Parents' tips for looking after yourself in lockdown
Three parents share their experiences of isolation so far – and their tips for making sure there’s still time every day for looking after yourself.
Remember to take time for yourself
“As parents, we often (innocently and with the best of intentions) place taking care of ourselves at the bottom of the list of priorities. With our to-do lists multiplying overnight as we find ourselves taking on the additional roles of teachers, nurseries and stay-at-home parents, all while juggling work at the same time, that much-needed ‘me time’ inevitably starts to slip further down the list. But looking after our own wellbeing and self-care is so important."
“Make some time for yourself – even 15 minutes to lie down in your bedroom and take stock."
Find even a few minutes each day for exercise
“If you can, get outside by yourself a few times a week. Being with children 24/7 can be demanding. You will cope better if you’ve had a walk by yourself."
“I find exercise uplifting, and we know that a small amount of exercise each day can help to release endorphins and lift our mood. But for those of us who are trying to find the impossible balance between work, parenting and (somehow!) teaching, finding time out to do a 30-, 15- or even five-minute workout may simply just not be possible. I have a one-year-old and I’m feeling the struggle even without the added pressure of home-schooling. With this in mind my sister, who is a fitness instructor, sends me little workouts, and whenever there’s a window of opportunity I try to grab a minute to give them a go."
Set a routine
“Routine is important for gaining a little control, especially when we feel that’s been removed. Encourage your kids to get up, dressed and breakfasted at a reasonable time."
“Have realistic goals each day."
“Keep weekends as free from work as possible.”
“Make meal times at the same time each day so you don’t constantly get asked – ‘what time are we eating?’”
Find time to switch off
“Try to avoid listening to the news first thing in the morning or last thing at night.”
“You will have days when you feel overwhelmed by what’s happening both at home and outside. Try to focus on each hour at a time and build in something to look forward to at the end of each task – like a cup of your favourite tea at the end of a home-schooling task, or playing your favourite music while you do the ironing.”
“Keep in touch with friends and family. It’s really good to hear how others are managing. Gather a few friends for a group video chat on WhatsApp, Zoom or House Party. Arrange a time in the evening when you can have an hour to yourself – just seeing your friends and laughing brings a bit of normality.”
Where to get help
If you are a parent or carer and are worried about a child or young person, have a look at the parents section of our website for advice, tips and suggestions on where you can get support.
If you need support for your own mental health, you can contact Samaritans by phone or email for free, 24/7.