Originally posted on TheMiddayLatte.com
Naturally, I’m an introvert. I don’t typically go out during the week and out social calendar is not usually filled with events. Being at home is my favorite. I love my house and my yard and my family. Usually I don’t mind spending so much time with everyone home but it’s been 39 days since we’ve been isolating due to the current virus pandemic and I’m so ready for some alone time!
Getting my nails done, a facial, or just browsing the isles of target with my latte were seemingly so insignificant, just fun things I did when I felt like doing them. Turns out that time is actually pretty necessary for my mental health. I am craving a ride to the salon, loud music, sunshine, and alone time. And not being able to do what I normally do to catch a break has me feeling sad and gloomy. So I decided I needed to find some ways to get my alone time, to feel refreshed, and to fit in some self-care at home.
I’m warning you, it’s not easy. You’re going to have to fight for your alone time. You’re going to have to get your husband and kids on board, and they may not come easily. But this is for you and you’re worth it, so stick to your guns and get that time for you!
Here are a few ways you can go about finding some alone time and practicing much-needed self-care during this weird and scary time.
1. Exercise or meditate.
If you’re not someone who usually doesn’t exercise or meditate, you’re not alone. I don’t either. But when we have limited opportunities to recharge, I decided to add in a little body health.
If you’re not into exercising and the thought it daunting, just meditate. Find a nice app or video on YouTube and a room without people… I would say “quiet” room, but let’s be real. We’re not liking going to find any quiet spaces in our house if we have kids and a spouse. So grab some headphones and hide in the closet if you have to, even 5 minutes will make a difference. Heck, I watched a 30 second Calm commercial the other day and I felt better. Just be mindful of your calmness and it will be much more rejuvenating.
One pro I will say about exercising over meditating, it’s an excuse for a shower, which leads me to the second thing I do to get some alone time.
2. Take a shower daily and create a new routine for it.
You might be used to rushing in and out of the shower, racing to get your legs shaved, your hair conditioned, and your face washed. But this isn’t the time for rushing through little moments. While we’re under stay-at-home orders, these little moments matter more than ever before. Take your time. Grab your phone, play some music, maybe light a candle, or burn some oils. Prepare to take your shower by brushing your hair, wash your face in the sink before getting in the shower, lay out all the things you’ll use post-shower like face and body lotion, q-tips, toothbrush, and a towel for your hair. Set it up in a nice pile. (This all works better if your bathroom is super clean, then it feels a bit like a spa!)
3. Make a deal with your spouse.
It’s easy for couples to get at each other’s throats right now. Things are different, routines have been interrupted, and suddenly adjusting to a new normal can be extra stressful. It’s helpful to remember that we’re all processing this in our own way. Some people might need to plan and organize and keep their hands busy, some people want to lounge around in their pjs and eat pop tarts for dinner. This is new right now, so we’re adjusting. We have to be gracious with each other so we don’t create problems where there aren’t any.
Talk to your spouse. Tell them you want some time and offer to give them time in return. My husband loves yard work, he could mow the lawn, cut down trees, trim shrubs, and reorganize the shed all day long. I love watching Hallmark movies and doing my nails. So we take turns when he wants to go outside, the kids and dog are all my responsibility. When it’s my turn, the kids are all his. It’s important to give your spouse the time you’d want, so we make sure the kids know, this is mommy or daddy’s time and if you need something, this is who you talk to. With an almost 4-year-old and almost 1-year-old, I can tell you it’s not easy, but all you need is a good supporting partner who gets it.
4. Stop going on social media after the kids are in bed.
The best thing, for my husband and I lately, has been putting the phones down after the kids are asleep. There’s a pandemic going on so of course there are memes, news updates, friends stories, conspiracy theories, and so much else being shared all over social media. It’s anxiety-inducing and there’s no way you can find peace and relaxation before bed if you’re reading about stimulus bills, health scares, and conspiracies. Process that news during the day, when you have more time to re-direct your thoughts. At night, when the kids are down, it’s time to unwind.
Finding a good series on Netflix or a new movie to watch will help curb that phone addiction and keep your attention directed elsewhere.
Some shows/movies my husband and I have been enjoying or have added to our watch list:
Jack Ryan - Prime
Desperate Housewies - Hulu (yes, even my husband enjoyed this one!)
Outer Banks - Netflix
Ozark - Netflix
Little Lies Everywhere - Hulu
Bad Boys for Life - Rented through cable
Midway - Rented through cable
Contagion - Rented through cable
The Happening - Rented through cable
We tried to find something during the day that we knew we wanted to watch when the kids were in bed, that way we didn’t waste any of our adult time looking through movies and shows.
5. Create a small space in your home that is yours.
Create a small space, it doesn’t have to be a room or have a window or a door, even just an end table against the wall with some trinkets, maybe some pictures of things you like, such as plants or beaches or animals (don’t use your family, that defeats the purpose). Put stuff on your table that makes you happy like some chocolates, some pretty beads or a candle, maybe a jar of fresh coffee beans or a book. If you don’t have a spouse or your spouse is unable to give you a break, find alone time, and reset in 2-minute increments. Sometimes that’s all we need, a minute to refocus. Bribe your kids, give them a tablet, or put on a show, and go stand at your table. Smell the coffee beans, read one or two paragraphs in the book, look at your pictures, and let your mind wander. We can’t always take 20 minutes or an hour to ourselves, but find yourself a minute. You deserve it.
Alone Time is Rejuvenating
It’s so important that we take time to refocus our thoughts and reflect on our feelings. If we’re always worrying about others and serving others, we can start to feel tired. I recently starting feeling burnt out, right after the stay-at-home orders started because I felt like a lot of people were asking me questions about the current events, what I was doing to prepare, what I thought would happen, if I knew of any resources. I’m a bit of a news junkie on occasion, especially if the current events are big, so I typically have a good understanding of what’s happening. This time around though, with the pandemic, I didn’t want to be the go-to news watcher. So I was starting to feel tired and anxious. I was avoiding phone calls and text messages. I talked to a friend about how I was feeling and realized what I needed to do, I needed to set boundaries. I needed to find some alone time and some space in my mind to focus on me, and I needed to make sure I took that time consistently. While we’re in this time, worrying about our friends and family, and our jobs, and bills, don’t forget to take care of you. Keep yourself well mentally and physically, you’re worth it.