It’s important that we come together and care for each other during these times, and that means more than following along with the suggestion to social distance and shelter in place. As people, pairs, and families we must be sure to take care of more than just our immune systems, so we come out healthy and whole. Ashley’s Family Services has some suggestions on how to practice self- and family-care while we are in the home.
Ways to Care for Yourself and Your Family
As the saying goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup. It’s important when we’re part of a family unit, especially in a caregiver role, that we are sure to look after our own needs and well-being in order to best care for the needs of our families.
- Mindfulness and yoga practices: A practice of yoga or meditation can be beneficial during this time in several different ways. There are still many unanswered questions, and information changes hour by hour. Pausing to practice mindfulness through meditation can be helpful to bring about peace and clarity of the mind. Meditation is meant to help us drown out the excess noise of the world around us, ease thoughts that create anxiety and fear, and center us back in the present. Yoga is another helpful practice that can help not only increase self-awareness and mental clarity, but also physical strength and wellness. Most of those who are currently working from home are likely spending less time up and about than they normally do. Yoga can help with mobility and keep one strong and flexible. Both yoga and meditation can be practiced from home with the use of smartphone apps and online videos.
- Read a book or listen to an audiobook: What feels like an excess of free time, for probably the first time in years for many of us, can be an opportunity to care for yourself in ways you have been putting off. Many of us find little time to read for pleasure or personal education when work and life take priority daily. Having extra downtime is the perfect opportunity to read a book we bought months ago that has been collecting dust or, in absence of the ability to visit a bookstore, to utilize audiobook apps on our smart devices. You can educate yourself about wellness in recovery as a means of keeping yourself focused on your program. We would recommend Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.
- Light candles and unplug: During times when you feel overwhelmed by constant talk and the conversation about world events on social media and in the news, one suggestion is to take this opportunity to fully unplug from it all for periods of time. While we want to stay aware of information as it changes, we can also suffer from severe stress and anxiety from the constant chatter. It’s best for us to step away and take a break from the overload of information. Going a step further, you can unplug from all the electronic whir in your life, light candles, and practice calm. This is also a great chance to reconnect with our families, getting back to conversation and connection – no phones or other entertainment needed.
In fact, as the last suggestion states, taking care of our families in more ways than just keeping them well and healthy is important. Foster the connection between you and your family, and help ensure that everyone has the chance to feel supported during this time.
- Tap into your inner child: Use this time to tap into your inner child and see what kinds of fun things they’d like to do, and take those suggestions to your family. Board games, storytime, and baking or cooking together as a family are all things your inner child might want and need that your family can benefit from as well. This is a great way to care for and bond with both yourself and those in the home with you.
- Spend safe time outside: Being outside is actually beneficial to mental health and can work wonders for a family that is feeling cooped up and anxious. There are not many indoor places for diversion currently, so taking the time to get outside where you can all get out of the home and spread out can have a huge impact on your family. Whether it is simply making time to be out in the yard playing or it’s taking a small hike while observing health suggestions, getting you and your loved ones outside regularly is a best practice to continue.
- Arts and crafts: Foster creativity and fun with your family by engaging in art projects and crafts. Online shipping is still available for many items. Consider stocking up on supplies for crafts your family might enjoy, or dig into closets and drawers for abandoned boxes of crayons and paints. Art is a valuable form of expression. It can help us to express feelings that might come up during this time and get them on the page. Creative writing is another great form of expression. Consider writing short stories together, or even writing letters to loved ones that live far away as a fun way to foster an old fashioned type of connection. These are things that can be done individually to pass the time or as a family to spend time together and increase family bonds.
This is just a small sample of what we can do to care for ourselves and the family. While this time is uncertain, humans are wonderfully adaptive creatures that will find new ways forward. Find the things that work for you and the loved ones in your home, and remain open to trying new suggestions that can help keep everyone feeling safe and supported.
Ashley Addiction Treatment is an innovative treatment program located on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Ashley provides support for professionals seeking help with addiction. We are able to help people with co-occurring disorders and offer confidential treatment programs to meet your needs. Please reach out to us today at 800-799-4673.