According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 750,000 people have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have lost family members and friends, faced job loss and insecurity, and have had no choice but to adapt to a constantly changing public and political landscape.
Now more than ever, it is important that we engage in activities that promote our own health and well-being. How can we do this? One way that we can support ourselves in the age of COVID-19 is by practicing self-care.
What is self-care?
Self-care is exactly what it sounds like- taking care of yourself. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), self-care is “taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health.”
Self-care covers many different domains, including sleep, nutrition, socialization, relaxation, and hygiene. Self-care can help us manage the increased stress and anxiety that has accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Paula Gill Lopez of Fairfield University divides self-care into three categories – emotional self-care, physical self-care, and spiritual self-care. It is important to take care of ourselves in ways that support our minds, bodies, and souls.
You can practice engaging in self-care in the following ways:
- Improve your sleep – develop a bedtime routine. Rid your sleep space of distractions, avoiding phone or TV use right before bed. Practice going to bed at the same time each night, and wake up at the same time each morning.
- Exercise – engage in some form of exercise a few times a week. Go for a walk or run, follow along with an online yoga class, or attend an exercise class at your local gym or community center.
- Nutrition – Reflect on how the food you consume is impacting you physically. Eat food that makes you feel good! Balance your diet, eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy protein. Drink water regularly.
- Spend time outdoors – take regular walks, sit outside, or visit a local park or green space.
- Mindfulness and meditation – take time each day to practice mindfulness. Practice deep-breathing. Try journaling – set aside a few minutes to write about your day. Follow along with a guided meditation video or audio-recording.
Remember – we are all unique. Some forms of self-care may provide relief for some people, and some may not. Do not be discouraged! It may take some time to find which practices are right for you.
Are you looking for additional support practicing self-care or managing anxiety or stress? Contact us today.