Parent self-care is essential during these times in a pandemic. Parenting an ADHD child or teen can add even more complexity to this difficult time. Children and teens with ADHD have symptoms that make remote learning more difficult due to executive function challenges, and they need more support with this new system. Factoring in self-care to an already full life of work, family and now teaching can be complicated. In fact, it’s usually the first thing to go out the window when people are stressed. But it should be one of the last. You have to take care of yourself so you can take care of others.
As you are told to put the oxygen masks on you before your child in order to be a support, the same principle applies here. Exercise, nutrition and emotional support are key elements to helping you run this long, arduous race.
5 Parent Self-Care Ideas during a Pandemic:
1. Get some physical exercise:
Not only will your body and your brain benefit enormously from the endorphins that exercise produces but you will also feel less resentful because you’ve done something good for yourself in the midst of all of the stress in your list. Make a parent self-care list of two types of activities you could actually do: one for home activities and one for safe outside activities.
For the first list, include taking the stairs or seated/wall yoga poses to do when you need a break. For the second list, identify times and activities of exercise that you ENJOY and want to do. Decide how often you can do something and put it on your calendar with a reminder alarm. The goal is to use your body to help you let go of stress, not to get into the best shape of your life.
2. Eat well:
Shopping during COVID has become a little more complicated. The good food in your home get eaten first, and what’s left may not be what you desire. You need fuel for this marathon, so make a list of healthy snacks that can stay fresh longer to purchase the next time you go to the grocery store.
3. Shop local:
Consider ordering take out from your community restaurant to bring in a healthy meal. Get your hair done and get a message if you are comfortable with the proximity. Even a box of tasty chocolates can brighten a day. Shopping local is a fun activity for family and parent self-care, but it also provides you with opportunities to support your local small businesses that are likely struggling during the pandemic. In addition, you’re fostering connection with your community as a whole.
4. Practice meditation:
Take some each evening before bed or each morning as you awaken to be with yourself. Guided meditations on Apps such as Headspace, Mindful or Insight Timer can be a great way to start or end your day (or both) with a sense of personal calm, insight and hope.
5. Parent self-care includes connection & support:
Consider getting professional help or joining a support group if you need it to get through this horrible time. Stay connected to others but have some ‘me’ time, too.
The Pandemic is a great way to tune into your own needs and discover what you can do for yourself to keep moving forward. Self-care is not selfish. It is a requirement for a happy soul and family.