How to Take Charge of Your Mental Health While Parenting During a Pandemic
Who would have assumed that having to stay in our homes could be such a dynamic experience for people? Or could stretch on for. So. long.
For some, this time has been traumatic and painful, while others have seen it as wonderfully reflective and healing. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum, each of us are experiencing things we have never experienced before. Not to mention, we are in the midst of a season that can only be compared to as the most dramatic plot arc in a Shakespearian play— a run of intersections between a pandemic, moral and justice dissonance, tragic loss of life, employment, goals, and opportunities—alongside so much more. But, we can find hope in all of this. We just need to make an active choice to see the situation for the fullness of chance versus the fear of change. Here are some tips to see you through the finish line of this pandemic.
Address and reflect upon any loss that you experienced in 2020 (ex. life of a loved one, loss of an opportunity, loss of a dream) and find a way to memorialize them and honor your feelings. This is crucial.
Check in on yourself. How are you really feeling? Take a body scan and journal questions for yourself. Or opt for a mental break—doing nothing allows your brain to recharge. Drink lots of water and reconnect with things that bring you joy—childhood pastimes are a great place to start!
Enforce strong boundaries around your time (avoid saying “I’ll just do one more thing”—have grace with yourself), your desires, and your needs. Do what you need to do to feel good? After the year that seemed to continually kick us while we were down, being kind to yourself is a nonnegotiable.
Although there may not be much happening to prompt us to dress up, you still can and should show up for yourself! Go for cute, comfy, or both. Getting dressed can be a huge motivator and can aid in a sense of routine or normalness when things are anything but.
Take a morning walk, perform a TikTok dance-off with the kids, or even move furniture and accessories around to inspire a new look in your space. Mix it up to keep it exciting and get outside if you can.
Clean out your pantry and cook a new recipe, make art (use finger paints or products that are already in your house), or pick up a new hobby like needlepointing or paint by numbers. Include your kids in the process too.
Use technology to keep in contact with the people who matter most. Make cookies with your extended family, play a virtual game, watch a movie together, or create a story (think of the old game called “Telephone”). Be sure to coordinate timing and aid any older family members who may need some help using new technology.
Dr. LaNail R. Plummer is the CEO of Onyx Therapy Group, a company whose mission is centered on addressing mental health issues, disparities, and inequalities in communities, organizations, and individuals in need. She has over 15 years of experience working with a multitude of clients, and specializing in the care of young women; the Black community; and members of the LGBTQ+ community. For more tips, check out www.onyxtherapygroup.com and follow @onyxtherapygroup on Instagram.