The last few weeks have thrown us all for a loop, and it’s safe to say we’re all still trying to dig around in search of a new routine while we try our best to manage the days. Of course, this has affected everyone differently, and parents have especially been put in challenging positions with school closures and lost childcare.
While life looks a little different now, so might our days. And what we’re leaning on to get through this time is likely not the same as it was before. Here, our editors are chiming in on what’s bringing a little relief during this period as we all try to navigate our new normal.
I bought these leggings on a whim more than five years ago, and they’ve since become one of my favorite purchases ever. They’ve held up so well through the countless number of times they’ve been washed and are still so soft and comfortable. I throw them on multiple times per week now!
This is one of my more random purchases in recent history, but I’m telling you, you need this little ice roller as part of your self-care routine—especially now. I use this a few times per week to roll over my always-puffy eyes, and it feels so calming and soothing. Plus, if you’re prone to headaches like me, I’ve found this tool to be really helpful with relieving sinus pressure, tension headaches, and mild migraines.
I wasn’t into the idea of only doing at-home workouts but gave in and bought a Peloton bike a few months after my daughter was born. Getting to the gym was way harder than I thought it would be, and now since going to a gym isn’t even an option, I am so grateful to have this piece of equipment in our living room. I use the bike 3-4 times a week and also have been doing 10- or 20 minute yoga sessions to recharge.
Listening to music totally brightens the mood in my house. It can be exhausting trying to entertain a 10-month old all day every day, and music really helps. And since she can’t really voice her opinion yet, we aren’t restricted to Disney music (though we do listen to that occasionally). We switch up the music throughout the day, relaxing wake up music in the morning, pop in the afternoons, sometimes we’ll listen to a whole Broadway musical. If you’re feeling a little blah, add music to your day!
I’ve always been a bookworm, and even though it feels like I have less time to read than ever (hello, working at home with two kids), I always sneak in at least a few minutes before bed. If there was ever a time to be transported to a different world through a good book, this is it.
My best friend gave this to me as a gift after I had baby #2, and I swear, it is the gift that keeps on giving. First of all, what mom doesn’t need all the coffee in the world? Secondly, knowing I get to enjoy a fresh, hot latte from the comfort of my bed makes waking up for those early morning breastfeeding sessions just a little bit easier. Not to mention all the money I’ve saved on skipping the $5 coffeeshop lattes. Truly, it tastes even better when it’s free—well, minus the cost of the Keurig.
I've downloaded more kids' apps in the last month than ever before. And not only that, but I've gone ahead and signed up for all of the subscriptions these apps require without hesitation. We've always relied heavily on Epic! for kids' e-books, read aloud, and audiobooks, but in addition to that subscription, we've tacked on many others: Marco Polo WorldSchool, Montessori Preschool, Curious World, and yes, even The World of Peppa Pig. Every little ding of my Apple Pay is worth the minutes of silent work time I get in exchange.
During the month at home, my oldest son and I started getting through some 'Harry Potter' books together. When he and his brother started incorporating the world of Hogwarts into their play, I picked these up on whim to expand their block play, and they've been a total hit. (They are die-cast and solid metal, so not a good idea for kids who throw!)
My skin has been a hormonal mess for the last year, and it's taken a lot of trial and error to get it to the point of finally beginning to calm down. I used to enjoy putting on a mask or doing some skincare after the kids went to bed, but now, I'm way too tired to do anything by that time. Instead, I try to get a mask on when the kids are in the bath and then wash it off while they brush their teeth—this one goes on and dries clear, so it doesn't startle them when I peek into their bathroom to check on them (though, sometimes, I put on the charcoal clay mask specifically for that purpose).
These joggers are my go-to pant these days. I own three pairs because I wear them literally every day. They are so comfortable, not at all see-through, and look pretty nice if paired w/ a nicer top or jacket. They fit more like a legging than a jogger so don’t let the name fool you. I have no problems going out in public wearing these. They’re fitted without being yoga-legging-skintight, if you know what I mean. And the price is right!
