• Jonathan Shiek

Housewife In Lockdown: How I Took Care Of My Mental Health

The first two and a half months of 2020 was pure bliss for me. Finally my two kids are off to school, and I get about 5 hours all to myself every weekday. I went for walks in the morning, breathing in the crisp morning air with no masks getting in the way. I had breakfast wherever and with whomever I fancied. I even found the quiet times I had at home refreshing.

Then the whole world went into lockdown, and all of these small pleasures I was just beginning to know were taken away from me. I know I had a lot to be thankful for, and the freedom I lost was insignificant compared to what so many others faced. At first I brushed it aside, and I adapted and soldiered on without missing a beat. I am now a housewife who is at home 24 hours a day. I should be on top of my to do list, my children should be on top of their schoolwork, my family and my home should be on point. Except it wasn’t.

Credit: Dear HR Guru

I found myself feeling trapped within the four walls of home, but I’m told I should be thankful I still have a place to call home. My kids get too loud sometimes, but I’m told I should be thankful I did have kids. My husband started spending longer and longer hours working from home, but I was told I should be thankful he still had a job. Without realizing it I was feeling more and more negative and I couldn’t say it out loud. 

It showed up instead in my ability to perform my chores. I stopped cooking and started ordering in a lot, the house was a mess, the kids’ homework started piling up. I felt so tired everyday when I barely did nothing, and the guilt of it made me feel worse.

But it didn’t register until someone really close to me had to seek medical help for their mental health. At first I was supportive, doing everything I could to make myself available to them. But then that got tiring too. And I realized, I can’t keep giving everything to everyone else and not acknowledge my own feelings and needs.

I will be frank, I am a woman and my mental well-being is greatly influenced by the hormones produced by my body. That was the first and most important realization I had. So I planned my entire month based on my menstrual cycle. In a way, I give myself a whole week of break each month because PMS could easily mean lethargy, moodiness or even plain laziness.

check on us stay at home moms. we are not okay! 😩😭 — The Nutral Mom (@Nay_UmmEsa) February 2, 2021

“Dieting” is also non-existent during the week leading up to my menses. Eating or not eating, the number on the scale will go up due to bloating, so why should I punish myself? It was so liberating to finally understand this and stop worrying about my weight fluctuating.

Next, I looked at all of the activities I used to love doing but is no longer possible due to Covid-19. I made do by walking, sometimes even jogging, around my living room. My husband used to give me weird looks, but why should I feel shy around him anyways? At first I just challenged myself to meet my daily steps target even at home, but now if I don’t get up and walk around every few hours my whole body starts feeling stiff.

During the times when my kids need me least, usually after lunch, I’d lock myself in my bedroom and scroll endlessly on social media or even just nap. They are at the age where they can manage themselves for a few hours, like getting a drink or going to the toilet alone. I found that trusting them to do small tasks themselves gave them so much confidence and pride.

At the end of the day, get to know yourself and give yourself what you need. It changes every day, and so should your plans on how to tackle your day. Only you know when it is appropriate to give yourself a break, and when to push yourself harder. Despite the negativity surrounding this pandemic, I feel like I have learned one of the most important lessons of my life, that is self-awareness. I am far from perfect, but I’m okay with that.


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