Self Care in Shelter in Place

As a mom in this pandemic season, there is a lot to manage on a day to day basis on top of all of that I am moving forward to create. Self care is vital during this time because I am pouring into not only my family. I am pouring into my church community and this online community. So I have to take intentional time to take care of myself and “fill my cup” if you will.

Before I share how I take care of myself, I wanted to share the definition of self care with the help of my amazing friend, Kyla from Discovering Mabuhay. This busy mom of one is working from home while still managing to keep her toddler entertained. I admire her strength and creativity as she navigates this pandemic.

I asked Kyla to share what she’s been doing this season as we shelter in place. I love how open and honest she is!

  • What is self care?
    Self care is taking care of your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual needs. 
  • How are you taking care of yourself during this shelter in place season?
    When I’m ‘on top of my game’:
    • Physical – 1 minute of deep breathing, 10 minute dance party with my toddler, taking a walk; 
    • Mental – mindfulness, taking a break from work, watching a mindless comedy; taking in moments of Zen, recognizing nature;
    • Emotional – speaking to yourself lovingly, quality family time playing a game;
    • Spiritual (how I connect with Spirit/God; or reach toward my Higher Self) – prayer, meditation, listing what I’m grateful for
  • What are your tips for those of us who are starting to feel stir crazy/cabin fever?
    • Remember that we may not all be in the same boat, but we are in the same storm. Give yourself grace if you are having a hard time.
    • Schedule your frustration/fear, don’t fight it. Give yourself 15 minutes to freak out. Then let it move you in a productive direction.
    • Carve out time to connect with nature. For me, sometimes that just means sitting on my front porch with my son for and notice how the leaves of our tree move in the wind for 10 minutes  
    • Find the humor where you can. Laugh at yourself when you can. Don’t poke fun at your quarantine partners, unless you have that sort of relationship!
    • Find gratitude where you can. Every day is transformative. My husband and I gather almost daily to list what we’re thankful for with our 2 year old. It’s never to early to instill these practices!
  • What is your favorite routine/thing to do for yourself?
    (Honestly still figuring this out!)
    • At the moment, my weekly hour to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. (I think drag queens are restoring joy during a tough time!)
    • Participating in virtual Happy Hours with friends is huge for me, too. This helps me realize how many other people are experiencing very similar feelings

Address it now

I want to be honest just like Kyla and say that sometimes I forget to take care of myself. When I do take time for myself, I do simple things that I know help my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. I decided at the beginning of this pandemic season, that I wouldn’t numb my emotions with excessive shopping, alcohol, drugs, or anything that helps me get an instant relief without really getting to the root of that emotion. It hasn’t been an easy few months but I know that I’m helping myself in the long run. If I don’t address the feeling now, I will eventually feel a heaviness in my mental space and probably a new symptom in my body.

My favorite self care tips and tricks

I have a handful of things I do for myself and I want to share them with you just in case you are struggling with how to take care of yourself during this season. Know that everyone has different ways of taking care of themselves so if yours looks different from mine – that’s ok. God made us unique so we will all “fill our cup” in different ways.

