Take your Power Back through Self-Love (Pandemic Edition)

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh


Yesterday, I completely lost it. I told Neil to practice his math, and once again, his whining started.  At first, I tried to ignore it, and continued working on my website design. But after I said it like 5 times, I realized he is taking advantage of the fact that I am busy with my own work, and I’m not really paying attention to him.

I got so upset and yelled at him a bit (ok, stop judging me – let’s be honest we all have done that especially during this quarantine)

And then I was forced to put my laptop aside and start working on multiplication with him. We were both at our wits end, so obviously we struggled through it. He couldn’t do even the simplest calculation, and I kept complaining that he has forgotten everything and is getting dumber by the day.
(note to self: topic for another blog post; note to self 2: find the damn time to write the blog!)
(Sidenote: Neil has a knack for math, and his teachers always point out that he has outstanding math skills)So, this pandemic has been a roller coaster where my days look like this:

  • Worry that he will forget everything and force him to study
  • Let him do whatever because I am frustrated.

And repeat.

Let’s be clear – nothing could have prepared us for what we are all going through right now.

We can’t really turn to our parents or grandparents for advice.
We can ask the experts, but even they are experiencing it for the first time. Yes, they have probably read about the effects of Spanish Flu pandemic, but that was 100 years ago, and times have changed (for instance, blogging did not exist then). So we are left to our own devices and learn from each other’s experiences.

As we try to work from home – being the mother/parent, the teacher, the chef, the entertainer and much more (all from within the confines of our home), we are at our most vulnerable.

We walked into this pandemic as a welcome break from work, school, everyday chores (as a mini vacation) thinking it is short-lived. However, as the months have passed, tension has been building up, frustration reaching new heights, tears spilling, and we still don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, for that matter, we don’t even know how long the tunnel is.

And it is in testing times like this, we need to embrace self-love even more. I tried to search online about self-love during pandemic, and all I found was self-care tips (people always confuse the two). So, I’m not gonna share the self-care tips here (you can google them).

What we really need is to be kind to ourselves and practice self-compassion by validating our fears, concerns, and frustrations.

So, here is what I have been doing to juggle between self-love and mamma guilt during this pandemic. Now, I am no expert, but I have to find some excuse to not be that perfect #IGMom, right?
(hoping some of these tips will help you too)

Notice how you talk to yourself
When something goes wrong, and your monkey mind goes off on you:

  • You are not enough
  • You can never do anything in life….

Just stop and ask yourself, “Would you talk to your child that way?” (if you would, it warrants a different discussion)
It’s a pandemic; things will not go the way you planned, and you are not alone in it. The whole world is going through this, so the best you can do is be aware of the negative self-talk and flip the script on this damaging behaviour.
Be gentle on yourself, just like you are to your kids, your friends and everyone else around you.
Here is an activity you can do – Replay your self-conversation as if you’re talking to a kid. Would you use those same words? If the answer is no, you need to change the way you talk to yourself (I am not saying it’s easy, but let’s give it a shot).

Adjust your expectations
Don’t base your self-worth on external world.
Social media is filled with images and videos of people learning new skills, cooking extravagant meals, baking, creating crazy tik-tok videos during quarantine, but this is not the right time for social comparison (actually it is never a right time for social comparison… remember..you are you and they are they!).
If you compare yourself to the IG high-heeled everything-under-control mom with perfect makeup, you will never feel worthy of self-love.
Just acknowledge that you have much more on your plate right now, and it is ok if you can’t do everything that you used to do in the pre-pandemic era.

Do What makes you Happy
Self-love means looking internally and doing what truly makes you happy, and if that means crazy tik-tok videos, then go for it.
We are constantly bombarded with fake images of what society thinks happiness should look like, and in all this, we have forgotten what makes us happy. Think about the last time, you forgot to check your watch or your phone and do that.
It could be reading your favourite book, going out for a walk or run, watching a movie, catching up with friends (virtually of course), cooking an extravagant meal, or taking a bubble bath, just about anything which gives YOU happiness.
For me, it means hiking in the beautiful Canadian Rockies.

Forgive yourself
I can’t even remember how many times we ate popcorn for dinner or how many hours my son has spent on iPad in the last 5 months. Trust me, the mom guilt was so real and as a result, I yelled at him and then later beat myself for it.
Can we just learn to forgive ourselves and stop that inner voice? You know the one that says you should be more organized, more put together, a better parent, blah blah blah…
So what if you made a mistake? We all make mistakes; we are human. Making mistakes is part of the deal.
Remember, you are FLAWSOME, and what better time to embrace those imperfections than a pandemic.

Adopt the Attitude of Gratitude
Ok, you woke up, you showered, your kids are still alive (just kidding). On a serious note, let’s just be grateful for life.
While I have talked to so many people who constantly complain about the pandemic and staying at home, I have also talked to many who have learnt the attitude of gratitude for all the small things they took for granted.
If this pandemic teaches you one thing, let that be gratitude.  Be grateful that you have the gift of health. Be grateful that you have a job. Be grateful that you have food on the table. Be grateful that your family is with you. Be grateful that you have a home (that you are ‘stuck in’ or ‘safe in’ right now).
Change your language to change your mindset.

  • I am safe at home NOT I am stuck at home
  • I get to spend time with my kids NOT I have to homeschool my kids
  • I am grateful that I have a job NOT I can’t work from home with my kids around
  • I am grateful that I have a house NOT Oh god, my kids made a mess again (this is the toughest one for me)
  • I am grateful that we have food NOT My food pics are not Insta worthy

All I am saying is while we try to juggle what life has thrown at us, let’s take the time to be gentle to ourselves and love ourselves because when I love myself, I am able to love you. And together, we can all get through this.

I would love to hear what you are doing to embrace self-love during this pandemic. Maybe your story/comment can inspire and lift somebody who needs that nudge. Let’s do this together. Feel free to share on IG and tag @sunny_lamba.

Love and Sunshine always!

Take your Power Back through Self-Love (Pandemic Edition)