Have you been feeling exhausted and completely out of it during the pandemic? Without a doubt, you are not alone. How do you survive the pandemic? Self-care.
In spite of your circumstances, increasing your self-care will help you get through the quarantine. For example, an average day of trying to find a park to take your kids to, making meals, siblings bickering, and other to-dos leave you exhausted.
As a result, taking time for self-care is crucial. To illustrate below are some examples of self-care that will activate four feel-good chemicals.
Survive the Pandemic with Dopamine: The “Feel-Good” Hormone
You know that feeling of awesome when you have accomplished something? Yeah, that’s dopamine doing its thing.
Running a marathon may not be possible during the pandemic (that’s the excuse I’m going with), but you can still trigger dopamine daily for a boost.
Finishing a task
Before the day begins create a realistic checklist of to-do’s to check off throughout the day. I like to create my top 3 list or just a single to-do on this easel.
Then identify pockets of time (naptime!). Your to-do list coupled with the time available should match.
If necessary, then make your to-do list smaller or break a to-do into smaller steps.
For example, decluttering my home (shudder) is NOT realistic in a day, but clearing off the kitchen counter is something I can do and feel good about in a realistic amount of time.
Eat Well to Survive the Pandemic
Eating the right foods can do amazing things including the production of dopamine. Try to ditch fast food and soda since it’s also more expensive.
Also, swap out items in your favorite meals to create healthier choices.
Or you can add items to each meal that are healthy.
Do you love having pizza on Fridays? If so, add grilled veggies on top or on the side.
It is much easier to add healthy foods than to deprive yourself of long-standing treats. Baby steps!
Omega-3’s are found in fish oil such as salmon, mackerel, or supplements. If you are looking for an omega-3 meal time-saver it takes a few minutes to grill salmon.
As for tuna if you make a huge batch, you can have lunch leftovers the next day.
Protein can be found in lean meats, nuts, or shakes. I love this protein shake and make one every day.
Orgain protein shakes are full of probiotics and a great snack to hold me over until the next meal.
Probiotics are great for the gut by increasing “good” bacteria and can be found in tasty foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, and supplements.
If you love kimchi and kombucha (like me) then there are kits to help you get started making your own or buy fermented foods from the grocery store.
It’s a win-win for dopamine production.
Sleep: The Final Frontier to Survive the Pandemic
Sleep can be elusive with newborns, toddlers, and sick kids, but we know it is important. Getting more sleep and improving the quality of sleep can make a difference.
- Resist getting on your phone at night. Or if that is too hard use dark mode or the warm settings.
- Sip on some relaxing tea. It’s a great way to relax and get some extra hydration. You can try chamomile or whatever works for you.
- Make the room completely dark. Dark curtains can be made or bought.
Oxytocin: A Self-Care Hack to Survive the Quarantine
Oxytocin is nicknamed “the cuddle hormone.” Get to cuddling to get the benefits of this feel-good chemical.
Grab your favorite blanket and make time to cuddle with your kids and read or watch a tv show. If your kids are not into cuddling, then you can cuddle with a pet!
Have you been on the fence about getting a new pet for the family? Well, this is another reason it might be a good idea.
Give Out Compliments and Gifts
That wonderful feeling you get when you give a gift is not imaginary. Oxytocin kicks in when you make someone’s day!
If you feel someone is awesome, then go ahead and say so. You can up the ante and send a card, homemade gift, or gift card.
Unexpected gifts are a wonderful surprise. It’s another win-win. As a matter of fact, we could all use some kindness.
Listening to or performing music can cause your brain to release oxytocin. Create a playlist that gets your kids moving and busy. Not to mention the kids can’t bicker if they are having fun.
Or you can put together a playlist of your favorite songs to bring back great memories while you conquer laundry mountain. Don’t resist the urge to sing in the shower or around the house.
Also, singing boosts your mood as well. Needless to say music is powerful.
Serotonin: The Feel-Good Mood Booster
Serotonin has many functions in the body including adjusting mood and sleep. Your day includes endless laundry, meals, snacks, requests, educating the kids, and the rest on the never-ending to-do list.
Do your best to refresh and replenish. Here are some serotonin boosters.
Let the Sunshine In to Survive During the Pandemic!
Getting outside for sun exposure daily — safely. Wear sunscreen and your hat.
Take some time to sit in your backyard, patio, or front steps. When you take the kids to the park that counts too.
If you can’t get sunshine by going outdoors, then consider a lamp that mimics sunlight.
Exercise has many benefits including serotonin production and the production of other hormones. Do you want bonus points? Exercise outdoors to get the benefits of sunlight.
In addition, YouTube is full of free exercise classes. MommaStrong is not free but is fairly low-cost and one of my favorite exercise programs.
Also, MommaStrong focuses on strength and not the number on the scale.
Eat better every day
Eat healthier. It’s so important it made it a second time on the list.
No one likes being told not to eat or drink their favorite things. However, I propose you try adding items that are high in protein and whole grains slowly to avoid resentment.
For example, you can try oatmeal and nuts in the morning, turkey on whole-grain bread for lunch, and salmon and brown rice in the evenings. You can create your own protein and quality carb combinations.
Swap out soda for sparkling juice, sparkling water, water flavor drops, or just plain water. Keep trying until you find some favorites. Give yourself some grace and add some fruit and veggies when you can.
Endorphins for Getting Through the Quarantine
Endorphins are another set of hormones that create feelings of happiness and reduce the perception of pain.
Laughter to to Survive the Quarantine
Nowadays you can find funny memes, short comedy clips, sitcoms, and movies in an instant online. Go ahead and like Facebook pages or Instagram accounts that entertain you.
The downside of course is spending too much time online.
Try a timer to snap you back to reality.
A small study suggests that essential oils have an effect on the central nervous system. Lavender, lemon, and bergamot can be used in aromatherapy to improve your mood.
Take a deep breath and enjoy your favorite scents.
Yes, please. It is not your imagination that chocolate makes you happy.
Dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins. Throw dark chocolate into a protein shake, drinks, and smoothies.
I don’t need to tell you how to get more chocolate in your life.
Your How to Survive the Pandemic Self-Care Checklist:
- Make lists and check off tasks
- Eat well-balanced meals filled with omega 3’s, protein, grains, and probiotics
- Diffuse essential oils
- Have a piece of dark chocolate
- Take a walk or run outdoors with the kids
- Play that music and have a dance party
- Give compliments and gifts to others while you scroll those parent memes
- Find something funny to watch
- After a long day cuddle
- Sleep well by using a blackout curtain, calming tea, and a warm setting on devices after sunset
Repeat the list and add your own spin to it!
Take care of yourself first so you can take care of those around you and survive the quarantine. Self-care makes you feel good and needs to be a priority.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but fit it in as much as possible. You are doing great!
Before You Go…
Is your happy place making your home feel bigger? Check out my other article on doubling the size of your home for ideas.
What is your favorite self-care practice? Let’s see ‘em in the comments.
Don’t forget to share this article to remind someone you love to get that self-care!
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