During this pandemic families have had to navigate new rules. The rules have limited family
activities and the options for entertainment. Some families have embraced this new normal as a way to slow down and reconnect without the constant need to run to practices, games or activities, and work demands. They have embraced the slower lifestyle of their grandparents with activities such as, baking bread from scratch and gardening. For families that have children with different abilities, this time can be extremely stressful.
Adjusting to a new and abrupt lifestyle with a sudden decrease in support from schools and
other agencies has increased their already burdened list of things to do. Disruptions to their
children’s routines have led to children experiencing an increase in anxiety and behaviors as
they struggle to understand what is happening. There are many things parents can do to help their children during this time but often parents neglect their own self-care in order to meet the demands of the household.
During this time, parents are met with many feelings of stress, anxiety, and isolation. The
uncertainty of what school or childcare will look like in the fall, and the fear of spike in cases
lends itself to constant emotional stress in addition to the stress of meeting the daily demands.
It is more important now more than ever to recognize the need for parents and caregivers to
participate in self-care activities.
As parents and caregivers, we often participate only in self-care activities that are necessary so we can spend the majority of our time and energy on those that we care for. Sometimes after meeting the household demands, parents and caregivers are often too tired to do any additional tasks for themselves, even when those tasks are enjoyable. Spending a few minutes each day participating in an enjoyable self-care routine decreases cortisol levels, re-energizes the mind and body, and improves mood.
Caregivers should try to carve out a few minutes each day to participate in an enjoyable self-
care activity. Your child will benefit from the recharge and reset that enjoyable self-care
routines can provide you. Some great examples are, reading a book or article, exercising,
talking to a friend, taking a walk, gardening, even taking a ride in the car by yourself can be
energizing. Remember taking care of yourself will improve your ability to take care of others!
Traci Ziemkiewicz, OT