AAC Women's Blog

I Still Shave Every Day: Tips for being kind to yourself on lock-down

This article was originally posted March 24th on Becky's blog.  To read more from Becky, click here.

Three days. That’s how long I’d been wearing the same sweatshirt. Of course I changed the tee underneath, I mean, I’m not a total grub—yet. But. I might be in the danger zone.

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If many of you, like me, are finding yourselves locked down at home with nowhere to go and no one to see*—which means nobody is going to see YOU either, except for the kids and the dog and your husband who, let’s face it, saw the worst in you years ago anyway {think childbirth}—then it can become really easy really quick to toss self-care… and self-respect… out the window.

I’m not saying we need to apply full makeup in order to love ourselves. Far from it. Secretly I am loving the chance to wear sweats and recycled ponytails without excuse.

But I am saying there are certain steps we can take to maintain some sort of normalcy in which our hearts and souls are fueled, even if we haven’t left the house in days. Nobody really knows how long this social distancing is going to last. So I’m instilling a few habits—permissions, really—to help me be kind to me for the duration. And I want to encourage you to do the same.

From one housebound mom to another, here are my tips for being kind to yourself on lock-down.

Shave your legs. Or wash your hair. Or paint your nails, or whatever it is you normally do on a mostly daily basis in order to feel lovely. The other day I was standing in the shower, sliding my razor across my pale, haven’t-seen-sun-in-months calves, and a thought popped into my head. Why am I shaving? Nobody’s going to care if I stop.

But I will.

TMI, perhaps, but I have always preferred the feeling of smooth legs, so I’m-a-gonna keep on shaving for ME. No need for a pandemic to change my hygiene habits, doggone-it. Choose that thing that makes you feel normal and give yourself permission to keep on doing it.

Resist the urge to hyper-schedule. Two weeks ago I was running my kids to karate or youth group or drama club practice every single stinking night of the week. I didn’t even realize how much my agenda was running my life—until it all went away in a single edict.

I’m as concerned as anyone about this virus and the risks of it spreading. But I’m also choosing to see it as a blessing—an invitation from God to stop running and to embrace the quiet, this sudden permission to go nowhere and lounge on the couch after dinner with my family watching movies.

Right now social media is flooded with ideas for enrichment activities with the kids, homeschool schedule templates, websites offering free classes and virtual experiences. Don’t drink the crazy juice! Choose a few helpful resources to bless your family but let’s NOT get sucked into thinking we need to hop right back into the madness of overscheduling every minute of the day. Let kids play with toys. Chat over FaceTime with friends. Play kickball in the yard. Let the day unravel naturally—as much as possible within the framework of virtual work and school—and do not feel guilty for resisting the pressure to do all the things. For heaven’s sake, now of all times is the chance to finally break free from that pressure. It’s long overdue.

Find your escape. Thanks to stay-at-home orders across the country, families are all up in each other’s space like never before. My house isn’t that big to begin with, and now we’re all vying for a piece of the square footage in which to work and think and breathe. Or to play indoor basketball, if you’re my ten-year-old. Some days it feels like the walls are shrinking by the minute.

If your nerves need a little space, take it—and don’t feel guilty. Some of us can physically escape to a home office or craft room or closet. Others will have to settle for mental space, but it’s just as healing. Simply find a place to sit and listen to your favorite worship song—with earbuds, cancelling out the rest of the noise around you. Or read a book, meditate on a Psalm, pray. These moments of escape will fill your spirit and equip you to face the crowded household once again.

Watch church. If your church doesn’t have an online live stream or recorded service, find one that does. Last Sunday I tuned into our second online service since the lockdown, and I was stunned by the tears that dripped from my eyes as I watched our pastors and staff welcome us into church via video and then heard our worship team—my friends—lead us in worship, the worship I’m usually a part of in person on a Sunday morning, singing from the stage and looking out on hundreds of precious faces, our congregation, my extended family.

And now we are separated for who knows how long, and I think all the stress and doubt and fear that had been bubbling under the surface this past week—stress I didn’t even realize I’d been harboring—just spilled over and I stood in my office in front of my computer screen crying and praising God in worship. It was so good for my soul—cleansing, healing, edifying, encouraging.

Please, friends. Stay tuned into church. This isolation from people doesn’t need to mean separation from God and fellow believers. Thank God sincerely for the Internet. It has a lot of problems, but right now I’m so grateful it allows us to stay connected.

Finally, give yourself grace. Or, more accurately, receive that grace first from God, and allow it to cover you. Nobody really knows how to live under these circumstances because none of us has done it before. So take each day as it comes, and find something—anything—to be grateful for. Gratitude will keep our eyes focused upward on the Lord, rather than horizontally to the media or other people’s opinions or our own stinking fears.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Blessings to you and your families. I’m praying for you.

Becky

* A quick note to those of you who are NOT locked down at home but actually on the front lines… healthcare workers (God bless you), law enforcement, supply and grocery retail employees, takeout restaurant staff, and so many more—thank you. Thank you a thousand million times. I am praying for you. I am so grateful for you. You are our nation’s heroes in this pandemic and beyond.

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About the Author: Becky Kopitzke

Becky Kopitzke is the author of The SuperMom Myth: Conquering the Dirty Villains of Motherhood and the upcoming Generous Love: Discover the Joy of Living “Others First.” Becky lives in lovely northeast Wisconsin with her husband and their two daughters, where her home office is overrun with bouncy balls and tween craft supplies. For weekly, keeping-it-real encouragement, visit Becky’s blog.

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