These healthy habits and activities will help you cope with pandemic stress.
With everything going on in the world right now, self-care may not be high on your priority list. But it should be.
Perhaps you have been neglecting self-care because you think it’s selfish to focus on yourself when so many others are struggling. Taking care of yourself will help you support those who need you.
Focusing on personal needs isn’t selfish — it actually increases our capacity to care for others, as airline attendants say “If the plane is going down, place the oxygen mask on yourself first before turning to help others” This is absolutely so true. If we don’t, we may not be able to help anyone.
Here are some self-care Tips That Will Make A Big Difference During The Coronavirus.
Make a list of activities that feel therapeutic to you right now
“Ideally, make this list on a day when you’re feeling pretty good, so that when you feel burnt out — which happens to everyone — you don’t have to then think of self-care activities. Save it somewhere that it’s easy to find”
It could be taking a walk outside, petting your dog, meditating, drawing, organizing your wardrobe, listening to a podcast or anything else you enjoy that alleviates stress.
Identify what you are grateful for
There’s a lot happening in the world to be upset, angry and scared about, especially right now. But in these darker moments, finding things — big and small — that we are thankful for is even more essential.
In order to challenge our tendency to be pulled towards negative thoughts, we can turn our attention to what’s good in our lives, gratitude, like anything, is a practice, and if we make efforts to cultivate appreciation, we’ll find more to be grateful for, even during times of uncertainty.
So each day, write down three things you’re thankful for in a journal, notebook or even your phone.
It could be our health care workers or service industry, the weather or that perfect piece of toast.
Your effort to search for goodness during this chaos is a good exercise for your brain and mood.
Set boundaries with work
With many people working from home during the pandemic, living spaces now double as office spaces, blurring the line between work and play.
It can be tempting to answer emails as soon as you wake up in the morning or respond to texts from your boss when you’re eating dinner, so to create more structure, try to stick to the same start and stop times for your workday as you did pre-COVID-19.
If you normally didn’t get to the office until 9 a.m., don’t sign on to work until 9 a.m. and stop working when you would typically leave the office.
When you’re not on the clock, put your work stuff away until you need again them again. Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes.
“Focusing on personal needs isn’t selfish — it actually increases our capacity to care for others.”
Make a “done” list
Many of us aren’t as productive during a pandemic as we are under normal circumstances but staring at a long list of unfinished tasks on your to-do list is only going to make you feel worse about yourself. Instead I suggest compiling a “done” list of all the items you’ve already accomplished.
Include all the tasks, large and small, that you’ve successfully completed, from grocery shopping to folding clothes to getting kids through a day of home schooling.
Pat yourself on the back for producing anything at all in a time where any task can feel challenging.
Put limits on your news intake
Of course staying up to date with the news and latest developments is important ― but not at the cost of your sanity. When the news becomes a source of dread, anxiety, and upset, it’s time to take a step back.
To not get overwhelmed curb your consumption, block out specific windows of time where you let yourself read or watch the news and try to avoid checking for updates otherwise.
Respect the boundaries you set, if you notice that even a small dose of news feels to be too much, be mindful of how you are feeling and pull yourself away.
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Crack open a book
Put down your smartphone and pick up a book
Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read and try to get 30 minutes of reading in a day, it doesn’t however have to be a straight 30 minutes. You could also break it up, doing something like 10 minutes of reading three times a day to fit in with family life.
Let yourself grieve losses big and small
People are mourning all kinds of losses right now: the loss of their loved ones, their jobs, their health, their plans, their normal routines, just to name a few.
Take a breath and let yourself feel whatever you’re feeling without judgment. Then, when you’re ready, grab a pen and paper and write down all of the supportive forces in your life, they could be personal, professional, financial, family, your personal strengths or your ability to survive difficult times before and now.
Pause to check in with yourself every day
If you feel like all the days and weeks just seem to blend in together in lockdown you’re not alone. Taking the time to check in with yourself daily can bring focus and awareness to an otherwise dizzying time.
Ask yourself these three questions:
“What is captivating your thoughts right now?”
“What emotions or physical sensations are you experiencing or feeling?”
“What do you want to accomplish today?”
Pairing this practice with an already ingrained part of your routine, like brushing your teeth or making coffee in the morning, will make it easier to stick to.
Gyms are closed, you can’t do group fitness classes and even exercising outdoors might be difficult at times. That said, moving your body can do wonders for your mood and mental health.
Less movement, plus isolation, plus a stressful situation equals potential for lower mood and exacerbation of depression or anxiety symptoms. While there is only so much which we may have control over in this situation, there is a whole world of free exercise and movement resources on YouTube.
You don’t need to do a high-intensity workout to reap the benefits. Try the WeightMatters toning workout after your walk.
If quarantine has you feeling extra tense, some light stretching can help.
When you can’t muster up the energy for a workout, stretching is a more manageable option that still benefits your body and mind. Those who are working from home during the pandemic may be dealing with aches and pains as a result of their poor ergonomic set-ups (e.g. working from bed or the sofa or indeed the kitchen table). Plus, it’s common for people to generally hold emotional stress and tension in their bodies.
Choose two to three stretches that are your go-to stretches and set a timer on your phone and try to hold each exercise for two minutes.
Create a bedtime routine to encourage good sleep habits
Getting a good night’s sleep can set a positive tone for your day and help you manage stress and anxiety better. To facilitate this, create a night-time routine that helps your body wind down and puts you in sleep mode.
Try including a hot bath or shower because the hot water can help lower your core body temperature, which is needed to initiate and maintain a good night’s sleep. That plus a good book ― and no social media scrolling! ― and you’ll be off for a restful sleep in no time.
Keep a journal
If racing thoughts are weighing you down, consider starting a journaling practice. Setting aside some time to self-reflect will help quiet your busy mind and clarify and process what you’re experiencing.
If this is something you’re struggling with, try taking 10 minutes each day to reflect on how you’re feeling, writing down any worries or concerns and acknowledging that it’s OK to feel these things.
Not sure where to start? You can find some journaling exercises here
Regular self-reflection helps you stay connected to yourself, which means you’ll maintain your internal balance and strength when external elements in your life begin to shift.
Be extra gentle with yourself
Not firing on all cylinders these days? Cut yourself some slack.
Instead of beating yourself up because you are not coping right now, try to validate yourself with kind self talk, like, ‘This is difficult.’ ‘My body is responding to an impending threat.’ ‘I’m not alone.”
Consider what you would you say to a dear friend or relative struggling during this time, then say those things to yourself. I hope you enjoyed these Self-Care Tips That Will Make A Big Difference During The Coronavirus. For more tips like these, why not join WeightMatters now?