Isolation is full of ups and downs. While it’s a valuable chance to have lots of at-home time with your family, you may feel like you haven’t been alone in weeks! As ‘homelife’ blends into other facets of life, you may need to make a conscious effort to find time for yourself.
With a little one at home all day, every day, you may be missing a bit of peace and quiet. Here are some tips on how you can squeeze in and savour some moments of downtime throughout the day.
Use your child’s sleep hours
Maybe waking up 10 minutes earlier means you’re the first one up in the house and you can do some stretches in the lounge room without interruption. Maybe replacing late night TV with a good book and some breathing exercises will help you relax more at night. Figure out the points in the day when you can be alone, and look forward to them if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Practising mindfulness could turn any time into ‘me-time’, even if you’re surrounded by family. Try focusing on the smell of your food before you take a bite, and then make a point of experiencing how it feels to chew, swallow and taste. Check-in with your body and mind during what might otherwise be mundane experiences.
Using your senses is a great way to connect with yourself. How does the shower water feel on your skin? How do your toes feel when you finally take your shoes off at the end of the day? (That is, if you put shoes on today – we’ve all been having a bit more pyjama time in isolation.) How does your hot tea smell as you hold it under your nose? Remember to pause and reflect, especially when life feels busy and loud.
Communicate where possible
Let your family know if you need some ‘me-time.’ If you have a partner, ask them to take over for you, even just for a few minutes. Find a quiet room, shut your eyes, take deep breaths, touch your toes and reset. Let your little one know if you’re having a nap, and ask if they could kindly keep the noise down for 20 minutes. While they may not always understand, communicating your needs gives you the best chance of having them met.
Setting boundaries for the isolation period could help your family get on the same page. Boundaries might change while you’re all home all the time, so have a family discussion about the weeks ahead, and remember that isolation is temporary.
Things you might need to discuss could include screen time for your little one. Perhaps screen time will increase with more time to fill each day, but discuss what’s an appropriate use of this time, such as balancing entertainment and games with educational games or videos. Keeping your little one busy is an excellent chance to get some ‘me-time’ in.
Prioritise your mental wellbeing over housework, to a degree. Sometimes being in a clean, organised space will make you feel better overall. Sometimes you might need to crash at the end of the night and let yourself rest, so the dinner dishes can be done tomorrow. Assess your priorities, and remember to factor in your own sleep and self-care.