The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected every aspect of our lives, and these sudden changes to our daily routines can make us feel stressed, anxious, or even helpless. During times like these, it’s important to find coping mechanisms that help us find a sense of normalcy in this new way of life that we’re all living. From living a healthier lifestyle to opening up to someone, people can cope with stressful situations in different ways, and what works for one may not work for the other.
But before we get into that, let’s talk about what exactly self-care is and why it’s so important, especially at a time like this.
What Is Self-care, and Why Is It Important?
Simply put, self-care refers to activities that help you maintain your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. While it doesn’t sound like a big deal, the hustle and bustle of everyday life often make us forget to take a step back and pay attention to our overall health. Self-care takes many forms and is different for each person. It could be a simple thing like learning to say no or even taking a short break from work to recharge.
The reason why self-care is so important is that it helps you maintain a better relationship with yourself. It may be called self-care, but it benefits not only you but the people around you. When you take care of and feel good about yourself, you get to share positivity with others and be the best version of yourself. This is especially important at a time like this when we spend most of our time at home with an unclear distinction between work and personal life.
Before the pandemic, self-care meant going out to get some fresh air, eating at a restaurant, or doing a bit of shopping. But as we spend more time at home, it’s up to us to find other ways to take care of ourselves.
What You Can Do to Practice Self-Care
There are different ways to practice self-care, and not everyone has the same methods, so it’s important to find what works for you and do those things regularly. This is because repeated thoughts and actions help us get into the motion of things and form habits. Here are a few ways you can practice self-care and thrive in these difficult times.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is something many of us take for granted. We often find ourselves staying up to catch up on our favorite Netflix shows or do overtime work, but good sleep helps repair our body and get ready for the day ahead. Not only can it help us recharge, but it also keeps us healthy. If your schedule allows it, consider sleeping earlier so you can wake up earlier and get more things done.
For those working from home, it gets hard to tell when it’s time to take a break, and you end up sitting at your desk for hours on end without so much as a stretch break. Doing this can increase your risk of developing chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease. Take a break at least every 30 minutes, walk around the room, and do some stretching- anything that will get you moving.
Also, try to make time for a good workout at least once or twice a week. Working out regularly will not only help you keep healthy, but it will also help you feel better and more energized throughout the week.
Eat with a Purpose
Snacking even when you’re not feeling hungry is bad for you and can make you gain weight without realizing it. Practice eating with intention by only eating when you feel hungry and stopping once you feel full. A good thing about intentional eating is that you don’t have to restrict yourself from eating your favorite food or count calories.
Talk to Someone
Sometimes all you need is just someone to talk to. Open up to a family member or a close friend about how you’ve been feeling lately- letting out your feelings is a great way to relieve the stress and anxiety you’re experiencing. Whether it’s in-person or through a video call, knowing someone out there is willing to listen to you is a great feeling.
If you think that you might need the help of a professional, different health professionals can help you sort out what you’re feeling and process these emotions. Technology is a great tool to take advantage of in times like these, as everything from personal to even family therapists are available for online sessions.
Avoid Information Overload
Social media is a great source of information, but at times, it can get overwhelming. Avoid getting information overload by limiting the time you spend reading or watching the news, and take a break from social media for a day or two. While it’s important to stay updated with the latest news about the pandemic, try to find a balance that can help you do that while keeping your stress and anxiety levels to a minimum.
Finding different ways to cope with negative feelings like stress and anxiety is great for your well-being in the long run, but it’s as important as ever during a global health crisis. Choose the activities that work for you, and remember to listen to what your mind and body are telling you. If you ever start to feel overwhelmed, take a step back from everything and take a break.