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This is How Parents Can Combat Stress During Quarantine

This is How Parents Can Combat Stress During Quarantine

Here are 10 tips for making quarantining a little less stressful

Here are 10 ways parents can reduce stress during quarantine and stay sane, including me time for moms and dads, getting exercise, and having virtual hang outs.

You’re not the only one feeling insane these days. Parents are home with their kids, homeschooling for the first time, dealing with new technology, and working at their own jobs. Plus, there are restless children, not enough space, and a seemingly endless amount of chores to do every day. It’s a miracle we haven’t all run screaming into the streets—though even that is disallowed due to social distancing. How can parents make it through this difficult and stressful time? We came up with a few tips to get you on the right track.

Remember Why You’re Home

This is a catastrophic world pandemic—that is why you are homeschooling, cleaning like a madwoman, and bored out of your mind. It’s easy to forget the real world out there, so keep yourself well-informed with real news (but take brakes from it when you need to for your mental health). See our regularly updated article about the Coronavirus. Also good sources: John Hopkins University COVID-19 page and The Guardian. And if you are up to it, make a donation or volunteer to support those who need it.

Be Grateful

Many of us feel negative and angry during this difficult time, but take a few minutes every day to practice gratitude, whether it’s simply thinking it, sharing it as a family, or keeping a gratitude journal: for your health, for your family, and for health care workers and other front-liners. Keep in mind that we are at least not on a battlefield, just home 24/7 with our family. And if you are feeling well, reach out to those who are more vulnerable.

Connect with Your Friends Virtually

While it’s not equivalent to an in-person coffee date or hug, make plans to talk to your friends or family via Zoom, Skype, or Facetime. Kids should set up virtual playdates while parents try a virtual cocktail hour or schedule a post-bedtime hang. If you belong to a group (book group, church group, choir, etc.) set up a group Zoom. You can even throw a movie night with Netflix Party. The effort to socialize is worthwhile—we need to connect more than we realize.

Get in Some Exercise

It’s way too easy to realize it’s 6pm and you haven’t left the house all day. Schedule in some movement—a walk, run, or bike ride, and if the weather doesn’t cooperate, check out an online exercise class and do it alone or with your kids. Staying active benefits our mental and physical health, so block out an hour in every day’s schedule when you make that happen.

Breathe in Fresh Air

While this could happen when you exercise, this can also mean merely stepping outside and breathing air that doesn’t smell like your immediate family. Take a moment, especially if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, to open a window or a door and breathe. If you’re in the mood for more, research which local parks or trails are open nearby and venture forth.

Take Some Me Time

We are all creating detailed schedules for homeschool, meals, chores, and work, but how many of you are penciling in “me time.” You don’t even have to do anything meaningful during your alone time—just let your family know that it’s time for you to close a door and then do so, even if it feels selfish. Add this to your daily schedule so you make sure to fit it in.

Plan Something Fun

The one thing we are all missing, no matter how organized or care-free we may seem, is fun. No one is going out or getting together with friends. So figure out how to make some fun at home: Throw a dance party with your kids; have an at-home date night; watch a funny movie; bake a delicious cake and eat it for lunch. Try to break out of the routine once in a while so that you remember what it feels like to laugh and be free.

Start a New Project

Now is the time to learn a new craft or get really good at something you already practice. And being invested in an ongoing goal will help you feel productive. Skillshare has 1,000 free classes and Open Culture has free on-line courses. You could learn how to sew, sing, or speak Spanish. Maybe you’ve always wanted to juggle. Now is the time—for both you and your kids—to invest in a new hobby.

Assign and Schedule Chores

If every dirty dish and spotty rug requires your immediate attention, you’re probably going to go a little nutty. Instead, make a chore chart and a schedule for each and every cleaning project. Schedule larger cleaning tasks for the weekends when there is less homeschool and work.

Disconnect for a Bit

We are on our screens more than ever—schooling, working, socializing, being entertained, and reading news. Take at least an hour a day to put away all screens and read a book, take a walk, or work on a project. As important as it is to connect with each other right now, it’s also important to disconnect from technology.

Above all, give yourself a break. This isn’t easy for anyone and there’s no reason you can’t scream into a pillow or demand a foot massage once in a while. You don’t have to make it work perfectly all the time.

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Shana Liebman


Shana Liebman is the features editor of NYMP. She’s a writer and editor who has worked for magazines including New York MagazineSalon, and Travel & Leisure—and she is the mom of two energetic little boys.

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