SALT LAKE CITY — Hey Mama, we know you’ve already got a lot on your plate. Being a mom is no easy task in itself, let alone any added stresses of the novel COVID-19 creeping its way around the globe.
We know you're probably stressed about the potential risks of your children and babies, so here are five tips to keep you and your kids healthy through the midst of the virus:
1. Don’t freak out
I placed this point as number one because it’s the No. 1 most important: Don’t freak out. Stress is one of the greatest contributors to disease, so the best thing you can do is to relax.
Although it’s easy to be influenced by the media, and by the thousands of people manically buying toilet paper, remember that it’s more important for you to be stress-free. Not to mention, your children and babies are highly intuitive, and whatever you feel, they feel too. If you don't freak out for any other reason, do it for your kids so they can feel safe too.
2. Manage your stress
Now, expanding off of the first point of not freaking out, there are many ways to help you manage your stress. While you don’t necessarily need to take daily trips to the spa, you can indulge yourself in small, daily activities such as bubble baths, a yoga practice, or even just 10-15 minutes of meditation.
Here are a few of the best ways to manage stress:
Try new forms of exercise
With gyms, ski resorts and yoga studios closing, this is a good time to get yourself out into nature in other ways, such as jogging and hiking. Luckily for us living along the Wasatch Front, there are miles and miles of trails and areas to explore where there are minimal people. Not only will the exercise help you reduce stress and increase endorphins, but being in nature can help us all remember that even though things might be crazy and changing in the world, we still have the same mountains, unchangingly beautiful.
Not to mention, there are many ways you can exercise within your own home. It's times like these that technology really comes in handy, and we can take yoga and workout classes live online. A few of my favorite workout apps are:
Here is a list of 20 different workout apps. Ironically enough, most of these apps have a free 14-day trial — the same amount of time you might be stuck in quarantine!
Hack your stress with adaptogens, which are herbs and substances that literally help your body to ‘adapt’ to stress. Especially for moms, you can kill two birds with one stone by taking adaptogenic herbs that not only help you manage stress, but help you to increase breastmilk as well. Herbs such as shatavari and turmeric are both herbs proven to decrease stress and increase breast milk.
Additional herbs that will help to boost your immune system and safeguard your health are herbs such as ginger, oil of oregano, reishi and cordyceps mushrooms, papaya leaf, garlic, and echinacea. (To name a few!)
Unplug from to the news
Every day there are more updates, more people contracting the virus, and more people freaking out. I recommend unplugging yourself from the news to enjoy the joys of being a Momma. While we have the ability to take preventative measures, there’s no point in checking the news once, twice or three times a day. Stay aware of what’s happening, while avoiding neurotic obsession.
3. Continue breastfeeding
Outside of the immediate postpartum setting, the CDC recommends a mother with flu to continue breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk to her infant while taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant." Right now, there are no cases and no evidence that a mama can pass the virus to her baby through her breast milk. Therefore, the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh any risks, given the best nutrients you could give your baby to help promote their health and reduce risk of sickness is giving them the most nutritious substance on the planet — your breastmilk.
If you’ve had trouble providing enough breastmilk, increase your consumption of lactogenic foods, which can also provide your body with amazing, lactogenic nutrients.
4. Practice good hygiene
I know we've heard it a million times that we should be washing our hands often. But what's more important here is that we encourage those in our family to do the same. If you have young children, teach them the importance of washing their hands often and maybe even give them a proper “tutorial” on how to wash their hands effectively.
As for yourself, wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer when out and about, and sanitize frequently touched surfaces in your house such as door and drawer handles.
5. Spend time alone and connect with others
Ironically enough, this might happen whether you want it to or not. With the influx of quarantine requirements and the uncertainty of when or if it will happen in your area, being alone is something we should try to do as much as possible during this time to reduce the amount of time we're interacting with others.
While you’re alone at home, utilize this time to connect with the people important to you. A situation such as this one helps us recognize what we really do value in life — and those are the people we love the most. Whether you're in quarantine or not, take this time to call and facetime those that you love. Remember, even though we might feel alone, we are all in this together.