About a month ago, I wrote an article about self-care.
I talked about my ritual, shared some things I’ve learned and offered up some suggestions on how to love on yourself more.
Of course, this was before a pandemic blew up life as we know it.
Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that women find ways to care for ourselves during this crisis. When things change, especially suddenly, we’re often the ones challenged with figuring out how to not only make adjustments for us but for those in our households too. I can extend this even further and say we’re expected to construct the game plan for how to adjust to these shifts at work, church, and organizations we’re involved with, etc.
With so much uncertainty surrounding us, self-care can seem like a selfish thing to focus on right now. However, for us to arrive on the other side of this unprecedented occurrence, we need to be checking in with ourselves constantly to take inventory of what we need during this time.
It’s going to take some creativity, a lot of pep talks and probably some breathing exercises. I’m convinced, though, that it can be done.
If you’re like me, some of your self-care ritual takes place outside of the home. For me, I enjoy visiting the sauna at my gym, getting pedicures and massages, swinging at the park, visiting family and friends, treating myself to ice cream cones and working remotely at coffee shops. Right now, I can’t do any of those things so I’m having to figure out new ideas for taking care of me or relying on some things that I don’t do as often.
Unless you’re an essential worker, you’re at home. All day, every day. Well you should be. Unless you must go out for necessities.
Before I continue, THANK YOU to those of you who are on the frontlines of this pandemic. I appreciate you!
Being at the house all day is trying for a lot of us. We’re social beings. We enjoy interaction. And we enjoy just being out. That’s a problem but that’s not what my article is about.
Now that we’re forced to be home, we need to be examining how we can still function at an optimal level during the ups and downs of life right now. Allow me to offer up five tips that I believe will assist you in taking care of you at this time:
- Own your feelings – Women are always asked to push through. Well, I’m a firm believer in that only being effective if you acknowledge how you feel about what you’re pushing through. Many of us have suffered loss in this season. Whether it’s a job, an event we were looking forward to, our kids’ graduations, our own graduations, a sense of peace, stability, the list goes on. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be frustrated. It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to wonder what could’ve been. It’s okay to feel scared. Honestly, you must be some type of robot if you haven’t experienced at least one of these emotions. Accepting them and dealing with them head on is how you overcome them.
- Make a schedule – If you’re now working from home, it’s easy to get complacent. When you were leaving home daily, you had a schedule. You should still have one. Whatever your schedule looked like before you were forced into the house, craft one that is similar. Set your alarm, set aside time to read, set aside time for coffee, set aside time for breakfast and whatever else you need to. You know you better than anyone else. Your schedule doesn’t have to look like mine. It just needs to be established so that you maximize your day. Because no woman loves that unproductive feeling when day rolls into night.
- Make a priorities list – According to everything I’ve read, it looks like we’re going to be asked to remain at home for a while. All of us have projects that we keep putting off. All of us have things we’ve wanted to be able to learn to do. All of us have something that we haven’t done because we didn’t have the time. Well now, we do. What are three things you’ve been wanting to do more of, that you can do from home, if you had the time? Write them down then start doing whatever it is. Don’t give it too much thought. Just do it.
- Go outside – You need fresh air, every day. Sit on the porch. Go for a walk. Run a few miles. Watch the birds and squirrels. Find shapes in the clouds. And take deep breaths while you’re out there. It’s that simple.
- Stimulate your mind – Thanks to technology, our minds aren’t challenged at a rate they should be. My own theory. When most of us have downtime, we often gravitate to our phone to scroll through social media or we grab a remote to binge watch whatever. Use this time to engage in activities that will benefit you in the long run: read some books, listen to podcasts, work on puzzles (one of my favorite things to do), practice yoga, exercise, play board games, listen to music, dance or meditate. These are just a few things you can do to keep those cognitive skills sharp.
Even if these suggestions don’t register with you, there are plenty of other ways you can practice self-care during this time. Find what works for you and start doing it.
Kassaundra Shanette Lockhart is a freelance writer, lover of food and an advocate for healthy, self-care.
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