Stephanie Gardner is a mommy blogger and content creator from Long Beach. When it comes to working from home and running a household, she’s no stranger to the struggle.
Nowadays? You might call Stephanie somewhat of a resident expert on managing kids, work, cleaning, cooking and everything in-between in the age of quarantine. She took to Instagram to remind her followers to check in on their mental health and share her own secret recipe for “Me Time” success:
“What have you been doing to take care of your mental health since the quarantine started? I know some days I really feel like I’m losing it! It’s hard trying to balance work, the kids, cleaning, cooking, the new family dynamic of everyone being home ALL the time. Not to mention this is a global pandemic, so there’s also the worrying about getting sick or about someone you love getting sick, about the economy, about finances…. It’s a lot! I’ve learned that for me, not getting enough “me time” really takes a toll on my mental health.
I’ve been taking a lot of walks to clear my head, but some days the weather doesn’t cooperate, and I also know that some people aren’t comfortable going out for walks. Something that I’ve found works for me is having a little nook I can retreat to for a half hour when I need a break.
You don’t need to redecorate or dedicate a huge amount of space for this; I just chose this corner in my bedroom where my desk is. When I want a break, I make a point of taking 5 minutes to remove all of my work items from the desk so it doesn’t feel like a workspace (Don’t skip this step!
Setting the tone for relaxing makes a huge impact on how you feel!) Then I’ll add some throw pillows to my chair, I’ll grab a blanket, and I also like to grab a plant a two to put on the desk because the greenery is really soothing for me. Whatever makes you feel comfortable, grab those things for yourself and make a little nook. Bring some snacks and a drink, too. I typically use my time alone to read because it’s a calming activity, and when I have my phone, I’m more likely to end up clicking a news article or doing something that is not calming for me, which kind of defeats the point. But if you like to listen to a podcast, knit, stare out the window, whatever makes YOU feel refreshed, take this time to do it!
Ask your partner to watch the kids if you have kids, and dedicate this time to yourself. I like to set a timer if I have other obligations to get back to, because then I can really immerse myself in my reading without compulsively checking my watch every 2 minutes. If I don’t have other obligations (rare!), I can just zone out and enjoy my time! It might seem like taking a break when you’re busy is counterproductive, however, taking some time to recharge can put you in the right headspace to get things done later. Whether those things are work, a home project, or just having the patience to be the sole form of entertainment for your kids, we all need to fill our cups first if we want to be able to pour into others.”