Do these do anything? I’m going to be totally honest and say that I have no idea. But when I put them on, I feel like I’m ready to work for the day and leave behind the 'Desperate Housewives,' spinach dip, and online window shopping that’s calling my name. I struggle with any glasses that have the nose tips because they give me headaches (why can’t I be normal), and I haven’t experienced that at all with these. They’re comfortable and stylish AF.
This favorite is two-fold because it’s both the book and the service. I had seen ad after ad for Audible but never thought that much about it because I prefer OverDrive from my public library. But I got three months free the last time I was at the Amazon Bookstore (oh, how much I can’t wait to frequent you again), and now I’m hooked. This is the most recent book I’ve been listening to, and I am obsessed. I wouldn’t recommend popping this on without headphones with little vulnerable ears around, but when you’re winding down at night in bed, it’s perfect. The story is easy to follow and so captivating.
I got ulta-excited to write this blurb for a few reasons. For starters, I’ve talked about this product endlessly on The Everygirl, and I have a feeling readers, my coworkers, and my friends alike are a little sick of me talking about it. And this is a whole new world! But I’m also excited because if I convince one mama to buy this magical cream, I’ll have done my duty as a beauty lover. Weleda Skin Food is a thick cream moisturizer—it’s rich, hydrating, and truly other-worldly. I should forewarn you that this scent is not particularly pleasant, but the effect it leaves on my dry skin (which is even drier from both not leaving my house and using every exfoliator and retinol in hopes of coming back to work with Benjamin Button 5-year-old skin) is worth it. It’s less than $15 on Amazon, and it’s the only skincare product I could wax poetic about article after article.
I’m a Starbucks addict in recovery during self-isolation. I’ve been using our Nespresso again for my coffee fix and have been working on my barista skills to make the perfect latte with steamed milk and just the right amount of vanilla.
I hope I don’t get hate mail for saying this, but I’ve been exercising more in self-isolation than I have since I became a mom—seven years ago. Sure, sometimes my 4-year-old shows up on my yoga mat during downward facing dog, but compared to when I used to be proud of myself if I snuck in one workout a week, I’m now up to three or four at-home workouts a week. My favorites are Obe Fitness, Studio Barre, and my old dance aerobics instructor’s Facebook Live classes. Since they say it takes 66 days to make a habit, I hope I keep up the exercise after we can leave the house again. (Try code TEGSPRING for a free month of classes on Obe!)
My daughters love to color, and I’m so grateful to have a printer, paper, and giant crayon box to entertain them for a decent amount of time. Rather than using coloring books, they like to google whatever is in their imagination and we can usually find a free coloring page to match their request or copy and paste a few together in Google Slides (i.e. “dolphin family with mermaid”).
Two of my favorite Trader Joe’s items. Tribunal is a TJ’s exclusive red blend under $10 and delicious. Hold the Cones are mini ice cream cones dipped in chocolate. I’ve been rationing both since you can currently only buy two of one item at a time from Trader Joe’s, so they are a special treat.
I am in my third trimester, so nothing fits and I don’t really have to get dressed these days, but I needed something to wear. I happened to find these pants while they were on sale and ordered a pair. One week later, I found myself ordering a second pair because I needed a backup for when my first pair was in the wash. They’re buttery soft, comfortable, and great for working out but also cute enough to wear with a sweater or shirt.
Taking control of the state of my home (and cleaning) is how I cope with stress. I just organized our living room play area and ordered these bins and a label maker for the basement. Taking on a small project each day, even if it’s just cleaning the floors or wiping down the shelves in my closet, feels so good. I’m also working on our baby’s nursery and finishing up our bedroom. Tackling the projects that have been on my list for forever has given me something to focus on, and it’s made our home feel a lot better too.
After the first 10 days of cooking all of our meals, I started to get really bored of cooking three meals a day for everyone and cleaning it all up. In order to make the task more enjoyable, I have been trying a ton of new recipes and the majority have come from Tieghan’s book. So far, I have made something from almost every chapter. Great way to try something new!
