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Self Care During COVID-19
With lots of changes happening around us, it's important to keep in mind the ways that we can take care of ourselves. These times may be tough, but so are we! We can get through this together.
In stressful times, it is important to stay in some form of routine to help you get through the day. Try writing out your daily routine and even create a weekly one to help build on that structure.
Sleep is vital to your overall mental and physical health, so make sure you are getting enough! Having a consistent sleep schedule can be helpful for this. When possible, aim to be in bed around the same time each night and out of bed around the same time each morning.
Do you have a wind-down routine to help you get ready for sleep? Are there ways you can make your bedroom more inviting to you? For instance, trying to go to sleep in a messy room can prevent us from having the ultimate sleep experience.
Do you have a morning routine to start the day on a positive note? Ideas: a yoga or mindfulness exercise, relaxing with a cup of tea/coffee before getting ready, or writing your thoughts and intentions for the day in a journal to help clear your mind and motivate you.
Try not to keep your worries and fears bottled up. Talk about them to people you trust, or reach out to your local mental health helpline. The Mental Health Commission of Canada created a great list of crisis lines and other mental health supports that you can view here.
Social/physical distancing is so important in order to lessen the spread of COVID-19. You may feel fine, but could still be carrying the virus and could spread it to others. Following the recommendations and protocols for your area will help all of this end sooner!
These times can feel lonely, but that doesn't mean you're alone. Try making a list of safe people you can reach out to. It can also help to schedule in social time to keep you from becoming too isolated e.g. schedule a video chat with a friend or loved one and stick to it.
Once you've validated your tough feelings, try challenging them with a new spin, e.g., taking a break from being social in person might help you find creative ways to stay in contact with others. You might even find you're reaching out to friends you don't often speak to!
Anticipate that others around us might be struggling and stressed out with the current situation. Try your best to be patient and supportive — and remember to show yourself love, too! You can get through these tough times together (even when physically apart).
Is someone you're living with being negative or moody and making it difficult to be around? Try some positive self-talk and self-soothing to avoid reacting harshly. Remember to also practice healthy boundaries to give yourself breaks from the negativity.
The news can feel like 24/7 information overload about COVID-19. Even having it on in the background can be stressful for our brains. Give yourself a few days away from it if you want! If you're still craving news, try sources like Tank's Good News for uplifting content.
On the days that you are wanting to stay informed with the news, set limits to how much you watch/read/listen to it. For example, set a 30 minute timer when you're accessing your news media of choice and try to limit yourself to a maximum of two news sessions a day.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by everything going on, try to stop what you're doing and focus on your breathing. Download an app like aware for free guided breathing exercises. Taking this time away from worrying and negative feelings will help you slow down and re-centre.
Is your living space a zen spot to be? Set out a time to clear an area in your home where your mind can be more at ease. Do you have twinkle lights, candles, pillows and a rug to sit on? Some of these things can make a very cozy place for you to relax your mind.
Boredom can happen when you are at home more than you're used to. Make a list of activities you can engage in and even give them time limits so that it will help you commit to the activity. For example, an hour of colouring, a 15 minute mindfulness activity, a 20 minute walk, etc.
Are there books in your home that you never got around to reading? Gather the books and/or magazines that you haven't paid much attention to and put them in one spot — see how many of them you can check off the list in the next little while.
Try to set aside time to do nothing! Yes, we all have lots of things to get done, but we can also carve out time to do nothing and allow ourselves to be okay with that. If it helps, rather than seeing it as "nothing", think of it as time to recharge.
If you are tired of staying in your home, maybe it's time to venture outside? Find a new area to explore nearby where you can still keep a safe distance from other people. Breathe deeply while you walk and take in as much as you can of these new surroundings.
Make a list of old shows or movies you once enjoyed. See which ones you can find to rewatch and see if you still like them. Reflect on what it was you liked about each one and see if there are different reasons now. It can be fun to revisit the past through TV and film.
Make or find a playlist with some of your favourite songs that inspire you to move and, as Meredith Grey would say, "Dance it out!"
Make a group chat with friends to send funny memes or uplifting quotes throughout the day. There are lots of fun group chat ideas — you can compile lists of each other's recommendations for movies, books, tv shows, workouts, etc.
Self care is important in times that you're feeling disconnected or out of sorts, because it helps you relax and focus on doing something kind for yourself. How about making a DIY face mask? They can be for anyone, and there are a ton of different recipes to try online!
If you're wondering what the future will hold and it's feeling overwhelming, take a moment to do a mindfulness exercise. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our minds and bodies is bring ourselves back to the present moment. Here are some basic exercises to try!
It's a great time to sit down and think about the "to do list" you've been avoiding. Getting things out of our minds and onto paper can be satisfying on its own! Start by focussing on smaller tasks — if it helps, even give yourself a checkmark for getting out of bed!
If you're looking for some new ways to fill your time that feel stimulating for your brain, there are lots of free online learning opportunities like webinars, tutorials, and courses! Check out websites like Coursera or edX.
If it's safe to do so, and you're able to keep at least six feet away from others, getting even ten minutes of fresh air each day can make a big impact on our health — mentally and physically! Set an alarm or reminder on your phone to make sure you're not missing out on your daily fresh air.
It can be hard to see the good when times are so tough. Trying to identify even small things we're grateful for each day can have a surprising impact on our mood and outlook. Did you see the sun today? Find a funny meme? Hear a new song you really liked? Write it down!
Grab some boxes and bags and start spring cleaning. Decluttering can be good for your mental (and physical) health and can benefit others if you're able to find a local charity to donate some of your things to. Win-win!
Cooking your food from scratch is a satisfying activity. Find new recipes in the recipe books you have lying around or on pinterest! Ask around what others are doing for meals and make extra for leftovers.
You might be doing okay during this time of social distancing, but are your friends? Take time out of your day to check in with the people you care about to reassure them that they are not alone.