In the best of times, bed rest can put a major damper on one’s mental, physical, and emotional health. Tack on COVID-19 and the difficulty becomes magnified. The following are ten tips to get through this challenging time from women who emerged stronger on the other side.

1. Socialize

Almost every woman who has experienced bed rest extolled the need to socialize. “Visitors were my saving grace and the key to maintaining my sanity,” one woman explained. “We all need connection. I had lunch dates with friends, phone calls, and visitors almost every day. This saved me.”

While socially distancing, this can be tricky, but we can still find ways to connect through Zoom.

Who you let inside your “bubble” right now is just as important. You want to surround yourself with positivity. Don’t include Debbie downers or judgers. One woman lamented, “What was hard for me about bed rest was that some of my friends thought I was being dramatic. A friend was visiting when the doorbell rang. I asked her if she could answer the door for me. She rolled her eyes and said, ‘Wow! I've heard of bridezillas, but I didn’t realize there are pregnantzillas, too!’” Allowing only tactful and compassionate friends into your orbit in this time is essential.

2. Spirituality

One mother said, “In a way I’m so grateful for bed rest. I spent the majority of my six-month bed rest tied to the hospital bed. I really changed as a person because I had so much time to reflect and talk to God. We had a lot of conversations and it got me through it.”

We can all utilize the challenging time to develop a closer relationship to God. For some, reciting Psalms or Torah study is their preferred connection path, while for others, conversing with God through prayer or conversation creates the strongest connection.

3. Spring Cleaning

One mother chuckled, “I nested like crazy, even from my bed. My sister helped me organize my closet. I don’t know why, but making lists and organizing kept me sane. I made lists of baby names, and a list of emails for announcements. I was expecting triplets and didn’t buy anything beforehand, so I made comprehensive lists of every item I would need. This helped me feel in control of an uncontrollable situation.”

4. Support

“The best tip I have is to accept help—even if it’s hard, take it anyway. It took me a while to accept it, but it made a huge difference.”

Submit yourself to your vulnerable state by enlisting and accepting help from others. Good friends and family want to do something to ease your burden. Accepting their assistance will help create a stronger connection with them.

5. Spa

“Do things that make you feel pretty—manicures, haircuts. You’re still a woman and like to look nice, even if you’re literally in your bed for nine months.”

Try to treat yourself regularly to massages and at-home manicures if your doctor or quarantine allows it. If not, give yourself a mani-pedi or try a new face mask with your kids. Have a basket of beauty items easily accessible so you can treat yourself and feel like the beautiful mama you really are.

6. Support Others

Focusing on the needs of others can serve as a great distraction. Call an elderly or lonely friend, organize a Meal Train for someone who has lost a loved one or recently given birth. Ask your synagogue or school if you can join a committee or help revamp their website from bed. Just because your body has been restricted doesn't mean you can’t perform acts of kindness.

Some women need to feel accomplished to keep their spirits up. Women described cooking from their wheelchair, or using a rolling chair to move from space to space to attend to their other children.

7. Stay Healthy

One woman explained that it took years for her body to recover from bed rest because her muscles had completely atrophied.

Rachelle Luczynski, fitness expert and doula notes, “Moms will need strength after delivering to hold the baby after bed rest. If possible, have a physical therapist come to the house or do Zoom fitness for upper body work.”

One mom suggested, “Eat clean, and drink a ton of water. I had four pitchers full of water daily. This prevented bloating, and kept my digestive system on track. This is my number one tip.”

8. Stimulate the Mind

One woman said, “Before I was on bed rest, I worked full-time and traveled the world for my job. I never had a minute to breathe. Bed rest certainly paused my life and I began to feel like my brain wasn’t being stimulated enough.”

Sudoku, crosswords, or even jigsaw puzzles (perhaps with your other children) are all great ways to pass the time and exercise your mind.

Another mother expressed, “I was focused on survival during bed rest, but since I didn't have other children, I kind of wish I had taken the time to learn something new, maybe a new language or how to knit. I should have done something stimulating just for me.”

9. Structure

Bed rest can be maddening as you watch the minutes tick by. Creating structure and routine can help make the days pass more quickly. Map out your day with leisure time, learning time, meal time, creative time, and sleep time.

One mother added, “If you have kids, schedule special ‘date time’ with each of them, even if it’s just watching a movie or reading a book together. Schedule dates with your husband, too!”

10. Slack

Last, but certainly not least, try not to be too hard on yourself. Growing a child is a full-time job!