Home Articles Surprise! Self-isolation suddenly puts self-care center stage

Surprise! Self-isolation suddenly puts self-care center stage

Kriti Agarwal has seen an increase in moms signing up for her Bollywood dance classes, now held online.

For all the stress the coronavirus pandemic has brought, there is a bit of a silver lining for overextended Arizona moms. They’re finally finding time for more — and more creative — self-care.

With this newfound “me time,” they’re putting everything from the basic to the exotic into self-isolation days. Online dance, even belly dancing. Wine and incense every night on the patio. Zoom time with friends. Hobbies with hubbies. Finally, that regular workout regime — add skin care, too. The list goes on.

A number of moms say they’ve begun enjoying late-night indulgences such as binge-watching favorite shows and sneaking decadent snacks. On top of that, they’ve lost the guilt these guilty pleasures once aroused.

Sophie Strosberg of Tucson is among them. She is keeping herself “well-chocolated — dark chocolate, fair trade and single origin if possible.” She’s also giving up on guilt. “I’m allowing zero shame for watching TV instead of doing something more productive or character-building in the evenings after my kid is in bed.”

A run-of-the-mill movie night with her 5-year-old daughter Bella gave a self-care idea to Monica Basoco of Buckeye. While watching Disney’s “Aladdin,” she was inspired by the exotic dancing to search online for such a class. Now, she and Bella are taking a weekly mother-daughter Bollywood dance class that meets via Zoom.

“I’ve always wanted to try that style of dancing. It is really fun,” she said. “We get to interact with [the teacher] and other people taking the class with her. It’s almost like being in the class, just at home.”

The dance instructor, Kriti Agarwal of Kriti Dance in Chandler, said the home-bound moms in her classes are seeking a much-needed outlet. The classes serve as self-preservation, not just self-care.

“I’m hearing our moms are feeling lonely and isolated,” she said. “The feedback I’m getting is that some of them are feeling like they’re losing their identity staying at home with family, kids, chores 24/7. This is one way to move, to laugh, to connect with other moms and recharge.”

For herself, Agrawal, a mother of two, said she has been hosting virtual happy hours with her girlfriends to stay connected. So does Najat Shamsid-Deen, who went all out with her latest “Girls’ Night In.” Her Zoom conference brought together four mom friends, complete with healthy drinks, face masks, manicures and a few hours of good girl talk.

Najat Shamsid-Deen (top left), during a “Girls Night In” on Zoom.

Shamsid-Deen has a laundry list of activities she does for herself now. Interests range from playing a drum to participating in open mic comedy. She also has pumped up her health care, with vitamins, green tea and meditation among her daily routine.

Moms busy working from home and helping kids with online schooling, are creatively working time for themselves into new schedules. Many moms report that they are starting or re-dedicating themselves to an exercise routine. Amy Bjorkli of Phoenix sets up her three kids in the morning then takes a bike ride for 30 to 45 minutes. Later in the day, when they’re busy with classwork, she’ll fit in another workout with free weights or floor exercises.

Exercise also is one way moms are catching up on quality time with spouses, including biking, running, or even in-home video routines. Others say they have been looking online for new things to do together, taking advantage of the wealth of “how to” videos on Youtube. Among the new “hubby hobbies” mentioned are art classes and gardening.

COVID-19 home time has brought some moms new perspective on hectic pre-lockdown life. They’ve started good self-care habits that they hope to keep up even after the stay-at-home period. Basoco, a registered nurse, said she has learned more than just how to Bollywood dance during this time — she has gained insight into new ways of being, long term.

“Before this, I was mostly concerned with my work and the kids. I really didn’t focus on myself much,” she said. “But this has kind of opened my eyes to the need to take time for myself now. I want to have a healthier lifestyle going forward, keeping myself mentally and physically fit,” she said.

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