Lockdown is hard. Parenting in lockdown is even harder! I’ve felt a bit deflated for a few weeks but over the past couple of days I’ve managed to lift the mood a little bit by doing a few things differently.
1. I’ve eaten really nourishing food
I’ve not been in any mood to cook recently, especially when family mealtime usually involves at least two different meals for people with vastly different dietary needs. Recently this has meant that I’ve been sitting down to eat with the toddlers (usually a mini version of whatever they’re having) and then having something more substantial later on. The problem with this arrangement is that by the time I’m hungry, the easiest thing to do is whack a frozen veggie burger in the oven, just eat toast, or eat a few slices of cheese and a family sized bar of chocolate….
While these are all foods I enjoy, they don’t nourish either my body or mind, and they tend to leave me feeling sluggish.
I had a think about really easy, delicious, meals that would actually leave me feeling good, and stopped reaching for the freezer fixes a few days ago. Omelettes have been great, and I forgot how much I enjoy them! They’re so easy, and the toddlers and I can all eat them together. Today, the toddlers had a cheese and tomato omelette, and I had one with goats cheese, spinach and walnuts (I was feeling fancy). Quick, low effort, full of protein, and properly nourishing! Don’t get me wrong, I still ate chocolate today, just not as my entire dinner!
Coming up over the next week is halloumi stew, poached pear salad, and various super easy slow cooker dishes. Honestly, eating nourishing food has made a big difference and helped to lift a cloud!
2. I’ve drunk more
I’m absolutely terrible at drinking enough fluids. Last year if I counted my cups of tea and coffee in my daily intake then I might have reached 5 cups of liquid in a day – not great. This was leading to headaches and more sluggishness.
Back in the first lockdown I was having headaches and pains so bad that the emergency services thought I might have had a bleed on the brain and I was sent for an emergency brain MRI. We never got to the bottom of the weird stabby head pains, but my total lack of hydration certainly wasn’t helping so I’ve been much better from that point onwards, although I still struggle to hit the recommended 2L a day!
I’ve been much better over the past few days, and something as simple as filling up my insulated bottle at the beginning of the day and keeping it on hand, has encouraged me to drink so much more! I’ve definitely felt better for it.
3. I’ve got outside
I LOVE being out in nature, but sometimes it’s hard. I’ve written about the struggles of getting out by myself with two toddlers before, but I always find that no matter how stressful the actual ‘getting out of the house’ process is, it’s all worth it when I feel the fresh air on my face and I see my toddlers gazing around at their new surroundings in wonder.
4. I’ve got dressed every day
There have been so many days during lockdown where the temptation to not get dressed all day has won. While I’m a total advocate of the occasional pyjama day, whole weeks at a time in pyjamas weren’t doing me any favours.
It can feel really hard to get dressed when it feels like there’s nowhere to go, and nobody to see, but I’ve found that the days when I make the effort to get dressed are much more productive. Even just an old pair of leggings and a T-shirt make me feel more ‘on it’ that a dressing gown!
5. I’ve watched my toddlers playing more closely and given them more kisses and cuddles.
Watching my children fills me with love and joy, but it’s easy to get distracted. I’ve made a really conscious effort to put down my phone, turn off the TV, and schedule the work for later, meaning that my children have my absolute undivided attention. Just chatting to them and helping them work on new skills or explore an activity is an amazing way to lift the mood.