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Lockdown Self-Care for Parents

We are living in unprecedented times and understandably, we are all struggling with our mental health more than usual.  Couple this with the nights drawing in and those dark early mornings, the likelihood of any of us experiencing low mood and anxiety are significantly increased.

It is more important now than ever to consider how you are looking after yourself, after all – you can’t pour from an empty cup!

Self-care is not all fluffy blankets and candlelit baths.  Sometimes it is self-soothing activities like these, but sometimes it is practical measures to help you feel less anxious.  Here are 5 tips to support your self-care this month:

  1. Focus on the basics

Eating well, sleeping well, drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day.  We all know these are good for us but often they are the first things to slip when our mood changes.  This time of year also prompts us to reach for the comfort food and drink so make sure you include some vegetables and drink water in between warm drinks. Also be mindful you are not sleeping too much or too little, sometimes a light box can aid our sleep over the Winter months.

  1. Know your supports

Do you know who you would call on to help you if you suddenly had to self-isolate?  Avoid the panic of self-isolation by considering a plan of who you could ask to help you with shopping or collecting essentials for you.  Consider where your nearest Covid testing station is and how you might access it safely. A little bit of preplanning can save a lot of anxiety in the long run.

  1. Make a plan with your employer

If you are employed, have a conversation with your manager about how you might manage work if your children are sent home from school and their bubble is advised to self-isolate.  Consider with them whether you may be able to work from home, or how you might flexibly use leave.  Hopefully, you wont have to enact this plan, but it is reassuring if you know what their response is likely to be should your child have to stay home from school. 

  1. Have a routine

With the schools remaining open this lockdown, maintaining a family routine is easier, however do think about the weekends and how you might add some structure to enjoy your time together.  Also, if you are working from home, structure your working day to include breaks and a chance to have a breather.

  1. Look for the positives

It’s not all doom and gloom.  Yes, it’s a stressful time and yes, it feels like things are constantly changing, but shift your focus by looking for the positives in every day.  Practice doing this with your child – ask them “what was the best thing about your day?”

Hopefully you find some of these ideas helpful, and most of all remember, self-care isn’t selfish.  If you are struggling with your mental health and it is impacting on your daily life, please seek support from your GP or a private provider.