  • Physically
    • Quick 10-15 minute yoga stretches
      • It seems like my shoulders and back are very tense during this season. So I have learned different ways of relieving the tension.
    • Belly breathing
      • I have always been a shallow breather. So I’m still learning how to take deep breathes and really focus on expanding my lungs as much as I can.
    • Naps
      • Sometimes a nap is the answer to so many of my needs. So I take them – unapologetically.
  • Mentally
    • Remembering feelings aren’t facts
      • I am going to write an entire post about this! Your feelings are subjective to your personal experiences and can be different from others. So knowing that feels are facts helps differentiate what is real and what is an emotional response.
    • I am doing the best I can.
      • I have created an enormous amount of expectations on myself in the past and sometimes those expectations creep back in. So I continue to remind myself that I am doing the best I can in this current situation.
  • Emotionally
    • I feel my feelings.
      • In order to understand what is going on with me, I have to identify what the feelings is. Once I am able to name it, I can then tackle it in a constructive way.
    • I ask for help.
      • This is a big one! I never used to ask for help because of my ego and pride. Now I ask for help all the time! This has allowed me to provide others the opportunity to use their talents to help me move through my feelings and process.
    • I find truth in my emotions.
      • Our emotions lie to us! They take past experiences to define current events. Most of the time we are reacting instead of responding. Yes I will write a post about this too. Once I know why I feel an emotion, I search for the facts and evidence that is real in the current situation.
    • I ask for hugs.
      • Yes we cannot receive hugs from people outside of our homes but we can ask for hugs from those inside our homes right now. Hugs helps me tremendously when I am an emotional wreck. So I ask for hugs often in my house. You can read about the scientific evidence that goes along with the benefits of hugs.
  • Spiritually
    • Start my day off with a daily devotion
      • Our church is doing daily video devotionals right now. I’d love for you to join me first thing in the morning! It helps me get my mind in the right place when I listen to God’s word.
    • Reach out for support from our church
      • Asking for others to pray for you or even if you need a helping hand builds a community of like minded people around you. I check in with church friends and they do the same for me. It helps me know I am not alone even when I feel like it.
    • Listen to worship music
      • Sometimes I go for a drive, crank up my praise and workship playlist and remember that today is a blessing even in pandemic season. Music can heal the soul. So I listen to worship music daily.
      • Here is my praise and worship playlist.

What are your favorite ways to fill your cup? I’d love to hear it! Please comment below on your favorite tips and tricks.

And remember – it’s ok to not be ok! Tomorrow is a new day.

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Why: Strength training

Never in my entire life would I have thought that I would say, “I like going to the gym.” Guys, I do. I really do and it’s not because of the most obvious reason. If we’ve never met IRL, you would be surprised how vertically challenged I am. All 4 feet, 11 inches of me. At the gym, I feel even smaller around all the meat heads and testosterone. Imagine little me at the free weights station, attempting to deadlift. The bar is longer than I am tall and the weights on each end are wider than my torso. I truly don’t look like I belong there but I do it anyways. 

At the beginning of my self care/self love journey, my therapist would tell me to workout at least three days a week to help with my mental health. I used to laugh at what she would say. Three years later and I am now consistently getting to the gym twice a week to at most four days a week. What has changed? Strength training. 

Strength training

Weight training – or strength training – is truly why I continue to go to the gym today. Strength training has allowed me to challenge my mind in what I ‘believe’ I am able to do. For example, the plate loaded barbell is forty five pounds on its own. ON ITS OWN. When I first started to attempt to bench press, I could barely – like shaking arms barely – push that sucker above my head. Today, I am able to bench press a full three sets without breaking a sweat. How? I kept at it every week until one day, I decide to put five pounds – 2.5 pound plates – on the bar. For me it was a momentous occasion because I did what seemed impossible. *insert happy dance here*

Once I started to see results in my increased weights on the machines and in the free weight station, I began to challenge my mind even more. I would purposefully add a little more weight each time I went to the gym. From there, I began to try a different strength training machine each time I went to the gym. I gained so much confidence that I would put my headphones on, play some 90’s hip hop, and move through each station as quickly as I could. At the end of my workout, I would do some yoga to 90’s R&B and wait for my husband to finish his workout.

Gym dates are the best dates

The main supporter at the gym is my husband. I expressed to him that I wanted to attempt to use the strength training machines and possibly the free weights but I was intimidated because everything looks complicated and honestly, I didn’t want guys to be staring at my butt while I worked out. It actually brought a lot of anxiety for me to attempt any machine or station. So my sweet husband would help walk me through each machine as well as how to use the free weights station properly. 

Three months later, I am confident in my abilities enough to move through the machines without his help and only ask for him to spot me in the free weights station. This is huge for me! If you were to imagine little ol’ me in the free weights station deadlifting 95 pounds while surrounded by muscular men who deadlift 300+ pounds, it is a sight to see. My husband is usually close by – or at the station next to me deadlifting 200+ pounds – just in case I need a spotter.

