David Vittoria, LCSW, MCAP, ICADC, NCAC II

When you’re a parent, self-care often slips to the bottom of the list. That’s especially true for many of us now, amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. But taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury. It’s essential. And during this difficult time, when children are home and stress is running high, it’s more important than ever. Here are some ways you can take care of yourself during this tough time.

Ways to Take Care of Yourself Physically

  • Exercise, on your own and as a family
  • Sleep (as much as you can), and nap when your child naps
  • Eat right: food affects mood, so try to cut down on sugars and processed foods
  • Get or give a massage
  • Take a hot shower, or a long bath (add essential oils to increase relaxation)
  • Have a cup of chamomile tea or warm milk (or hot chocolate with marshmallows)
  • Go for a walk outside – on your own, or with your child in a sling or stroller (observing health and safety guidelines, of course)

Ways to Take Care of Yourself Emotionally & Socially

  • Spend time with friends, even if it’s over the phone/FaceTime
  • Spend time alone each day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes
  • Prioritize the activities that make you happy
  • Be creative / flexible about social activities you can work around your child’s needs
  • Schedule time each day to talk to another adult
  • Allow yourself to cry
  • Find things that make you laugh
  • Find a way to have a weekly “date” with your partner, even with everything else going on

Ways to Take Care of Your Intellectual Needs

  • Listen to positive TV, radio programs, audio books, or podcasts
  • If your child is doing an art project, sit down and create your own art
  • Write – stories, a blog, a personal journal – get your thoughts out on paper
  • Watch documentaries on TV, DVD. Amazon Prime, or Netflix
  • Identify a project that would be rewarding, which you can start when this is all over
  • Return to old hobbies you may not have pursued for a while

Ways to Take Care of Your Spiritual Needs

  • Attend online religious services
  • Meditate or pray each morning, or each evening
  • Look for ways to support others right now
  • Spend time outdoors (observing health and safety guidelines, of course)
  • Write in a journal – reflect on your thoughts/feelings over the last month
  • Be open to inspiration and awe
  • Contribute to causes you believe in

Every morning when your alarm goes off, or shortly after your child wakes you, spend one minute in bed deciding what you are going to do for yourself that day. Start small – promise yourself just 15 minutes a day. You’ll soon see the rewards (for yourself, and your family) of a little bit of “me time.”


1. https://www.cdc.gov/features/disaster-planning-parents/index.html

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