Can you tell I am a connoisseur of loungewear? I jest, but truly, I am. I love to be cozy. I do not understand why one would wish to be uncomfortable when they could be comfortable! This sweatshirt is oversized in all of the right ways while still looking cute and being “front tuck” compatible for real pants when I leave my house again in the future.
Our family has always loved going for big runs with our beloved Thule Jogging Stroller and hikes around our local lakes and state parks (highly suggest this hiking backpack for babies and toddlers). We have been trying to get outside as much as the weather allows and having time to really slow down and enjoy this together will be something I really miss when this is over. We have been “collecting” things like rocks, shells, and pieces of wood that we take home and thoroughly clean and use for art projects after our adventures.
Gardening has long been a favorite hobby of mine. This year, I decided to get serious and try some new things since I had some time to plan. I ordered several books on square foot gardening and sectioned out my raised beds using garden wire. I ordered some great and hard-to-find heirloom seeds and some beautiful dinnerplate Dahlia bulbs. I will be growing vegetables from seeds and planting an entire cutting garden bed, both of which are new projects to me this year!
Giving myself something to look forward to every day has really helped me to stay positive and excited about each day. Since cooking is something that calms me and is something that I truly enjoy doing, I like to plan out dinners to cook for my family. I’ve been trying new recipes that I have either found online or in one of my MANY cookbooks. I like to put on one of my favorite playlists and drink some wine while I’m cooking. It is the perfect way to end the day.
I used to rely heavily on my workout classes and daily walks to work to get my body moving. Without either of those, I’ve been trying out different at-home workouts online. I like to do these first thing in the morning before I start work to set the tone for my day. Lately, I’ve found that doing a few 5-minute workouts and keeping my body moving throughout the day has helped me to stay more productive and alert while I’m working. I like to lay my yoga mat out near my desk and just hop on it when I need a little pick-me-up.
I’ve loved finally having the time to read some of the books I’ve been wanting to get to for awhile now. I’m a huge fan of life improvement and mood-boosting books. Currently, I’m reading 'Daring Greatly' by Brene Brown, which I am really loving. I’m also excited to watch Brene’s documentary on Netflix. Next up on my list is Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein!
You already know doing some self-care has been helping me get through this time! I treated myself to the Necessaire Body Essential package which includes a body wash, body scrub, and lotion. Let me tell you that adding these products into my shower routine has been a game changer for me. I got them in their eucalyptus scent which I love to help wake me up in the mornings!
When my emotions are running high and the pressures of working and schooling from home feel heavy on my shoulders, 2nd Story is coming to my rescue. This Chicago-based arts organization releases a new set of questions each week to keep families connected and talking during mealtimes. These prompts are an imaginative, whimsical, and pretty funny way to unlock conversation when asking “How was school today?” is no longer an option. My favorite thus far has been this one: what two animals would you combine if you had a magic wand? This dinnertime series is called “How is Your Heart?” and it has lightened up meal times considerably.
My kindergartner and I are breezing through books at an alarming rate. Since school closures took effect, we have accompanied Mr. Fox in his adventures to outwit the bumbling farmers of "Fantastic Mr. Fox." We have battled alongside Princess Magnolia in her quest to defeat goat-eating monsters in the series "Princess in Black." And we’ve dived deep into the eerie multi-verse of the Amulet graphic novels. Of course, all of our adventuring is only made possible through local bookstore deliveries (God bless them). When our to-read pile thins out, we visit our favorite shops online and place an order. Days later, we find a fresh stack of books at our door. I like to think of it as a part-bonding, part-learning, and part-local-economy-boosting enterprise.
All the yoga, books, cute loungewear, and creative connections would be meaningless to me without access to regular therapy sessions. I am only surviving this moment because I am continuing appointments with my longtime therapist via secure video chat. I feel like this is important to say again and again: there’s no shame in asking for help, and right now, doing so is more than warranted.