These evenings spent together have become our favorite times together because we are able to get in some exercise, encourage each other during our workout and also talk through our day. We have dubbed them our “gym dates”. What we also love about “gym dates” is that they are free since we already pay for the membership monthly. So all we need to do is show up and be each others’ cheerleaders. We have been doing this since we’ve started at the gym and I can honestly say that it has helped us reconnect in a way that I could have never imagined. I am so thankful for this time because we are both so busy and carving out time for each other is so important. 

How to start strength training

If this post has peaked your interest in attempting to strength train, here is what I suggest:

  • Utilize the new member orientation
    • There is a reason it is included in your membership. Take advantage of it!
    • Orientation usually include some of the following:
      • A health assessment
      • Body fat analysis
      • Instructions on how to use basic strength training machines
      • Help in choosing exercises, reps, and sets
      • How to use different cardio machines
      • Heart rate and intensity information
      • General workout guidance
  • Go with a friend
    • This is great for accountability and encouragement.
  • Try the group classes and find the one that works for you
    • When I first started at the gym, I used the treadmill and elliptical machine only. I became bored really quickly. I knew that I needed more in order to keep coming.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the gym staff for help
    • I have seen many patrons ask a staff member to spot them. 
    • I have also seen staff members take the time to explain how to use a machine properly.
  • Keep coming back
    • In the beginning, it will seem really intimidating but over time you will become comfortable with the environment and “zone” everyone out. 

Mind over matter

The biggest change with adding strength training to my self care routine and the encouragement of my husband was my mindset. I began to believe that I could do ‘impossible’ things. On rough days, going to the gym was an outlet to release my stress. It also challenged my negative self talk and inner critic because there was nothing for those statements to stand on if I could prove them wrong.

This mindset has overflowed into other parts of my life. I have more courage to try new things and take small steps to reach a goal. There is more evidence of success than failure. So I keep adding on weights, I keep challenging myself to do new things, and I keep moving forward. 

What is your favorite workout at the gym? Comment below!

If I haven’t done it, I’d love to try. 


Doing it all

I have been asked how I manage to ‘do it all’ with of my all the current responsibilities – required and volunteered. In addition to managing a large family and their daily lives, I also volunteer in multiple ministries at church; work part time remotely for a software consulting company; run a blog utilizing multiple social media platforms; enrolled in a 6 month certification program (and graduated as of April 2020); launching multiple project/business ventures at the beginning of the year; dating my husband; hangout with friends; and all the while making my self care a priority. 

WHAT!?! Yea when I list all the things I have my hands in, its overwhelming to see.

Do you have the same 24 hours in a day that I do? ABSOLUTELY.

Here’s the biggest secret – I DO NOT DO IT ALL. Over the past year, I have had to create an environment for myself to work towards a life I want to live. This new lifestyle isn’t perfect. I still need to tweak things but overall I feel like I am living more authentically now than ever. Yes, I am going to share how I’ve done that. It’s not complicated, expensive, or unattainable. It’s not even really an exact formula.

Here is how I’ve created “more time”:

  • I have voiced my aspirations, goals, and dreams to my family.
  • I have limited my time on screens for entertainment purposes.
  • I hold space for myself to rest.
  • I give myself grace when things don’t go my way.

I will expand on these bullet points in hopes it given you ideas of how to prioritize your time even more. Again, I am no expert on time management but I want you to know that there is time for you to do what you dream about. You are capable and equip with everything you need to create the life you desire. 

Be intentional

In order to “make time” for the goals I want to attain, I needed to be more intentional with my time. For me that means limiting my time on social media, watching tv, and falling down the rabbit hole that is YouTube. I realized once I decided that I wanted to start my blog that I needed to prioritize time for creating content, learning how to scale my blog and engagement. It hasn’t been easy. There have been many late nights as well as short spurts of time that I intentionally use to benefit all that I am attempting to accomplish in one given day. 

