How to focus on mental well being and staying sane in a pandemic

I read somewhere, that we live in our mind, and so keeping that space free of the clutter of negative thoughts is absolutely essential. And with the current situation, mental well being becomes all the more critical. Especially for us moms.

It takes a village to raise a child. But thanks to this pandemic, we seem to be living in what I now call a “domestic bunker”! With reduced social gatherings and meeting friends and family, we moms have the responsibility to do-it-all. Be the mom, teach, cook, clean, and all this while holding down our jobs and businesses. And so, a common complaint I hear from moms nowadays is that they feel like a bad mom when they work and a bad employee when they, well, mom (I don’t care what you say, mom is a verb) How then, do we keep a sane mind amidst this chaos?

Use crisis as an opportunity: “Never let a crisis go to waste” …. “How opportunistic!” …I remember thinking to myself while I scoffed as an initial reaction to this quote. Well, count on life to bring you to a place where you must reexamine your prejudices. And at this point, this very quote is my go-to mantra for whenever I’m feeling down. I now consciously train my mind to look at the lessons drawn from this crisis, the opportunities I get (like working from home and not having FOMO), and other silver linings.

Short term planning: One takeaway from this Pandemic (although technically, we haven’t gotten away yet, sigh!) is to not indulge in long term meticulous planning. I believe long term goals are instinctive, deep down we all know what kind of person we want to be. So planning should essentially be for the near future. One very fruitful outcome of this is mindfulness. Only if we know what place we what to be at the end of say, a month, a quarter, or even a week, it is then only that we apply our faculties fully to the task on hand.

Rituals or daily healthy habits: With Children studying at home, parents working from home simultaneously, it is no surprise that a regular schedule has gone for a toss. The quintessential Me-time is more elusive than ever. But even midst of this chaos we should try to have some daily ritual (ok, almost daily) of simple activities, like spending some time outdoors, or carving some time to curl with your favorite tea, or pour yourself some wine at the end of the day. These simple pleasures of life are what keeps us afloat during these tumultuous times. And don’t forget to eat well, as us moms tend to neglect what is on our plate when busy.

Connect with people: This sounds cliched, but as we spend most of our time indoors, it is very easy to get wrapped up in binge-watching our favorite show or going down the rabbit hole of Reddit or Quora. And while they seem oh-so gratifying at that moment, we are eventually left with the feeling of guilt of time wasted. So, get up, grab that phone and make a call to a friend, or schedule a zoom party for the weekend with your girlfriends. Sharing some silly laughs is a welcome respite from what it feels like “mommying 24/7”.

Hit the snooze on statistics: Are you one of those people who have the latest COVID count in your town, state, or country (or even global) pinned on their taskbar? Do you check on the hospitalizations and deaths from COVID every day? If yes, pray, give it a rest! Unless you are in a position of allocating resources, measuring the effectiveness of interventions, and deciding on when to reopen the economy, keeping frequent tabs on this data is probably not doing you any good. This might just heighten anxiety and provide room for unnecessary rumination. So, check that data only once in a while (we do not want to sound clueless in social situations after all) and stay away from unnecessary panic sometimes created by media.

Ask for help: We have been fed with this ideal image of a “Super Mom”. A mom who can cook, clean, run errands, educate kids, play with them (while balancing between inculcating sports spirit, teaching life lessons, and making sure they don’t get frustrated and run away, lol), all in a day’s work. Oh and I almost forgot, have a career too! But maybe this “super mom” doesn’t exist in these times of “super virus”. It is time to re-examine this ideal image and humanize it.
We moms are enough, but we can not be ALL. Let that sink in. We have been asking our spouses for additional help, and sometimes they do, BUT we know how it is ladies (Read: Women Ditching Work: Detrimental Effects of the Coronavirus) It is time we outsource tasks that do not need our direct involvement. Time to claim our sanity back and LIVE MORE CHORE LESS!

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