Practicing Self-Care in Isolation
When we think of self-care, the first image that comes to our minds is a bubble bath, candles, and a glass of wine. But the idea of self-care is much more than that. Don’t get me wrong—if a bubble bath, candles, and a glass of wine are things that help relax you and make you feel good, by all means do those things! However, there are also a lot of other ways that you can practice self-care in these stressful times that you may not have thought about while you are in isolation.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
The situation the world is in right now is scary and stressful and maddening, so it is okay to feel scared and stressed and angry! If you allow yourself to feel your feelings, you are better able to identify what is making you feel that way so you are able to cope with the situation. I know this sounds a bit obvious, but just let it out!
Limit your News Intake
While you absolutely should stay informed about what is happening in the world right now, try to limit your news intake to one reputable news source. If there are important developments, a reputable source will surely be reporting on it. The problem with seeking out multiple sources is that you will often see the same stories over and over and over again (as well as sensationalist stories to get clicks), adding to your stress and anxiety about the situation. As tempting as it is, try not to stay glued to your newsfeed. Just to take a look at it a couple of times a day to stay well informed.
This can also equate to limiting your time on social media in general. While it is easy to sit and scroll on your phone for hours because there isn’t much else to do (I’m guilty of this as well), you will often come across a lot of people posting about how bored/stressed/angry they are, as well as possible misinformation about COVID-19, which can feed your own boredom/stress/anger.
Control What You Can
A lot of negative feelings in this time are related to a perceived lack of control, so instead of focusing on what you can’t control, try focusing on things that you can control. Clean your closet, organize the bookcase, weed the garden, bake something, etc…. Controlling the heck out of this small stuff will help you feel grounded.
Keep to a Regular Schedule
I have come to find that my time in isolation has felt a bit like that week between Christmas and New Years. Time seems irrelevant and it is easy to get sucked into a nonexistent schedule of sleeping, eating, and sleeping again. To maintain a sense of normalcy, it helps to keep a regular schedule. Wake up at about the same time, eat your meals at normal times—you get it. Then, when this crisis is over and we are able to emerge from our homes, it won’t be such a shock getting back to our normal routines.
Helping others is one of the biggest mood boosters there is. While it seems difficult to help people when we are supposed to be staying away from people, there are a few ways you can help out that take little to no contact. If you are going to venture out to the grocery store, check in with elderly neighbors to see if they need anything. Getting necessities was already difficult for our elderly population, and the current crisis has made it even more so. It only takes a minute to call or drop a note in their mailbox offering help, and they will surely appreciate it. Check in on your extrovert friends over FaceTime or Skype, because I can guarantee you that they are craving social contact. This could also be a great time to take in a foster pet, as adoption rates have gone down dramatically. Look around in your neighborhood for these little ways you can contribute to the cause, because we are all in this together.
This one is small, but very important. We all have a heightened awareness about washing our hands, and all that extra contact with hot water, soap, and alcohol based sanitizers can quicklyy take a toll on the skin on your hands. Use a hand cream or body moisturizer a few times a day to keep the skin from getting cracked and itchy. Over-dry hands are not pleasant.
Escape Reality for a Bit
In times like this, we need a bit of escapism more than ever, and it is okay to duck out of reality for a little bit. Read a book, play a video game, or binge watch your favorite television show without guilt! You deserve to be able to relieve your mind with a bit of distraction.
Even if it just for five minutes in a day, it is good to sit down and clear your mind for a moment. If you aren’t well practiced in meditation, try finding a guided meditation on YouTube. Trust me, it really helps.
Self-care is possibly the most important thing you can do for yourself during this time. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t care for others effectively, so don’t feel guilty about taking a few minutes for yourself during the day.
And, as always, GGC is here to help support our community through hope, love, and acceptance. Tell us what kind of things you do to practice self-care at home!