As we enter September 2020, virtual learning has been a part of our lives to some degree, for most of us, for a few months now.. and for almost all of us, it has disrupted our self-care routines!

Yes, it’s been stressful.

In some ways it’s been a blessing, to have more time with our kids. Some of us have loved getting up a little later, or spending the day in our comfies.

(And the flip side: anyone else miss real clothes? Ever?)

But one thing that has been consistent about this year of the covid pandemic: it has impacted our self-care.

When we talk about self-care, what we mean are the practices that keep us calm, centered, healthy, and feeling confident and at home in our bodies.

Things like:

  • Getting in our workouts.
  • Having a regular prayer and/or meditation practice.
  • Taking time to connect with loved ones.
  • Date nights.
  • Eating well.
  • Resting well.

It’s not complicated, right? And to further simplify what self-care means, let me put it in terms all moms can understand:

Your self-care are the activities that make you healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically- basically, the equivalent of you, making sure you kids get outside to play, eat their veggies, and get to bed on time.

You don’t slack on being sure your kids are cared for, so mom, please remember: you deserve that care, too!

To put together this post, I drew from my own experiences, but also from watching our moms in Mom’s Running Club, and how they have adapted and shifted and pivoted over these past few months, all in the interests of self-care.

Many of us found the first few weeks to be a little bit of a free-for-all, for sure. But once we realized this crazy situation wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, we knew we had to figure some things out!

Here are our best tips!

Start with a Mindset Shift: “My self-care is non-negotiable.”

Don’t allow your self-care to be an afterthought, something you do if/once everything else gets done!

Every time I share this idea with moms, they agree wholeheartedly, and yet somehow when push comes to shove, often the commitment gets forgotten.

But I know you know, deep down:

If you want your family to be happy and healthy, then you, as the emotional leader of your family, must be happy and healthy!

Choose that mindset. Make it your mantra. Write it on your calendar every morning to make it stick. And then go to the next tip to put it into practice!

Build your self-care into your daily and weekly schedule.

When you sit down to plan your week or your day, be sure that your workout is on there!

Your workout, your ability to get a good night’s sleep, your down time- they all are as important as the school work, the carpool, and the meal planning.

I like to recommend the following order for planning your week:

  1. Work commitments. Whether you’re working out of the home or from home, block it all off so you can see where you’ll be busy.
  2. School commitments. Yes, with virtual learning, this looks different. Perhaps this means you block your kids’ schedules so they get brain breaks throughout the day. Maybe they have started some activities back up. Add all these to your calendar.
  3. Kid activities. When will you be at a kid activity, or carpooling? Mark it!
  4. Church or other commitments.
  5. Groceries. YES! Put this on your calendar! When will you hit the grocery? Knowing when this is happening might help you be more focused with menu planning, and maybe even cut down on the number of trips you take each week… and maybe even cut down on grocery expenses and food waste!
  6. Self-care. I know, it’s sixth on the list. But I’m being practical here. And remember: this is the before you even start your week! Now that you have a concrete visual picture of what your week looks like, you can see where your workouts can fit in. So block that time, just like you blocked the work and carpool time! Next, block some down time for your prayer time, or even to have coffee (maybe virtual coffee) with a girlfriend! Bam!

If you are purposeful and deliberate, you will discover that this is the way to do self-care! When you can visually see that it’s all going to get done, you won’t feel anxiety about taking time for you- and you’ll actually take it!

Team Up with Other Moms

While this tip is not one we’d consider exclusive to this chapter of our lives that includes virtual learning, now that we are knee-deep in virtual learning, it becomes even more important.

We all know that as women we are stronger together, but we often forget and think we have to do it all ourselves.

Maybe you are already a mom who is great at asking for help. Me? I suck at it and always have.

But as time goes on I have realized: I love to help others! When someone needs my help and asks, I truly want to help them! And so, when I finally get over myself and ask someone for help, the response is pretty much always positive…. probably become most women feel the same.

So when it comes to virtual learning and self-care, mom, please: ask for help! If you have a community, whether church or neighborhood or a running community like ours, you can put out a call to support one another. Little things add up!

Some ideas could be:

  • Meet up during your kids’ practice and walk together.
  • Take turns doubling your dinner recipe and make an extra for a friend so she has the night off cooking and can squeeze in her workout. Then she makes dinner for you another night that week!
  • Take turns taking the kids to the park so the other can go for a run.
  • Are you better at math and your friend is better at language arts? Share the lessons and see if you can each help all the kids at the same time! And whew, you get a brain break!
  • Be creative! The options are limited only by your creativity and ingenuity!

And finally: be flexible and have options.

If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the value of being flexible! If we weren’t flexible before, we have become so by nature of necessity.

When it comes to being flexible with your self-care, it’s not about pushing it aside! No, no, no! We have moved past that mentality. Our new mindset is that it is as important as caring for our children, right?

And just as caring for our children involves heaps of flexibility, so can our self-care.

If life takes over and school takes longer than you blocked for it, rather than just deciding not to work out, have options at your fingertips, ready to go!

If you can’t do the three mile run you were planning because you no longer have the kid-free time, cue up a YouTube or Beachbody workout!

If you no longer have the quiet time you had blocked for your prayer and Bible study, maybe open up your favorite Bible app while waiting in the carpool line and do what you can there.

The bottom line: bend, don’t break!

You matter, your mental and emotional health matters, and your physical health is essential to you having the energy you need to care for your family.

Covid has been incredibly frustrating and even frightening for so many of us, but we are warriors. We become stronger when we face adversity, and while none of us wanted this challenge, I have seen over and over how incredible you all are.

You will look back on this time and see all the ways you grew. And my prayer is that you will be able to properly mourn all we lost during this time, but celebrate all you gained.

OH! And also!

One tool many moms have found helpful is our Sunday Checklist. This can help you with being super purposeful about blocking your calendar and nailing those self-care goals! Grab yours by clicking below!

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful, and I want to hear from you as to how you’re making your self-care a priority! Hit me up here or comment below!