For the past few months, I’ve been on a mission to find a little slice of zen amidst the CRAZIEST YEAR EVER. Since it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do so, sharing some tips below that have been working for me. All of these ideas may sound rather simple but I’ve found them to be extremely helpful during this social distancing time. I can only hope that they help you too!
My Mama Zen Secrets:
1) Routine Routine Routine!
I never knew how important routines were for families until I became a mom. Before Naiya was born, I vividly remember being on set for work one day, completely baffled as to why a mom of an 11-month old wouldn’t move her son’s nap time by an hour or two so that we could shoot with her. Thankfully, I never said anything out loud because now I COMPLETELY understand. Routines are the key to literally any semblance of sleep when it comes to babies and they’re also key to any sense of zen when it comes to parenting overall.
Sticking to a consistent routine has been especially helpful amidst 2020 craziness. Since we’re all stuck at home together 24/7, there’s something so helpful about knowing when to carve out time for naps, play, meal times, etc. I love that our kids thrive on this too.
2) Find Time To Work Out (And Incorporate Your Kids If You Have To!)
Working out is SO important to helping me to find my zen. I know a lot of mamas can’t break away from their kids during this pandemic and they’re struggling BIG TIME to find the time or energy to workout. After all, working out can easily feel like a bonus–something you don’t necessarily NEED. That said, I can’t recommend continuing to try to find the time enough because it will REALLY help to elevate your mood. I’ve started to see it as a non-negotiable when it comes to my routine. Incorporate your kids if you have to! It certainly won’t always be easy but it will also be worth it.
Since I rarely get a chance to work out without my kids, I definitely incorporate them into my workouts instead. I start off every morning early—taking Naiya and/or Sadie on a run in their stroller. I come armed with snacks, water, toys–the works! I blast Naiya’s favorite songs on my phone. We sing, we point out fun flowers and houses along the way and best of all, I sweat. I come home each morning feeling accomplished and ready to tackle the day.
On weekends, I also try to get in some yoga time. I’ll lie a mat down for myself and then one for Naiya and Sadie next to me in case they want to join in. Don’t get me wrong–this is NOT a calming experience. The zen part is the part that comes in later for me–knowing that I’ve gotten my workout in and somehow, I feel better.
3) Find A Little Zen At A Time–Then Rinse & Repeat
At the top of the pandemic, I struggled to find any time to just breathe. I was still going a million miles per minute with work and mom-ing and somewhere around May or June, I felt like I was burning out. P.S. Sadie was only 4.5 months old when all of this started so we were just coming out of the thick of newborn life. Now that Sadie’s 10 months old, that alone has helped me to find more zen in my day. Thankfully, we’re sleeping better because she’s sleeping better and she’s become more of a toddler.
All of that said, somewhere around quarantine day 122 (not that anyone is counting!) I decided to start building intentional zen moments into my day. I bought essential oils and started using them for five minutes in the shower to decompress. I continue to use a diffuser with lavender oil before bed. I burn sage at least once a week. I’ve also been on a mission to declutter my house in order to find some extra calm. With two kids running around constantly, decluttering is taking forever but slowly but surely, I’ll get there!
In the end, I’ve learned that while I don’t have time to decompress for hours at a time throughout the pandemic, finding my zen can happen in little intervals throughout the day. Since no one is going to grant me breathing room amidst all of my zoom calls, I’ve learned it’s entirely up to me. My tip for you here is to carve out as much time to breathe throughout the day as you can. Those minutes will add up and help you big time overall. After all, we have to take what we can get this year!
4) Candles Are Quarantine Gold
I’ve become obsessed with zen-smelling candles this quarantine period–the kind that help me to pretend I’m at some zen escape. I’m currently loving Meyer’s soy candles (geranium scent is everything and lavender is my second fave!). These candles transport me to the only spa vibes I’m able to have right now and TBH, I’m here for it.
I’ve started lighting them at the top of every work day. They somehow help me to relax and focus. They also add a warm vibe to my desk here at home which also happens to be covered in drawings by Naiya (no space is off limits from her artwork right now)!
5) Unplug & Carve Out True Breaks
I haven’t been great at doing this but since it’s one of the most important ways to zen out, I definitely need to include it. Since we’re more plugged in than ever throughout this socially distancing time, it can get extra exhausting! I’m on work zoom calls most days from 9am to 7pm at least and there are barely any natural breaks in between. I’m sure many of you are in a similar boat.
In order to be a zen mama, it’s important to carve out breaks throughout the day. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get up to take time away from your desk for lunch. Give yourself permission to go on a quick walk outside to get some fresh air. Whenever I do allow myself this time, I’ve noticed how much more creative and productive I feel afterwards.
I’ve also made it a point to unplug at a certain time every night. I’ve been trying my best to put my phone down at least an hour before bed so that I’m not checking it until the moment I close my eyes. That said, not going to lie, I fail at this tip A LOT. I’m a total work in progress but I really do see how important this is.
How Do You Find Your Quarantine Zen?
What are you doing throughout this time to find your zen? Have you found your new normal and struck a nice balance or are you a constant work-in-progress like me? Tell me all the things in the comment section below and as always, thanks so much for stopping by!
Photography: Azusa Takano