If you’re having trouble practicing self-care right now, in the midst of a national crisis, you are not alone.

There is so much happening in the world that feels out of our control, and the constant exposure to tragedy can make you feel overwhelmed, burned out, and emotionally exhausted. And when we feel those things, it gets much, much harder to take care of ourselves. 

What you can do to practice self-care amidst a crisis:

Take stock:

How are you caring for yourself already? What do you do each day to care for your mind, your body, your environment, and your emotions? Set aside time each morning to set self-care goals for the day. They don’t have to be big! They can be as simple as “today I will take care of my space by washing my dishes and taking the garbage out.”

Each day before you go to bed, make a list of ways you cared for yourself that day. Have this list be ongoing each day, so you can turn to it when you are struggling to find ways to care for yourself down the line. When your energy is depleted and you can’t think of what you need, take a look at the different ways you’ve cared for yourself before. 

Get in touch with your needs and values:

When our needs aren’t being met, we can feel lost and untethered. And when we’re in crisis mode, it’s easy to neglect needs that aren’t immediate (food, shelter, water, etc). 

But our emotional needs are important in a crisis too. Figuring out what exactly those needs are and how you can meet them comes first from getting in touch with your values. What is it that you value in your life? Are connection and community values in your life? What are ways you can incorporate community into your life? How can you get plugged into the people and the culture around you

Focus on “bite-sized” care in times of crisis:

You don’t have to do a complete overhaul of your life. And trying to do too much at once can actually hinder your ability to form new, healthy habits. Especially in the midst of a crisis! Things are hard enough without putting so much pressure on yourself. Start small. 

When taking care of your body you can do things like:

  • Give yourself 30 minutes before bed where you don’t use screens
  • Stop what you are doing and eat when you feel hungry
  • Keep a water bottle by your side 
  • Do some deep breathing before you get out of bed and before you go to sleep 
  • Take time to notice where you are holding tension in your body 
  • Take time for stretching
  • Buy food that you know you will/like to eat

When taking care of your environment you can do things like:

  • Tidy up before bed so you don’t wake up to a mess
  • Take the garbage out
  • Do the dishes when the sink is full 
  • Open your windows

When taking care of your emotions you can do things like:

  • Give yourself a break from what you’re doing when you start to feel overwhelmed
  • Set aside time to talk through how you’re feeling with friends and loved ones 
  • Do one thing you enjoy each day 
  • Find a creative release for your feelings (journaling, art, music, dance, etc.) 

Remember the importance of community in a crisis:

These past few months have made it more clear than ever: humans are social creatures. 

We feel better when we’re connected to others, we feel a greater sense of belonging when we live in strong communities. Ask yourself, what are small ways you can strengthen your connection to your community, even in times of crisis? This could include things like: 

  • Getting to know your neighbors
  • Subscribing to local newsletters and zines 
  • Finding community organizations to get involved in (when the world feels out of control, getting involved at a community level is a great way to combat that feeling of helplessness!)
  • Finding a local alternative to shop from instead of a corporate chain

Remember to start small!

You don’t have to force yourself to do everything all at once. But choosing one item from each type of self-care can help you feel more empowered, in control, and fulfilled in times of crisis.