Self-Care During Tough Times
I am writing this article, after having been at home for the first 5 school days with all 4 of our kids. I wanted to make sure that during this extremely challenging time for everyone, that I was following through and doing the advice and tips myself on a daily basis. This is a very stressful time for everyone – and unprecedented in our times. We have never gone through anything like this as a modern global society before. We are in uncharted territory right now, which brings so much uncertainty which feels scary and overwhelming. I understand that services are closed now that were of great help and relief for many people, adding to an already stressful situation.
I am going to offer a few suggestions for things you can do that are all available free of charge and from anywhere, that I have been doing myself and found especially helpful during this time. Hopefully, some of these will work for you and can help with your mental health and well being. The more stressed that we are, the more important self care for yourself is. Now that we are stuck at home more, kids out of school, job concerns, caregiver concerns, financial worries, social isolation, etc., it becomes even more important to prioritize care for yourself or you will burn out. Our immune systems do not work efficiently when we are burned out and stressed. We need to fill our own tanks first, or you cannot be there for your loved ones to help and support them when needed. This does not have to be a big time commitment or financial investment either.
Start with sticking to some sort of a schedule. This might be a different schedule right now and that is ok. We have to be somewhat adaptable right now. Our schedule gives us some sort of comfort, certainty, and direction for the day. A schedule and routine are especially helpful for children or individuals that have challenges with flexibility and unpredictability. I have found that if I start my morning off right, I feel more prepared to be able to handle what comes during the day. Do something for yourself to start your day off the best that you can, some ideas are:
Move your body. Especially right now, there are so many free exercise programs online, this even includes yoga. Any form of movement is great. Just 10 minutes will make a huge difference for your state of mind.
Mindfulness. I know this word can be intimidating for a lot of people but really it’s very simple. It’s just about being present in the moment. This can be in the form of just sitting quietly by yourself. Just focusing on breathing, such as diaphragmatic breathing for about 5 to 10 minutes. This helps by giving your mind something to focus on, when you are counting your inhales and exhales. Even if you take just a couple minutes to breathe and sit by yourself, this is so beneficial for you. The morning can be a great time for this because it is harder to take time for yourself, especially if you have children as the days goes on.
Journalling. This can be a practice of gratitude. Start easy, with just 3 simple things that you are grateful for. If you can read this article, then that’s something to be grateful for, you can read! You can also use your journalling practice to get your thoughts and feelings onto paper. Even if you are feeling negative thoughts, it helps to write them down.
Reading. We live in an amazing time in that we have instant access to anything that we are interested in learning about. Take advantage of it. Find something that interests you and commit to reading everyday. Find the time that works best for you. Even if you get 5 minutes to read every day, that adds up. Reading is such a great way to increase your knowledge, learn something new or just entertain yourself with a fun book.
Fun. Do something that you enjoy everyday. Maybe this is listening to music, singing, dancing, baking, cooking, listening to podcasts or just watching a show that makes you laugh and feel good. A hobby that you enjoy. A lot of us have more time on our hands right now at home, maybe you always wanted to start drawing, sewing, the list is endless for hobbies to do or start a new one.
Spiritual connection. This can be so many different things. Do what works for you and what you believe it. This might be a prayer that you say. It could be a meditation practice. It might be a walk in nature. Even now with social distancing, we can still go on walks. If you have a dog, getting outside walking the dog, gives you and the dog exercise and being in nature is so beneficial for our mental health and well being. There is so many studies about the amazing and powerful benefits of just getting outside. Best of all, it is free!
Connection with loved ones. This is challenging right now with social distancing and isolating ourselves. It is even more important to connect with loved ones when we are stressed and feel isolated. With social media, you can connect at all times with loved ones. Pick up the phone and actually speak to someone that you care about and haven’t spoken to on the phone for a long time. Just hearing a loved ones voice can make your day. Use Skype or so many of the social media options to connect with someone that you care about daily.
At the same time, it can be challenging to be stuck in the same house with loved ones right now. Practicing patience, self care for yourself, compassion and empathy for one another and especially for yourself. We are all going through this hard and stressful time and we will get through this with helping each other. You are doing the best that you can right now. Reach out when you need help, there is so many people that want to help right now. I hope some of these tips will help you. Take care of yourself!
My name is Laurie Moser, and I have been teaching fitness classes for over 5 years now. I am
certified with the AFLCA in Older Adult and Group Exercise Mind & Body, and am also certified in
teaching people with Parkinson’s. I love teaching and helping people to feel better by moving their
bodies and changing their states. I believe that fitness is about moving your body so that you can feel
stronger, healthier and better about yourself! This is so you can do the activities that you want to do in
life, such as hiking, biking, skiing, dancing, playing with your kids or whatever activity is important and
enjoyable for you! As a parent of 4 children, I know that a good fitness level will help to improve your
overall quality of life. Fitness should be fun and something that you enjoy. I believe that everyone can
find some activity and form of movement that works for them – fitness is inclusive and meant for
everyone and every age and every level.