This is unprecedented.
We’re smack in the middle of a global pandemic where tens of thousands of people in our country are dying and the weight of protecting our families from a deadly disease is heavy.
While I am supremely grateful for my healthy family and the safe haven of our home, it’s still really hard.
We’re stuck in our homes. All day long. With our kids.
There’s no social interaction. No breaks while our kids are under the watchful eye of their teachers and no chance to socially distance ourselves from them while we sweat through our typical gym class.
But I guess when you’re under a country-wide shelter-in-place, squeezing in a workout isn’t exactly the priority. I mean, food for your family? Sure. Toilet paper? Absolutely. Maintaining an educational environment for your kids? Meh.
Exercise certainly doesn’t rank very high on the pandemic pendulum.
But should it?
Moms, you’re the CEO of your household. The person who everyone is depending on right now. Without an outlet for you—a 30 minute “stop and breathe” when you’re not changing someone’s diaper or slicing someone’s hot dog—at some point, you’re going to emotionally tank.
Plus, exercise relieves tension and combats anxiety. I’m a better mom after I’ve worked out … and had the chance to get my house back in order. I don’t know about you, but my stress level intensifies when everything in my sight line is an absolute disaster.
Another way to lower your stress? A self-care app.
Here are some ways to sneak in some exercise while sheltering-in-place. Then, you can tackle the housework.
Make your kids a part of your workout. Throw your toddler on your back and knock out some squats. Carry your baby with you each time you go up the stairs. Your kids are having fun, and you’re getting stronger.
Use the weights around you. Pick up that case of bottled water, hamper full of laundry or wine bottles and get some reps in! You don’t need access to a gym to find weights.
Take a (FREE!) fitness class online. Lots of gyms and personal trainers have taken their workouts virtual! Just follow the hashtag #homeworkout on Instagram, and you’ll have access to over three million exercises that you can do away from the gym.
Take the stairs. While your kids are watching a movie or playing in the playroom, walk up your staircase taking two steps at a time and then run back down. Repeat for five minutes.
Take a long walk. Make it a scavenger hunt and challenge your kids to find items along the way to keep them interested. The fresh air will give your mood a welcomed boost.
Mom guilt is real. But as flight attendants instruct us, you need to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. If you don’t take care of yourself, you are useless to everyone around you.
I always feel better when I come back to my Washington FAMILY (see what I did there?) after some time to myself. I’m more energized and up for anything, a vast contrast from the cranky zombie my kids are used to seeing.
You have to make yourself a priority so you have the energy to pour into everyone that depends on you—especially now.
You matter too.
—BY ERIN WASHINGTON
Erin Washington is a lifestyle blogger from Leesburg. Her book, “Squats and Margaritas-a Journey to Finding Balance” is available on Amazon. For more from Erin, subscribe to her blog, Squats and Margaritas.
If you’re a local parent in the DMV with a story to share about parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic—or parenting, in general—we’d love to hear from you. Please send your personal essay (700 words or less) with a short bio to our editor, PJ Feinstein, at [email protected].