Like many people, my husband and I have been at home for the better part of the year. Pre-pandemic, my husband was off to work at 10 a.m. and home by 7 p.m., just in time for dinner and to put our son to bed. Because I work from home, I’m used to having my quiet time and space while he is at work and our son is at preschool. But SURPRISE! March 2020 hits and all of a sudden everyone is home and in my space 24/7.
My husband is a barber, and when barbershops were forced to close down multiple times throughout 2020, it wasn’t really like he could bring his work home with him like many people who switched to a WFH setup. So, what’s a man to do? Apparently, the answer is self-care. My husband taught me a lot about self-care during the pandemic, because I got to see his routine in action for the first time on a regular basis. It wasn’t that he was necessarily doing anything new, but now as I sat typing away on my computer, I was able to witness the pockets of time he carved out for himself each day.
My husband starts each day with about 20 minutes of meditation outside each morning. He lights some incense and sits on our deck and meditates until his alarm goes off.
He loves to cook a big breakfast for himself. I’m someone who tends to live off protein bars and cold brew, and the idea of taking the time to not only cook breakfast but clean up each morning seems foreign to me on weekdays. But he would make a different breakfast each morning, and often I got fed in the process, which was a bonus for me. He would often use the eggs from our chickens and whatever fresh vegetables we had to make a healthy meal to kick off his day.
Whether it was a long walk with the dogs, a solo run or a trip to the park to play basketball, he got outside and moved every single day. I think he would actually go stir-crazy if he didn’t.
I never realized how much time my husband spends stretching and doing yoga until our time in quarantine. He’s a tall man, over 6’5, who works on his feet all day, so this is imperative to his overall physical health. He would do a yoga session outside each day, and then usually a stretching routine inside later that afternoon or before dinner.
OK, so I realize none of these things are reinventing the wheel. In fact, they are all things we should be doing each day. But what I am saying is that witnessing his self-care routine each day as I furiously typed away on my computer made me realize how much better he is at prioritizing it than I am.
Like I said, he does all of these things even when he is working a full day, but he is intentional about carving out pockets of time to make sure it gets done. I am someone who thrives on productivity and uses any spare moment I have to get more, more, more done. But what my husband showed me during quarantine is that it’s possible to be productive and accomplish what you need to do, and still make time for self-care. In fact, I got to see the negative effects it would have on him if he wasn’t able to make time for those activities due to weather, scheduling, etc. It made me realize how integral it is to his daily routine, and that’s something I’ve never thrived on. Working out and meditation are things I do if I miraculously find myself with spare time. Heck, I’m the girl who bought a work bike so I could at least ride a stationary bike while I type on my computer and kill two birds with one store.
I’m not saying there’s a right way or a wrong way, because we’re all wired different. He’s not nearly as productivity-obsessed as I am, and I would feel incredibly stressed out if I moved at the relaxed pace he always does. But seeing him in his daily routine outside of the usual daily grind, was pretty eye-opening for me and the areas in which I’m lacking.
I can definitely take some tips from him on how to infuse my day with self-care in ways that are beneficial for me physically and mentally. My day isn’t any less “successful” because I technically accomplished less time behind a computer screen. Self-care just needs to be an incorporated part of the daily routine, not something we do in spite of it.