Practicing Self-Care in a Time of COVID-19
Just a few months ago, when we thought of self-care, we thought of time to slow down and, more often than not, be alone. But now that we’re all slowing down and social distancing, self-care takes on a different form. Who knows? You might be sick of bubble baths by now. At its core, though, self-care the same as it always has been. It’s about finding what feels good and works best for you.
Put simply, self-care is something you do to take care of your mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual health. One person’s self-care might be another person’s form of torture (shout of to those of you who love a long HIIT workout). Similarly, what helps you feel your best one day (hours of volunteering, for example) might be totally different from what helps you feel your best the next (hours of Netflix).
There’s no one-size-fits-all self-care regimen. Still, though, in these wildly uncertain times, we’d like to offer a few things that have been working for us. Our hope is they get the wheels turning for you, helping you find the self-care routine that sustains you through this ultra-weird season.
Here are a few suggestions for mixing up your self-care and treating yourself right even as we all work to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Spend time outside
With stay-at-home orders in place, it’s tempting to spend your days indoors. But time outside is key for your mental health. Studies show just 20 minutes of time outside is enough to boost your mood and experts even recommend getting outdoors to prevent and treat a variety of mental illnesses.
Of course, in the time of social distancing, it’s important that you choose outdoor spaces where you can keep a safe space. This doesn’t have to be complex, though. A short walk through your neighborhood is enough to get some fresh air and vitamin D.
Get the social stimulus you need
Attention, extroverts! If you’re losing your mind without your usual dose of social interaction, it’s time to go digital. Sure, FaceTime might not be as good as IRL facetime, but it’s better than nothing. Set up a Zoom happy hour with your friends and get that exposure to other humans that you need.
It’s easy to let the hangout devolve into a time to bemoan our current collective misery right now, so we recommend having some supports in place. Party apps like Jackbox and Houseparty can help you keep things upbeat.
On the flip side, your self-care might look like spending more time away from screens. The news is anxiety-inducing right now, to say the least. And even your Insta and Pinterest feeds aren’t safe from the reach of coronavirus.
It can be helpful to designate times to unplug. Try turning off all devices an hour before bed or starting the first hour of your day without looking at your phone. Just like social distancing helps to slow the spread of the virus, digital distancing can help you limit how much the COVID-19 situation creeps into your life and affects your wellbeing. If it’s stressing you out, make some space for yourself. You deserve it.
Eat right — and well
With extra time at home, we all have a rare opportunity to slow down and enjoy routine tasks more. Eating is a prime example. We’re all guilty of scarfing a meal over the sink out of necessity, but now is the time to set a table, queue up a playlist you love, light some candles, and really enjoy your food.
As you do, try to incorporate healthy elements into your meals. Healthy eating doesn’t just serve your body. It also helps your brain function its best, which means more balanced moods, better sleep, and more. If you don’t like to cook (same!), don’t worry. You can support local Ventura County businesses by ordering takeout or delivery. Savoring a healthy meal is an ideal act of self-care in a time where we’re all stuck at home anyway.
These are just a few suggestions. Find what works for you and, most importantly, stick with it. We all need self-care right now and you deserve it. Be well!