Self-care is not just bubble baths and treating yourself to a manicure (although those are certainly nice). And while it can be those things, self-care goes much deeper than that. Rather than being self-indulgent, self-care is both an individual and collective responsibility.
Here we outline 5 ways to not fall apart during COVID-19 or any other challenges that tax our minds and hearts.
Think about it. When are YOU your best self?
Is it when you're tired, hangry, stressed out, and in need of a good massage? Or is it when you are well-fed and rested, and your body and mind are relaxed?
How many times have you made a mistake at work, or snapped at your partner or kids when they didn't deserve it?
I bet you were not at your best in those moments. And I bet when you prioritize self-care, you notice an improvement in your relationships and show up better in all areas of your life.
"We all need each other, now more than ever. We are required to care for one another, and to do that, we must care for ourselves first." - Natacha Paugam
Depending on how you are feeling, the idea of self-care may feel too daunting even to think about right now.
If that's the case, read on to discover the five fundamental self-care principles that will keep you from falling apart.
1. Honor Your Emotions
You're probably experiencing a wild emotional ride right now, and that's absolutely normal. Now more than ever, it's okay not to be okay.
You may feel fine one moment, anxious the next, and end up in a sobbing heap on the floor after that. Honor all of it. Allow yourself to feel it.
Feeling is healing, so don't force yourself to be positive if you feel like the world is ending.
"Talk to your co-isolators about what's coming up for you, or call a trusted friend. Speaking about what's on your mind will help you to release it."
2. Mindful Media Consumption
It's essential to honor your emotions. But it's equally important not to feed the monster under the bed by constantly reading 24-hour news updates and scrolling conspiracy theories on social media.
Yes, it's important to stay informed, but consuming too much news can induce feelings of anxiety. Try to limit your intake of news and social media, and distract yourself with something you enjoy instead.
Or pick up an instrument that was in the too-hard basket for many years before, well, now.
Honestly, even binge-watching Netflix will do you more good than compulsively checking the latest updates!
3. Daily Routine
Having a daily routine in place can help alleviate anxiety.
It also reduces decision fatigue, helping you to feel less frazzled and more clear-headed.
Waking up and going to bed at the same time, regular meal times, and blocking your time for work, rest, and play also makes it easier to get things done.
You could even schedule in "thinking time" for processing your emotions through journaling, freeing up headspace that will help you concentrate on other things.
4. Boost Your Immunity
There are many things you can do right now to boost your immune system.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, I suggest you pick just one of the following suggestions and focus on implementing it for a week.
If, after that week, you feel ready to incorporate another habit or practice, go for it. If you feel you need more time with implementing the first one, give yourself as much as you need.
You can boost your immunity by:
• Getting enough sleep
• Working out
• Breathing exercises
• Diet (think as many fresh veggies and fruits as possible!)
• Spending time in nature if you can, or
• Gardening if you have an outdoor space
Last but most definitely not least, rest is one of the most powerful self-care practices out there.
It also happens to be one of the easiest and most enjoyable!
You are going through a lot now emotionally, physically, and energetically. It's exhausting. Sleep is epic.
We all know sleep is healing, so allow yourself to rest whenever you feel tired. If you find yourself suddenly needing naps for the first time since you were a toddler, embrace it!
Don't Overdo It
Self-care means different things to different people, so it's up to you to figure out what works for you and what doesn't.
Some people are coping with the COVID-19 crisis by finally starting long put-off projects or developing new skills.
For others, the idea of being proactive increases their feelings of anxiety and stress.
No matter what your emotional response is, all of it is okay. The best way to practice self-care is to ask yourself what you really need, and then allow yourself to have it — without judgment.