Self-care in times of pandemic
We are living in very difficult times. We need to adjust to a different World, different household structure, work schedule, partnership, and parenthood. Many of us struggle with acceptance and fitting in to this unusual life demands. In order to feel “normal” we try different things: some of us try to focus on our physical health and how to continue every day workout routines or exercise schedules, others meditate, organize their home office or spend time outside. However, I believe that on the top of our current self-care list should not only be a physical care but also our mental health.
For many of us this is a week two of a mandatory quarantine. We have been home with our partners, children, and bosses through video meetings. Isolation at home has become our new normal. However, this new normal may lead to increase anxiety, overwhelming feelings, procrastination, and depression. A lot of people feel lonely and alone, as well as, stigmatized by the jobs they perform or countries they come from.
In order to cope with our struggles related to the Pandemic and the physical distancing (I think that “social distancing” has a negative connotation and we should use the word: physical distancing instead) we should take into consideration this few self-care suggestions:
1.Keep in touch with others.
Use Facetime, Messanger, Zoom and other online portals to connect with your loved ones, friends, families. You can even “go” to a Happy hours with your coworkers and meet at your living rooms. Humans need social interactions and sense of connectedness. Many of us who used to complain about the long lines at stores and busy traffic, now miss the smell of the city, busy streets, and crowded playgrounds. Even though we are physically isolated from each other, let’s not isolate mentally! The most important is the feeling that we are not alone!
2.Decrease the use of social media and avoid reading too much news.
Try to designate time of the day when you would read news. Read relevant information and avoid scrolling through different news channels or new portals. You are not going to feel better knowing the exact numbers of people being infected and hourly updates. Stay informed but use mindful moderation in the amount of information that you get. Stay away from overwhelming social media updates and anxiety provoking posts.
3.Get involved and help others.
You can join social programs designed to help other people by sawing face masks, using 3D printers, delivering groceries to older people, creating virtual play dates for kids, taking for walks neighbors’ dog etc. Sense of importance and purpose help to overcome anxiety and create more meaningful life.
4.Try to make a daily planner.
Sitting at home with your children should not be a reason to stay in your PJs for a whole day or to not wash your hair for a week. Get up, get dressed (even in your most fancy clothes), and start a day like you would normally do. Maybe you will get up a little later than usual, maybe you don’t need to rush as much, but still engage yourself in creating plan for a day. Maybe you have always wanted to learn how to speak Fresh – now is your time, maybe you have always wanted to start yoga – now is your time, maybe you have always wanted to make collages with your children or learn how to bake – now is your time.
Don’t forget that you need time for yourself. Your daily routines have changed, but you are still the same person. Even if your children are at home or you husband works from home, don’t forget about asking for help, taking a break, or spending an hour just by yourself. You deserve “me” time: to meditate, to calm down, debrief, and relax. Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t expect too much only because you are home. You don’t have to be a super mom or a super dad.
6.Don’t stop your therapy.
If you have a therapist, don’t stop your counseling. I know it is much harder to connect via video especially when your whole family is at home and you need to take care of everyone while still virtually working. Don’t stop! Therapy is is your time to vent, to get help, support, or encouragement. We, therapists are here for you so don’t hesitate to reach out to us anytime.
We are all in this together. It is time to adjust, to revaluate life, and to find a new normal. We need to stay strong and focus on making each day meaningful while being present and mindful!
If you need help of support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me: https://mainlineprocounseling.com