Hi, friend. We’re now several months into a global pandemic and everyone I know is tired, so I’ll assume you’re tired, too. Maybe emotional? Anxious? Sad? Irritable? Yeah, me, too. I can’t fix much, but I have found a few things that do seem to help. I’ll share them with you and hopefully, they’ll help you, too. If you have any ideas not listed here, please share them with us.
- Move your body & get outside.
Taking long walks alone outside is enormously helpful. I’m basically never alone in my small apartment, and rarely without someone touching me these days. Breathing in the fresh air and moving my body seem to elevate my mood, make my body less stiff, and I think I sleep better.
- Focus on one thought and breathe.
When I get caught in a spiraling thought that I can’t seem to shake, I do some slow, deep breathing, and I create a mantra to focus on. For example, “In this moment, my babies are safe and I am safe.” I put that mantra on repeat in my brain to put a stop to the anxiety loop.
- Connect with your spiritual practices.
Whether you’re religious or not, most of us have some spirituality that keeps us feeling like we’re part of something greater. I pray. A lot. Usually in short, abrupt bursts, like “Dear God, please help me not yell at my kid.” or “God, please keep my family safe.” or “God, please help me feel grateful.”
- Contact loved ones.
Technology keeps me connected. Texting and video chatting help me see and hear my people. It’s not the same as getting hugs and letting them snuggle my baby, but it’s sustaining me for now.
- Take care of your basic physical needs.
I remind myself to eat and drink water. I have to gently nudge myself to stop scrolling my phone late at night so that I can sleep between night feeds with my baby.
- Ask for what you need.
It can be easy to fall into a routine of getting through the day and not talk about what’s happening in your head/heart/body/spirit. Ask your partner or other loved ones for their support, whether that means space, a meal, or quiet time together. In turn, ask them what they need to feel cared for and relaxed.
It can be hard to put these things into practice, especially when just getting through the day seems like a daunting task. Try to incorporate just a couple each day, even if that simply means you drink water and remind yourself to take a break from your phone. Your mental energy, physical health, and relationships will benefit.
Brittany Dowell is co-owner of Apple Birth & Wellness. She has been a birth and postpartum doula since 2014, and is now embarking on a nursing career, currently as a postpartum nurse at George Washington University Hospital in Washington DC.