Few people anticipated the depth and breadth of the COVID-19 pandemic, including world leaders. You are far from alone if your anxiety level has skyrocketed during these uncertain times. Depending on your circumstances, you could slip into an understandable, yet devastating, depression.
Experts advise folks to act with more kindness during times of crisis, and this principle applies to yourself, too. During tumultuous times, people need self-care now more than ever. Developing positive habits that demonstrate self-love can help you stay healthy when life lobs lemons at you.
Self-Care Helps You Fill Time With Positive Activities
Right now, you probably have some additional time on your hands. Even if you are still working, you might have lost your daily commute. Since everyone needs to do their part to help flatten the curve, why not treat yourself to some positive activities during quarantine?
Some ideas for positive self-care activities include the following.
- Write in a journal: Why not use this time to start a gratitude journal? You will automatically switch your thoughts to more positive ones if you focus on what makes you feel thankful.
- Give yourself a spa day at home: Who said you had to drop hundreds at a day spa — many of which are closed — when you can produce similar effects at home? Paint your toes and let the kids help, if you have them. Take a luxurious bubble bath and add some healing tea leaves to soothe aches and pains. Have your SO treat you to a massage — and return the favor.
- Lose yourself in a novel: When was the last time you curled up with a juicy book for an entire afternoon? If you have the time, indulge in this rare pleasure.
- Practice a relaxing hobby: Do you like to cook? Why not whip up some new recipes? Has the afghan you were knitting gathered dust in the corner of your closet? Finish it for a unique holiday gift.
- Try Yoga and Meditation: If you haven’t practiced before, you can find free yoga videos as well as guided meditation exercises on YouTube. All you need is a quiet space and room to stretch your body and mind.
Self-Care Helps You Avoid Addiction and Disease
Alcohol sales have skyrocketed by a staggering 243% since the coronavirus pandemic began. It’s understandable to want to hit the bottle, but doing so can lead to significant problems down the road. The substance not only gives you a nasty hangover, but it also messes with levels of neurotransmitters in your brain and can damage organs like your liver.
In the past 20 years, alcohol-related deaths have risen by 69%, so if you overdo it, now is the time to change. Substitution can help. Try replacing drinking with a healthier activity. Even during the shutdown, you can find online therapists and support groups to help if you struggle.
Self-Care Can Reduce the Symptoms of Some Physical and Mental Disorders
Stress can cause a host of health woes, from headaches and low energy to gastrointestinal distress. Long-term tension can exacerbate the symptoms of diseases as diverse as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Additionally, it can worsen depression and anxiety.
“How on earth can I avoid stress right now,” you might think. During a crisis, it is more challenging to relax. However, positive self-care activities like eating well and exercising can boost both your mood and immune system. Working out can take the edge off your panic and make it less likely that you will get sick if exposed.
Self-Care Doesn’t Have to Cost a Dime
Far too many people procrastinate on self-care because they think they have to drop a bundle to do it right. However, you don’t have to spend a dime. If you have staples like rice and beans in your pantry, you can make a healthy veggie burrito bowl by adding some fresh produce from your windowsill garden, for example. That qualifies.
If your jurisdiction allows you to venture outdoors, you can lace up your tennis shoes and take a sensory walk. You will marvel at all the birdsongs you hear with less traffic on the road. You can always indulge in a leisurely nap on your back porch hammock.
Self-Care Serves as an Anchor in Stormy Seas
Finally, self-care practices soothe your soul during tumultuous times by providing you with routines within your control. If you lost your job due to the downturn, you might struggle to find reasons to get out of bed in the morning. However, if you know that you work out when the alarm sounds, that creates a sense of purpose.
You can incorporate self-care into any part of your daily schedule. For example, after you job-seek for two or three hours, take a break and prepare a nutritious snack or stretch for 10 minutes. If you are working, wind down afterward and improve your mood by putting on a favorite song and dancing around your living room. Such end-of-day rituals are especially critical if you are new to telecommuting. They help you draw the line between work and family life.
We Need Self-Care More Than Ever — Be Kind to You Today
During troubled times, everyone needs to treat each other with more kindness. However, it is critical to demonstrate self-care, too. Comfort yourself with one of these ideas today.