The Covid 19 pandemic has taken us on a roller-coaster ride of survival, optimism, hope, grief, and loss. Our routine has gone out the window, especially self-care. It’s time to take it back!

When we are the most frazzled, exhausted and depleted is when we most need to take care of ourselves and recharge. But it seems to be the time that we are least likely or able to do it.

pandemic burnout
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This happens to all of us, even during pre-Covid times. We are just getting into a good routine with self-care and actually starting to feel better. Maybe it’s exercise, meditation, a walk in the woods or a hot bath every evening. We KNOW it’s important, we’ve prioritized it, and others may have even commented on our new, relaxed vibe. But one thing disrupts our routine and we lose our momentum.

So what happens when a huge thing comes along and completely disrupts all of our routines for an entire year and counting?

The pandemic threw us into survival mode, moved school to the kitchen table, changed our work lives, stressed our healthcare systems to the brink, and closed down our childcare providers.

Self-care feels REALLY far away, even impossible.

We’ve all heard that old adage about putting your oxygen mask on first.

Of course you are no good to anyone if you are passed out. Yes, we all KNOW that’s true. But would you really put your mask on first? Especially during a pandemic?

Seriously. If are on a plane with your kids and the mask comes down from the ceiling, what do you think you would do? Most of the moms I know wouldn’t even think twice about holding their breath and helping their kids. When things get rough, the kids come first. Call it instinct, love, socialization; it’s just what moms do.

So why is self-care so hard to put first even when we know we need to?

For one thing, we’ve been in survival mode just trying to function and survive in these crazy times.

1) Schedule it. Put it on your calendar and treat it like you would any non-negotiable priority.

Now that daycares and schools are opening, vaccines are starting to roll out and many families have found their “pandemic bubble”, this is more of a possibility. It may not be a day at the spa, but could you take a walk around the block? Facetime with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile? Do some gentle stretching and breathe?

If a true emergency comes up that can’t be helped, don’t move your self-care appointment without finding another place for it, the sooner the better.

2) Watch out for black and white thinking.

Have you been feeling like unless you can do your full workout, or have a WHOLE day to yourself, you won’t be able to recharge and you may as well forget it? Instead, look for ways to build some self-care in to your day. What can you do to help yourself recharge in the time you do have? Some ideas: listen to a favorite song while doing the dishes. resist the urge to scroll on your phone and take a few slow breaths instead, or watch a tree swaying in the breeze.

3) Add meditation to your routine.

One of the best things about meditation is that a little goes a long way. I aim for 3 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night, and even this short time makes a huge difference. You may be surprised at what even one minute can do.

Aim for consistency rather than perfection. Make time for yourself every day and see if it changes how you feel!

Drop me a note in the comments and let me know how it goes.

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