Self-Care (in a Pandemic)

Self-Care (in a Pandemic)

To say that life has changed is an understatement.

Up is down.

Left is right.

Day is night. 

For many of us, that last one is especially true. I’m seeing lots of people talk about sleep.  These days it’s a struggle to fall asleep at night and it’s hard to stay awake during the day.

Why? Stress levels are through the roof.

It doesn’t take much scrolling on social media to see evidence of the stress people are feeling in this bizarro world.  Schools are closed and kids are e-learning.  Offices are closed and parents are working from home.  Everyone is stuck at home with nowhere safe to go.  One life change can cause stress to increase, but everything has changed all at once.

It’s unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. No wonder we’re stressed!

So what do we do?

Well, the answer that everyone gives that is sure to help is this…

Self-care.  

But what exactly is self-care?

Before the pandemic, self-care seemed to have a hint of indulgence to it.  Standard suggestions were pedicures, massages, or girls night out.  While these are all good things (and can even be important things) depending on your finances and responsibilities, they can also at times feel outright selfish.

I balked at the idea of what I saw as self(ish)-care, I resisted it.

Turns out, I had it all wrong.

True self-care isn’t selfish at all, but rather is a well-rounded way to take care of oneself.

Self-care is

Spiritual
Educational
Life-giving
Fitness

As moms nurturing our families through cancelled gatherings and sheltering in place, true self-care is more important than ever.

So how do we do it?  And more specifically, how do we do it in the midst of a pandemic?

Spiritual

The spiritual component of self-care is how we tend to our souls.

  • Prayer, meditation, or Bible reading are simple ways we can do that regularly.
  • Attending a church service can feed our souls and build community, and right now almost every church has their services streaming online.
  • Podcasts can provide encouragement.  My favorite, The Next Right Thing, comes out each Tuesday.
  • Bible studies via Zoom are popping up everywhere (just ask on FB and you’ll be pointed to several options)
  • Pray with a friend over the phone.  I do this with friends each month.  We’re 3 women living in 3 different states praying together via phone and we ‘ve been doing it for almost 10-years now. It is a huge blessing!

Education

The educational component of self-care engages our brains.

  • Take an online class
  • Learn a new skill (I see lots of baking and cooking skills being honed)
  • Read a book
  • Listen to a book (Audible or Hoopla are great resources)
  • Watch a documentary
  • Podcasts are great here, too

Life-Giving

Life-giving self-care activities are what nurture our spirits.  In fact, most of the things we listed above as what we traditionally think of with self-care may actually fall into this category.

  • Do your nails (I recently discovered dip nails and love them!)
  • Soak in a hot bath
  • Binge on Netflix
  • Crawl in bed early with a book
  • Engage in a hobby – mine is taking pictures
  • Have a virtual coffee date with a friend over FaceTime

Fitness

Fitness is caring for our bodies.  It’s eating right, sleeping well, and exercising. All these things keep our bodies (and brains) strong.

  • Take online fitness classes
  • Go for a walk (alone)
  • Turn off your alarm and sleep until you wake up
  • Order a new water bottle to make drinking more water easy and fun

When we take care of ourselves, we can take better care of our families.  And bonus, when our kids see us doing these things, we’re modeling them and they’re learning how to do them for themselves.

And hopefully along the way, we’ll manage our stress and get some sleep.

What would you add to this list?  I’d love for you to comment and share your ideas.

When You Have to Eat at Home

When You Have to Eat at Home

All of a sudden we find ourselves in a strange place as a country.  Life looks differently today than it did just last week.  Social distancing has required many of us to make changes to how we do life.

Suddenly almost everyone is homeschooling, working from home, and just generally stuck at home.  Add to this the underlying need to significantly reduce contact with other people and even grocery shopping becomes a challenge.  About the only option you have is to eat at home.

So what do you do when eating out is no longer an option?

Don’t panic. 

We’re in this together.  This is something new for most of us.  Social media is full of posts and pictures of how people are pulling together, helping each other, and figuring out how to make it work.

Inventory what you have on hand.

What do you have in the refrigerator?  What do you have in the freezer?  What is in your pantry?  Make a list of each of these so you can use things you have and shop smart for things you may need. This will also help you better plan meals for you to eat at home.

Use up fresher ingredients first.

In other words, if you have the choice between frozen green beans or fresh peppers in the fridge, use up the fresh peppers first – maybe as a salad topping or sautéed as a standalone side dish – and save the frozen green beans for later.

Make things ahead of time.

If you’re used to going out for lunch or having your kids buy lunch at school but you now have to eat at home, you can replicate that into your routine. Tonight as you clean-up dinner, pack lunches for tomorrow.  You can even enlist your kids to help with this.  It can be sandwiches or leftovers – whatever you have available.  Prep it tonight by making the sandwich, assembling the salad, or putting the leftovers into meal sized portions, and thenput it in the fridge. Then at lunchtime tomorrow instead of figuring out what to make (and making a mess), you can just grab it out of the fridge, heat it up or put it on a plate, and lunch is ready in less time than if you had actually gone out to pick something up.

Freeze things to save them for later.

Instead of letting the things in your fridge spoil and be tossed out, put them in Ziploc bags and freeze them.  Freezing things will extend their life and you will have more ingredients available when you make a meal to eat at home.Think creatively.  Slice lemons and use them as ice cubes in a glass of water.  Package up leftovers into single meal servings to microwave later.  Distribute shredded cheese into smaller bags.  Fresh mushrooms in the fridge?  Freeze these to use late in a stir-fry or stew.  TIP: Don’t forget to date and label them with the contents.

Order groceries online.

With social distancing, this is an even more attractive option!  With Instacart you can order for pick-up or delivery for a variety of stores (including Aldi and Target).  Shipt lets you place an order and have a personal shopper purchase and deliver your groceries to your door. Walmart pick-up and delivery lets you shop online and choose a convenient time to pick-up your groceries – you don’t need to get out of your car or anything!

Make friends with Plan to Eat.

Literally make friends!  Plan to Eat is a program that lets you see and share recipes with friends you make.  Once you sign-up, find friends (I’m MrsJLUren – you can friend me) and you can see their recipes to get new ideas for what you can make for dinner.  As you search online for new recipes, saving them is as easy as clicking on a browser extension icon.

A bonus…

Learn to make meal prep work for you.

I have one more tool for you. Last Fall I created a course called “Easier Than Takeout” to help people who don’t love cooking make it a simple and natural part of their week.  And right now, when eating out and ordering in is less of an option, it seems rather timely.

Why did I create it?  Well, I have a confession to make. Making dinner not something I enjoy doing.  Regardless, cooking for my family was healthier and cheaper than eating out or ordering in.  It was what was best for my family.  So, making dinner was something I still had to do – like it or not.

Over time I developed a system that not only made meal prep simple, but it saved me time and money, and it even made this dreaded task of making dinner something that might even be considered slightly enjoyable.

I want to help you get meal prep and planning under control, especially now that you have to eat at home.  And as you eat at home more, the bonus is that you will save money, save yourself time, become healthier, free up time for hobbies, spend more time with your kids – the list is endless.

Between now and April 15, 2020 I am offering you this course at a deep discount.  Use discount code “Stuck@Home” and your price will be only $27.  PLUS a portion of the purchase price will be donated to Luke 3:11 Share Center – a food pantry near me that is bravely committed to remaining open and providing food to families who really need it right now.

Click here to get instant access to “Easier Than Takeout”.

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