It’s been more than 4 months since the COVID-19 pandemic made its way to the U.S. and between much loss and collective grief, the economic downturn, trying to balance work with distance learning, caring for our families, and so much uncertainty, it’s no wonder that our health and wellbeing are at an all-time low.
In fact, according to a May 2020 survey from Motherly, 74% of mothers said they felt mentally worse than when the pandemic began.
Sadly, it’s much of the same for pregnant moms and those with babies, in particular, according to a June 2020 study in the journal Frontiers in Global Women’s Health. Of 900 women who were pregnant or were in their first year of giving birth, 40% had symptoms of depression and 74% of women had moderate to high anxiety.
Of course, one of the reasons why working moms in particular, are so significantly affected has to do with their unpaid workload at home.
While many partners are working from home too, working moms are trying to hold down the fort all by themselves.
According to a July 2020 study from the University of Kent and the University of Birmingham, working moms were doing more, if not all, the cooking, cleaning, laundry, childcare, and supervising homework and learning during the lockdown.
Unfortunately, this overwhelm and hit to our health and well-being show no signs of slowing down and affects all women, whether they’re laid back or Type-A.
Take this email I received this week from Mother Honestly, a platform for working moms, and a message from the founder, Blessing Adesiyan. She wrote:
It’s been a while. I have to confess, I have not been doing so well. It’s been unimaginably hard to balance work, parenting, and life. I am in this weird phase of life where I have a baby, toddler and a pre-teen, so you can only imagine how crazy life is right now in between breastfeeding sessions. I am constantly changing diapers, cooking three meals per day, feeding the kids 3-5 times per day if you count snack times, and I am working around the clock. In addition, we are doing laundry, groceries, cleaning and attempting to teach specifically our son who really needs some structure during this time. It’s been excruciatingly painful to watch other moms go through this. I’ve heard from thousands of moms who are working through the night only to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to start the day all of over again. We are all operating at peak capacity, burning the midnight oil, with no room left for ourselves. Another cup of coffee is my new version of self-care.
When I read this, my heart broke for her.
I remember those days as a mom with a two-year-old and a baby and how difficult they were.
Breastfeeding around the clock, pumping in between work calls, changing diapers, sleepless nights, cooking, cleaning and everything else that was required to keep my household going.
The difference however, is that I wasn’t working full-time and I never had to do all of it during a pandemic. Blessing’s life right now sounds completely insurmountable and I know she’s not the only one.
100 HEALTH AND WELLBEING TIPS FOR MOMS
While there’s no magic pill (not even Xanax) that will immediately fix everything, there are quick and simple ways to improve your health and wellbeing now and for the long haul. Here are 100 to try.
1. Eat real food.
2. Retreat to your bedroom, bathroom, etc. for a 10-minute time-out.
3. Learn deep breathing exercises.
4. Take a weekend getaway—alone.
6. Do a workout you love—my favorite is Les Mills‘ BODYCOMBAT and BODYPUMP
7. Set boundaries with people in your life.
9. Do progressive muscle relaxation.
10. Learn about Intuitive Eating.
11. Write how you feel in a journal.
12. Look in the mirror and say something kind to yourself.
13. Call a friend.
14. Listen to a podcast.
15. Read a devotional.
16. Watch a video focused on women and positivity.
17. Take a bath.
18. Diffuse essential oils.
19. Get into bed earlier.
20. Look for more flexible work options. I recommend The Mom Project and The Second Shift .
21. Find a work, life or faith mentor.
22. Download self-care apps. like Headspace, the Calm app or Stop, Breathe and Think.
23. Make a craft.
24. Do yoga.
25. Schedule a regular time to see friends.
26. Devote the first 10-20 minutes in the morning to your health and wellbeing.
27. Cook a delicious meal even if it’s not “healthy.”
28. Get good at saying no.
29. Take a hike or get out in nature.
30. Put your phone down.
31. Re-connect with an old pal.
32. Have a piece of chocolate.
34. Digital detox the entire weekend.
35. Read a book to improve your health and wellbeing. I recommend Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist.
36. Try a therapy journal.
37. Try something new.
38. Have sex.
39. Allow yourself to cry.
40. Rent a romantic comedy.
41. Spend time in your garden.
42. Bake something yummy.
43. Save time with meal planning. I’m a fan of The Dinner Daily. (Get 20% off with code EATWELL20)
44. Take a dance class—or just dance around your house.
45. Color in a coloring book.
46. Eat mindfully.
47. Let toxic friendships go.
48. Make a photo album.
49. Put face cream on before bed.
50. Go to the farmers’ market.
51. Ask for forgiveness and practice compassion.
52. Repeat a mantra.
53. Pour yourself a cup of tea.
54. Listen to Christian worship music or peaceful spa music.
56. Practice grounding.
57. Write a list of 5 things you’re grateful for.
58. Stay in your pajamas all day.
59. Declutter a closet, space or room.
60. Do something nice for someone else.
61. Take a walk around the neighborhood.
62. Write a card or letter to someone you love.
63. Use a white noise machine when you sleep.
64. Plan a date night.
65. Light a candle with a calming scent.
66. Try a new recipe.
67. Go fishing.
68. Watch a video of your favorite comedian.
69. Watch the sunrise or sunset.
70. Cuddle with your partner and your kids.
71. Donate your time or money to a charity.
72. Take a nap.
73. Take a boat ride.
74. Sign up for a wine subscription. (I’m a big fan of Winc—get $20 off your first order).
75. Keep fresh flowers in a vase.
76. Try a new cuisine.
77. Go to the beach.
78. Bask in the sunshine—but wear sunscreen!
79. Purge old clothes, household goods, etc.
80. Create a budget.
81. Sing in the shower—or anywhere.
82. Make a list of accomplishments you’re proud of.
83. Do your holiday shopping early.
84. Read anxiety quotes and Bible verses to help you cope with worry.
85. Be realistic about what you can do right now.
86. Hire a babysitter.
87. Automatically set aside money for retirement.
88. Ask your partner to pitch in.
89. Give your kids a list of chores.
90. Buy a cookbook (grab my list of 7 Best Cookbooks for Moms)
91. Call for takeout.
92. Eat a healthy breakfast.
93. Do a visualization exercise.
94. Watch an inspirational video.
95. Join an online community or club.
96. Recognize the subtle signs of postpartum depression and get help.
97. Let go of mom guilt.
98. Keep healthy snacks on hand.
99. Share your story with other women.
100. Slow down.