Fo example, as I edit this post, I am sitting on the floor in the Phoenix Convention Center while my oldest walks through the college fair asking all the questions she wants. I’m here as moral support even if she doesn’t need me to walk around with her. She has vocalized that she would like me here but would like to walk to fair alone. So I brought my laptop and charger with me to utlize my time while allowing her the time she needs. I brought a charger for my phone so the toddler can watch his favorite shows if he become extremely irritable – which is often – and snacks because everyone – except me – gets hangary. Yes, I know it sounds crazy but it works.

Cut myself some slack

Creating an intentional life takes time and a lot of work – physically, emotionally, and mentally. I am learning new concepts and beliefs. Which in turn means that I must let go of old concepts and belief systems that no longer benefit me. This is no easy feat. In fact its probably the hardest part of this journey. I must allow myself the time to let go of concepts, expectations, and beliefs I have about myself. These belief systems have been an integral part of how I have succeeded and failed in life. It takes time to change. I’ve accepted this transformation will probably take the rest of my life and that is OK. Moving forward is better than staying stagnant and unhappy. 

I have also allowed myself time to rest and reset. Yes that means naps and breaks from creating content, doing homework, and replying to emails for work. This is a marathon not a race! So I must be realistic with my mental and physical capabilities. If I am exhausted, I am not able to adequately write social media posts and blog post. I won’t have the energy to attend networking events and coaching sessions. Rest is essential. I have learned to listen to my body to take breaks and be ok with being still. 

Letting go of mom guilt

When I first pitched the idea of a blog to my immediate and extended family, I was nervous about their belief in my abilities and fear of judgement. Little did I know that my family was extremely supportive of anything and everything I aspired to do. I am very blessed in that sense because there are others who are not so lucky. Once I knew I had their support, I had to voice my concerns on what I needed to succeed. You see, my mom guilt is a very prevalent feeling I have at all times. I had to let go of that guilt and listen to the true statements my family was saying. 

“I believe in you.”

“Go for it.”

“I will support you.”

Once I believed in factual statements instead of mom guilt, I was able to inch towards my goals. It hasn’t been easy letting go of the guilt. It’s a daily practice but I am getting better at it. One of my teens recently expressed that I exude more self confidence lately. I asked her to tell me what she sees and she says I seem more “sure of myself”. It was nice to hear – especially from a teenager, my teenager – that I am externalizing the confidence I have in myself.

Here is the affirmation I have given myself when I have extreme mom guilt is:

I am a great mom and I can…

  • be a successful business owner.
  • a devoted wife.
  • a flawed Christ follower.
  • make mistakes.
  • encourage others as a Mindset Coach.
  • create a safe space for other’s to heal from generational trauma.
  • be a mental health advocate.
  • serve my community.
  • help other moms find their worth outside of motherhood.
  • live my life, unapologetically.

Moving forward with grace

As with any change, there will be uncomfortable transitional periods. I am constantly reminding myself that it’s ok for things not to be perfect and that there is no expectation but to try. The house will be ok even if it’s not as tidy as it usually is. Those important to me understand that my attention is occupied for only a period of time. Most importantly, I am capable of all I would like to accomplish. Extending grace to myself is not easy but I know it’s necessary in order to move forward with change.

Small steps forward

My biggest secret to getting to where I am today, taking small courageous steps forward. YES! It may sound simple but it is absolutely true. I didn’t get here today by sure luck, I have worked tirelessly on days and evenings when I didn’t feel like it would matter. What I’ve learned is every small step forward matters. Each of those steps have brought me to the next incredible opportunity and the next lead for a client. It all matters!

Give yourself permission

I would love for you to dream big.

Nope. BIGGER!

Your dreams, aspirations, goals, and life purpose do not have an expiration date. Let me say that again.

Your dreams, aspirations, goals, and life purpose do not have an expiration date.

I want to offer you permission to move closer to your life purpose.

If you had all the time, money, and resources in the world:

  • What would you be doing right now?
  • How would you accomplish it?
  • What small step can you do today to move closer to that?

You will find a permission slip graphic to the right. Click on it. Download it, type/write down what you give yourself permission to do, and tag me on all social media platforms – @thefilipinomom.