not physically, but mentally. Families are out of their usual routine. And are forced to adjust to the “new normal” – working at home and even homeschooling, making our kids feel anxious and isolated. But before we can take care of our child’s mental health, we need to start with ourselves.
Here is how we, parents, can take care of ourselves while in quarantine.
Follow A Schedule
The coronavirus pandemic has taken us out of our usual routine, locking us in our homes for safety measures. Because of this, we lost our sense of control of our lives, making us anxious and stressed most of the time. So what you need to do to regain that control is to have a schedule. Create a new routine that you and your family can follow every day. Set aside a time for working, hanging out with your kids, exercising, and even having just a free time to relax.
This quarantine schedule does not have to be on the dot and uptight. Allow for some flexibility and contingencies. Do not let this routine be another source of your anxiety. Follow your schedule, but do not be afraid to veer away from it when you need some downtime for yourself.
Be Physically Active
Before, staying at home means relaxing and getting away from the usual problem of your daily life. Now, staying at home is a mandatory practice to keep yourself and your family safe, blurring the lines of work, school, and relaxation. So, it may be tempting to forgo working and just relax all day, but that will do you more harm than good. Mainly since lack of physical activity contributes to other health issues like weight gain and heart diseases.
So while in quarantine, find time to work out for at least 150 minutes per week. Besides keeping you physically healthy, it can also help you mentally as exercising improves your move and boosts your energy.
Another essential health tip to remember is to eat healthily. As much as possible, avoid binging on unhealthy snacks like soda and salted chips when binge-watching your favorite shows. There is a science behind avoiding these foods and having better moods. And now more than ever, you will need to be mentally and emotionally healthy to better deal with these unstable times.
So, be sure to incorporate foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in your diet and have instant mood boosts at every meal.
Have Enough Sleep
One of the things that you should also include in your schedule is the time for sleeping and the time for waking up. Research shows that having enough sleep can improve your mood and decrease your risk of anxiety and depression. Jade Wu Ph.D., also shares, “getting enough sleep is important for your health and happiness.” She adds “Keeping a consistent wake-up time will help you to get on the same page with your body, and to have just the right amount of that sweet, innocent sleep.”
So when it’s near your bedtime, put your phones away, tuck yourself in bed, and get ready to fall asleep right on schedule.
Minimize Screen Time
Both the internet and the television are full of negative news about the pandemic. And continuously exposing ourselves to these can increase our anxiety. Researches have also reported that exposure to negative news fuels our natural negativity bias. It is making us pay more attention to the threatening events around us, which ultimately makes us more depressed and anxious.
It is essential to be informed about current events while in quarantine. But it is also necessary to know when enough is enough and when to turn off your TVs and get out of social media to find peace in yourself.
Communicate Your Feelings
Lastly, do not forget to communicate your feelings. Yes, you are a parent, and you need to be reliable for your children, but you are also a human being. So, whenever you feel overwhelmed with emotions, reach out to your partner or a trusted friend, and tell them about it. Keeping negative feelings may put you on edge and unable to take care of your children.
Never wait for your emotional cup to be full. When you don’t feel okay, tell someone about it.
One important thing to note: our children feel our anxiety. So before we can fully assist our children in dealing with their mental health while in quarantine, we must mentally and emotionally ready to do it. Start taking care of yourselves to help your kids cope with this pandemic.