SelfCare During COVID-19: Keep Your Mind and Body Healthy
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. Social distancing measures, self-isolation recommendations and the concept of a "new normal" can easily make one feel stressed or overwhelmed by it all. Anxiety is a natural response to the current pandemic but it can be exhausting physically and mentally. Instead of allowing heavy feelings and burdensome thoughts wear you out, it helps to practice some self-care while you stay at home. Whether it's pampering yourself with a well-deserved bath (complete with your favorite whitening body scrub, of course) or reading a book, practicing some #selflove can help you weather the effects of the pandemic (within the safety of your home). Catch Up on Sleep The first order of business: prioritize quality sleep - your immune system and mood are counting on it. When it comes to caring for your health, sleep is ALWAYS part of the solution. Getting quality sleep empowers your immune system, keeping it at its best so it can fight off infections, similar to the one caused by COVID-19. Sleep is also one of the best ways to keep your stress levels at bay. When you are sleep deprived, you are more sensitive to the negative effects of stress (e.g. overreactions). Finally, your brain needs sleep to function well. Without quality sleep, you'll be easily distracted, impatient and prone to making poor decisions. Plus, you'll be irritable, moody and emotional. Stay Active Spending more time at home doesn't give you a free pass for the 24/7 Couch Potato life. Regular physical activity keeps both your body and mind in shape. In terms of physical health, it reduces your risk for chronic health issues, such as COVID-10. On the other side of the spectrum, exercise also releases endorphins (aka the happy hormones), sharpen your focus and helps you get some quality sleep. When you exercise regularly, you reduce your risk for mood disorders while empowering yourself with boosts of happy energy. If you're not a big fan of HIIT and other gym-like training, skip, jump and dance - get silly and fun with your exercise. Do anything that keeps you moving. Say No to Mindless Snacking Since you're often at home, you are always within close range of the fridge or snack drawer. Snacking might seem like the best form of self-care, but it's not the healthiest. Instead of always satisfying your appetite, avoid mindless snacking. Rather than impose strict rules on off-limit food items, practice intuitive eating. It's not very limiting like a regular diet. Instead, it focuses on giving your body what it needs when it needs it. Listen to your body and pay attention to what you need at the moment. Is it time for a snack or a meal? Eat when you feel hungry, not when you're bored. Stop eating when you're full and eat again when your stomach asks you to. Give Yourself a Meditation Break You don't need a special place for this one: you can meditate anytime, anywhere. When you meditate, you focus your mind for a certain time. Think of it as a short and quiet break from work and chores. When you practice meditation, you reduce your stress levels, as well as ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Meditation also gives you space to reflect and regulate negative thinking. If you're looking for another way to combat stress, add meditation to your to-do list for the day. Deep breathing combined with a couple of meditation apps can help you build a bubble of calm. Call a Family Member or a Friend Everyone's practicing social distancing right now. But that doesn't mean you can't talk or see any of your loved ones. Thanks to technology, you can still stay in touch with your family and friends. Make it a habit to talk to someone, even if it's online. Talking to someone helps you release pent-up emotions due to current anxieties. A loved one will not just only listen to your problems; they can also offer advice, insight and encouragement - words that will affirm you. Make Time for Doing Things You Love Most people are working remotely at home. Work from home is convenient but the lines between work and home become blurred. There are times you end up working overtime or trying to combine chores with work-related tasks. At the end of the day, you're exhausted. Give yourself a break. Don't hesitate to do things that reduce your stress levels. Binge-watch Christmas Friends episodes, play Among Us with friends or read a book to quiet your mind. No matter what your go-to de-stress activity is, dedicate a portion of your time to it. Even the best people need a break. COVID-19 may have turned the world upside down, but it doesn't have to do the same to you. Give yourself some extra love by practicing the self-care tips mentioned above and stay safe.