On the 5th November 2020, England went into a month-long lockdown. In our house as well as many other households, it got nicknamed Lockdown 2.0. (Can you tell we’re tech nerds?). So I got thinking about self-care in lockdown and how I could make it work around caring for the boys.
With Chris being away, self-care opportunities haven’t always been readily available so I’ve been trying to figure out ones that fit in around taking care of the boys. Sometimes this has been squeezing in things while Rex naps and Jaxon is at school or late at night once both boys are asleep.
Okay so maybe you don’t know the how Chris came to not be here during Lockdown 2.0. I might need to write about that one too or maybe he can come and guest blog for me as he has miles more spare time that me currently lol.
When I do have chance for self-care, what am I getting up to?
So pictures of baths with all the bubbles are a regular thing when it comes to talking about self-care but for me sitting down and taking the time for a bath is self-care. Don’t tell me off about this. For me, there are levels of baths/showers. At one end of the scale there’s the “just wash your hair so you look human” one, which is often me standing over the bath with the shower head trying not to soak the whole bathroom in the process. Then there’s the “I just need to get clean and stop smelling” shower. This is pretty much what happens all the time… that’s basic hygiene and needs to be there. This has been known to happen at 1 in the morning because it’s the only time that someone hasn’t needed me – in the early Rex days it was between feeds and seemed to work!
Then there’s the “soak in the bath and leave my worries behind” – these don’t happen very often but when they do I try and make them special if I can… I have lots of bubbles and get the candles out if I can! (Although if it’s a daytime bath I might skip the candles!)
Curl Up with a Book
While breastfeeding Rex, I’ve been working my way through quite a few books on my Kindle app. In 2020, I’ve read almost 40 books according to Goodreads, it’s not quite there but it’s almost one a week which is a bit crazy.
Anyway, sometimes curling up in a comfy chair or your snuggly bed and reading can be just what the doctor ordered to help you take care of yourself. Whether it’s escaping to a seaside town where everyone knows your name or through a wardrobe to a magic land, falling into a book can be just what you need for a spot of self are. Add the candles and fairy lights to the atmosphere and you’re heading for Hygge!
Knit/Cross Stitch/Something Else Crafty
For some people, the idea of knitting or creating something crafty can be more stressful than mindful. I love curling up with my latest project and seeing things come together. At the moment, I’m knitting a woolly hat for Rex that involves intarsia so it can be a little stressful but on the whole, for me, it’s quite mindful. Whether it’s something simple or something more complex, for me it’s self-care. At the moment, I’m working on a shawl, which has a pretty easy to follow repeat so I don’t need to worry about complicated lace or increasing and decreasing lots.
We’ve been making different cake. Whether it’s from a packet mix where you just add the eggs and oil or something from scratch, There’s something about seeing the raw ingredients coming together to form something complete that just makes me happy. Actually the bit that came to mind just now was from Julie and Julia, where Julie (Powell played by Amy Adams) has a rubbish day at work and on the way home decides to make Chocolate Cream Pie.
You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure, and when I say "nothing" I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It's such a comfort.
Rocky Road is an absolute favourite in our house. I’m hoping to share the recipe for it soon – I’ll be sure to add a link here. Do you have a favourite recipe either to make or to eat? I’ve been watching The Great British Bake Off and once again I’m excited to try baking more again. Part of me wants to try to learn to make profiteroles properly but imagine that if I learn how to do it properly I might want to make them all the time!
I am a notebook addict and so I often can be quite specific about my notebooks (check my Wishlist there’s usually 4 or 5 different ones on there just in case!) but you can journal in any notebook or on a scrap of paper if needed. It’s just about getting down how you are feeling and processing those emotions. You might go back in 6 months or a year and be like “what on earth was I going on about??” but if in the moment it helps, it’s worth a try right? There are different forms of journalling just like there are different forms of painting for instance. In the past I’ve mostly done the memory keeping form of journalling – so where did we go and what did we do and how did I feel about that. Some people just write about what they did each day or the highlights and low points of those days.
If you want it to be more of the “Dear Diary, today I did…” style then go for it. Ultimately – it’s your journal, you do what you want with it. If it’s a bad day and you just want to scribble like crazy across the page, DO IT. If it’s a good day and somehow you want to commemorate that with a drawing of balloons or a page from a magazine, DO IT. It’s your journal. Do what works for you, not what works for a pretty Instagram picture or something like that. That being said your journal is a private or as public as you want it to be.
I am a massive fan of a good nap. When I was pregnant with Jaxon I would mostly just nap at weekends – I think it was my way of catching up but this time around when I was pregnant with Rex, I was having to nap most days just to be able to function. If I didn’t take myself to bed for a nap I often found I was dozing off in front of the TV. At one point, Jaxon was well trained and would grab a blanket and put it over me if I dozed off. He’s very sweet like that.
Anyway, sometimes if you’re having a bad day or struggling, having a nap is just what you need to get through the rest of the day or feel recharged enough to deal with a situation.
Writing letters to friends/family
I am a huge fan of handwritten letters. There’s just something about the time and focus it takes to write a letter to someone. I always feel like someone really cares about me if they’ve sat down and written me a proper letter. Emails and Texts are great for a quick question or to find out a burst of information but a letter has a character to it. I received one from my penpal in the USA telling me all about how their town had been in the run-up to the election and how even though they live in a mainly red state, their town was changing to more and more blue as “President 45” open his mouth again (or tweeted instead). My friend also wrote about massive life changes going on in their family at the moment – it would have worked on email but something about it being there in written form just made it so much more personal.
Before you panic and feel like it’s got to be some epic long essay, it really doesn’t. It could just be a greeting card with a short message just to say I’m thinking of you.
Going for a Walk/Exercise
Going for a walk and exercise of any form increase the brains levels of serotonin which in turn make us feel happier after we’ve been for a walk or done some exercise (even if we had it while it’s in progress and question our life choices or a while!). We set little challenges like trying to find a different route to take around near our house or who could do a particular stretch in a certain way like backwards, fastest or slowest etc.
But ultimately take care of yourself, in whatever works for you. There was talk about being productive and writing that novel you’d always meant to write but never got around to in Lockdown 1 and for most of us, lockdown involved lots of lockdown learning, TV watching and dealing with the chores when you really had to. If that’s what you need to do, then you do it, take care of yourself.
How do you care for your own well being? Do you do one of the things in this post or do you do something else?
As part of this post I received the Orange, Cedarwood and Clove candle and Restore and Renew Lavendar Bath Therapy Oil from Zita West to try out and write about. Other products included are ones that I’ve purchased myself or been gifted by friends or family.