We’ve been dealing with coronavirus for months, and the end is not yet in sight. The social, financial, psychological and physical stressors surrounding the pandemic have been challenging in many ways.
It’s time to take care of yourself. Practicing self-care can help you and your family be better equipped to get through this time together.
Here are seven tips for self-care during the pandemic:
Eat regularly. It may sound simple, but getting enough nutrition gives us the energy we need to get through the days, think clearly and quickly, and sleep better at night. If regular meals are difficult try to keep a stash of healthy, protein packed snacks on hand.
Keep moving. Even if you don’t have time for your usual workout, getting in 15 minutes physical activity can improve your quality of sleep and help reduce stress. Squeeze in exercise where you can — take the stairs, walk the dog, jog with your kids as they bike.
Prioritize sleep. Hold your sleep time sacred as an important part of your self-care. It’s tempting to stay up a few extra minutes to watch that show, check social media or play games on your phone — don’t. Your sleep is a critical part of restoring your mind and body, and recharging for the next day.
Practice pausing. Whether using mindfulness or taking deep breaths, taking a moment to pause can help center you back to the present moment when stress and anxiety are high.
Consider mindfulness meditation apps like Calm or Headspace to help you release tension and center yourself on the now.
Try paced breathing exercises (e.g., 4-square breathing) or diaphragmatic breathing (also called belly breathing or balloon breathing) to increase oxygen intake and relax your body and mind.
5. Balance your mental intake. There is a lot happening in the world. It is easy to feel like you need to be constantly connected in order to not miss out on what’s happening. While staying informed is helpful, be careful not to overwhelm yourself with information either. Take time to unplug and focus on things that are uplifting and/or soothing.
6. Check in on yourself. Take time throughout your day to stop what you are doing to notice what is happening within and around you. Try to be curious and nonjudgmental with whatever shows up as you consider what you are feeling and what you might need at the moment.
7. Use your supports. Now is the time to activate your support network if you haven’t already. Reach out to others to tell them how you are doing. Ask for emotional and practical support when you need it. Consider a professional counselor to have your thoughts and feelings heard.