Last week we talked about why now is the perfect time to talk to a therapist. But that’s not the only way to take care of yourself while self quarantining and practicing social distancing!
With the shift to working from home and enforcing social distancing, all of our routines need to change. And it’s going to be a difficult change for people who have never worked from home before, or who are used to being able to spend all of their free time out and about.
As we said last week, the uncertainty in the world regarding the spread of COVID-19, the status of the economy, and managing our day to day needs and responsibilities, managing self care can seem like small potatoes.
But it’s actually more important than ever to take care of your mental health.
When our environments and routines change so drastically, we experience increased feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, frustration, boredom, resentment, loneliness, and a whole slew of other emotions. Finding ways to care for ourselves can help to reduce these unpleasant feelings, and give us a new structure around which to manage our days.
So what should we be paying attention to when forming a new self-quarantine-self-care routine?
Ask yourself these questions:
- How am I taking care of my body today?
- What am I doing to take care of my mind today?
- How am I keeping myself connected today?
Self care is about more than just pampering yourself. It’s about improving the relationship you have with yourself, and making sure your essential needs are met.
Let’s start with: How am I taking care of my body in self-quarantine today?
Taking care of your body while in self-quarantine can be boiled down to: move, nourish & rest.
Self quarantine and social distancing has thrown a wrench in many people’s movement routines–particularly those who spend much of their time outside and active. But going to the gym or taking a dance class aren’t the only ways you can tend to your body health.
If you’re stuck at home–even a small home–you can still move your body! Take that time you would normally hit the gym and do some yoga in your living room. Put your favorite album on and dance around your bedroom. Take a walk around your neighborhood (just stay 6 feet away from anyone else you encounter!)
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be active 24/7 during this time. Lots of things are changing, and your body will likely be one of them. Finding time and ways to move your body should first and foremost be a way you take care of your body, rather than something you use to control it.
To nurture your body, make sure you have foods that make you feel good. Both physically and emotionally. Having foods that give you nutrients you need is important to keep your health & energy up, but fuel isn’t the only reason we eat food. We enjoy it! And with all this time at home, you might even want to start experimenting in the kitchen. Get foods that make you feel good because they’re healthy, and foods that make you feel good because they taste good.
While it might seem in contradiction to the first point, rest is still of great importance in this time. Listen to your body when it tells you that it’s tired, that it needs a break. Let yourself take a nap if you need one, spend some time stretching sore muscles, and get plenty of sleep and water.
How am I taking care of my mind in self-quarantine today?
Your mind and emotions need the same intentional care that your body does!
This time at home can feel overwhelming or boring (or both!) so it’s important to find ways to stimulate your mind, give yourself an outlet for how you’re feeling, and give your head some rest.
Stimulating your mind can be:
- Reading a book
- Listening to a podcast
- Trying a new craft
- Trying a new recipe
- Playing a game
- Learning a new skill
Your entire day, every day, doesn’t need to be something stimulating, but it’s important to incorporate these types of things regularly. Just as it’s important to give your emotions an outlet. Of course a wonderful outlet is engaging in telehealth, but giving yourself an outlet between sessions is just as important.
Things you can do to tend to your emotions include:
- Calling a friend
- Starting a “good news” text or email chain
And of course, rest. Give yourself time to disengage from the rest of the world. Get off social media, turn your phone off, and just let yourself relax.
How am I keeping myself connected today?
And, finally, remember that even if you’re social distancing, you don’t need to completely isolate yourself. In fact (especially if you live alone) it is more important now than ever to nurture your social connections. Just because you can’t meet up in person, doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected.
Ways you can stay connected in this time of self-quarantine:
- Calling or skyping friends
- Starting an online book club
- Starting an online movie club
- Download games on your phone to play with friends
- Have a virtual happy hour
While this pandemic is devastating in a number of ways, one silver lining is that we can find new ways to support our well being while still doing our part to keep the community healthy. If you’re looking for more support in this time, contact us and ask us about our online therapy option!