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Top Three Self-Care Tips For Parents in a Pandemic

  1. Stay Hydrated

Did you know that approximately 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? Aside from thirst, symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, brain fog, and irritability - not exactly things any of us need to be dealing with right now. To determine how much water you need to take in per day, divide your body weight in pounds by half, then consume that many liters of water. For example, a 200lb person would need to drink 100L of water per day, more if they are sweating due to exercise and/or hot weather. The easiest way to manage this is with a reusable water bottle - figure out how many times you need to fill it per day, and just always have it nearby. If drinking that much water in a day sounds daunting, baby step it. Start by drinking a glass of water first thing every morning, before coffee or anything else. Tell yourself you’ll drink another glass of water every time you set foot in the kitchen. If your children are constantly asking for snacks, you’ll be well on your way to meeting your goal.

  1. Exercise

In Chinese Medicine, the effects of chronic stress on the body are commonly referred to as Liver Qi Stagnation. There is a saying, “where there is no free flow there is pain; where there is free flow there is no pain.” The Liver governs the free flow of Qi throughout the body, keeping everything moving smoothly. When stress causes it to stagnate, this can lead to a cascade of physical symptoms, as everything is connected. Common physical symptoms that can result directly from Liver Qi Stagnation include PMS, migraines, and explosive temper tantrums. The solution is simple - move your body regularly. Exercise is a great form of stress relief, but it can be difficult to squeeze in a full workout with little kids and/or pets underfoot. Just focus on moving your body every day, ideally for a minimum of 30 minutes total and/or 10,000 steps. Weather permitting, I try to pry my kids away from their screens and out for a long walk every day. The movement and time spent unplugged, outside in the fresh air and sunshine (unless it’s too hot to go out until after sunset) help us all reset. Bonus: your body converts sunlight to Vitamin D, which is a key factor in boosting natural immunity.

  1. Mindfulness

We’ve all heard of the benefits of meditation, and know it can help us deal with stress, manage our emotions, increase patience, and reduce anxiety and depression. If ever there were a time when that’s been needed, it’s when so many of us have been trying to work from home while helping the children with their school work. They’re bored and missing their friends, and everyone is stir crazy after being at home and on top of each other for the past few months. But how does one maintain a meditation practice without any quiet time or space? I say if the opportunity arises, go for it - maybe that’s after the kids are in bed and you listen to a guided meditation. One thing we can all do is to seize mini moments of mindfulness. When you go to the bathroom, take a moment to close your eyes and focus on your breath. Focus on the sensation of water running over your hands while you wash them for 20 seconds. At meal times, try to eat mindfully. Focus on the sight, smell, touch and taste of your food and chew it thoroughly. This not only gives you a chance to get centered, but can also help with the Covid 15 that so many people have picked up from mindlessly snacking out of boredom.

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