There is no denying that 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. We are all juggling multiple roles and responsibilities. Let's all take a collective deep breath and remind ourselves that we are all doing the absolute best that we can during this unprecedented time. During these times of uncertainty, the need to care for our health—all aspects of it—is of the utmost importance.

Whether you are a foster parent, a relative caregiver, or a caseworker, life has certainly changed in 2020. You have had to adjust to working from home, meeting or connecting with others virtually, navigating telehealth appointments, and practicing social distancing (but staying connected), to name a few examples. Taking care of yourself has been and will always be a significant priority. Self-care is not only for your wellbeing; it is for the wellbeing of the child you're caring for and everyone in your household. Following are some ideas for daily self-care strategies.

Rest, Refresh, and Recharge 
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 45% of Americans aren't getting enough sleep. Our bodies and minds need to rest and refresh. Following a consistent sleep time and routine is beneficial for you and everyone in your family. Downloadable sleep apps such as Sleep Cycle and Relax Melodies, as well as others, could be helpful to explore and consider.

Emotional Health Matters
Discover and do things that fill your emotional bucket and bring you joy and happiness. Maybe it is reading a book, listening to relaxing music, or perhaps journaling or expressing yourself with your artistic talents! Playing board games or video games together as a family can be both fun and competitive. Watching a family-friendly movie with popcorn or your favorite snack at the ready. And don't forget to laugh, not just giggles, but full-on belly laughs. Times are challenging, but seek out joy and laughter.

Keeping Connections 
We all know the importance of maintaining social distance from those who are outside of our family "bubbles." But social distancing does not mean you have to isolate yourself from family and friends socially. Your social connections may look different from what they did back in 2019, but you can maintain relationships through Zoom calls or connect through social media platforms. Instead of texting, consider using your phone to call a loved one or a close friend. You might even consider writing a letter or sending a "thinking about you" card. There are many ways to maintain connections in today's world while remaining as healthy and safe as we possibly can.   

Consider packing your toolbox with a variety of self-care strategies. Be thoughtful and considerate of yourself. Be gentle, kind, and caring as you are with others. It is the best gift you can give yourself and the children and youth in your care.