I think the self-care tips on this list are available to most everybody, but please feel free to change and adapt them according to your specific limitations/environment/situation. This was written specifically for the time under quarantine, but I think it is useful anytime we may be in the house for an extended period of time, or on a day off when we are feeling down.
1. Don’t sleep all day. Our bodies seem to like it when we get up at a certain time, and by our very nature we are meant to be awake during the day. Get up like you have something to do, because you do. This one thing changed my life more than anything else and now I look forward to the morning. Self-care sometimes means training ourselves into a habit we may not like at first.
2. Move around, even if only for a little while. Stretch, do some squats, do some jumping jacks, do some yoga. Walk around your neighborhood if that is wise. As I mentioned in the video on this topic, with chronic pain this is probably even more important. The ego will keep us stationary to conserve calories, but that’s a holdover from back when survival was the primary problem. These days, not moving is the villain.
3. Take care of your hygiene. Pretend like you have somewhere to go – shave, shower or bathe, brush your teeth, comb your hair. It’s shocking how much better these little things can make us feel. We dismiss this because we feel compelled (or even coerced) to get up and get dressed every day, so laying around in our pajamas feels like a privilege. One way to take our power back is to take care of ourselves every day – we shouldn’t reserve our best self-care only for our employers,
4. Get some natural light in your life. Just taking a walk outside is fantastic if you can, but something as simple as opening the curtains or blinds or sitting on your front step can make a huge difference if you are homebound. I do think that one good thing that will come out of this pandemic is a general understanding that we need the things that are most basic to our nature as a species, and the sun is one of them.
5. Keep your space clean. It’s a strange paradox, but the more free time we have the less we get done for some reason. Pick up the trash, do the laundry, do the dishes, vacuum, and then see if you don’t feel a little bit better. This is one of my go-to ways to deal with depression and anxiety and I always feel a little better after.
6. Stay as social as possible. Video chatting or calling someone feels a lot more connected than texting them – make a point to do this, especially if you live alone, or if they live alone. Get out of your own head and reach out. It’s easy to turn in on ourselves in times of stress or crisis, but this only magnifies the problem. Think about it: we are obsessed with thoughts and feelings about what is going on, and our natural tendency is to focus on these very same things. Talking to other people is an easy way to remember that there is a larger world out there, and doing something kind for them will always bring us to a better place mentally and emotionally.
None of these are meant to come from a place of judgment or criticism and it’s not some rise & grind bullshit. These things are basic to our existence as humans and they will make you feel better – that’s the nature of self-care and that’s what matters right now.
Take care of yourself, this is temporary and the world needs you at your best.
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I write, podcast and make videos about living in freedom through mindfulness, intentionality, compassion, and equanimity.
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