The Pandemic Has Stolen Your Self-Care. It’s Time to Take it Back.

why is self-care so hard

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
Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

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.

Find out how to work with me!

Related articles:

Relax and Get Grounded Quickly: Feet, Seat, Shoulders, Breathe

A Calm Place Meditation to Lower Stress Quickly

Published by mrisser

Therapist, Mom, Burnout Coach, Writer and Educator.

14 thoughts on “The Pandemic Has Stolen Your Self-Care. It’s Time to Take it Back.

  1. Interesting question that was posed to me: Is it really self-care if it’s scheduled? Then, isn’t it just part of the protocol of what you have to do? I was conversing with a friend of mine and it was something that she brought up — it was a point I hadn’t thought of before.

    Great post! x

    Michelle
    dressingwithstyle-s.com

    Like

    1. Such a GREAT point Michelle! I have thought about this a lot myself. To me, things like hair appointments really don’t count because it’s somewhere I have to be. True self care to me is time at home alone, doing nothing. But I do think that even time to do nothing can be prioritized and blocked off in my calendar- otherwise it won’t happen!

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  2. Great post! It’s why I get up early every morning. I need that time to myself to exercise, drink a coffee in piece or just sit quietly before everyone is up and work starts… it’s basically scheduled time for me to figure out what I want to get done each day! Very helpful tips

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  3. I love this ! I am a BIG advocate of self-care! “We’ve all heard that old adage about putting your oxygen mask on first.” I tell my clients the same all the time!!

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  4. These are such great tips and I do agree with them all! It is so hard to carve out time for ourselves as mothers but it is so important! I really need to get in a routine and stick to it myself!

    Thanks for the great reminder!

    Josephine | Better as Us
    Betterasus.com

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  5. I am literally exhausted as I write this comment so this post was meant for me! I often overbook myself because I add in things without checking my calendar so I end having to run around non stop then I feel guilty when I can’t finish my to do list. This post has really helpful tips to help me plan my time better so I’m not exhausted at 6 pm. Thank you!

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  6. These are fantastic tips and came at a really great time. I’ve been feeling rather burned out lately. I need to start implementing some of these strategies in my day. I really like the idea of meditating. I need to add that to my day. 🙂

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  7. My favorite point, “Aim for consistency rather than perfection”. It’s so easy to get caught up in “I don’t have time to get to the gym today”, rather than the goal of moving your body and getting your heart rate up. I can do that walking around my property or walking up and down the stairs of my home. It’s just important to do something.

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