With the disruption, fear and chaos ensuing in the world right now, it can be challenging to maintain some balance in our lives and look after ourselves. It’s easy to become overly consumed by the harsh reality of this crisis including the sudden and drastic changes to our way of life which can quickly impact our ability to cope and stay emotionally and mentally healthy.
Here are some self-care tips to help you navigate these difficult times.
- Calm the mind. In times like these, the mind can run rampant filled with unproductive worry- worst case scenarios, what ifs and fear of the unknown. Turn off the TV, listen to some music, read, meditate, calm the racing thoughts and just breathe. Find time to give your mind a rest and an escape from the incoming information for a while.
- Exercise and enjoy nature. Social distancing doesn’t mean that you can’t take in the outdoors. When you can, get outside and inhale some fresh air. Get your body moving and get the blood flowing. Exercise releases endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin which all play a vital role in mood regulation.
- Attend to your feelings. The plethora of emotions that surface during times of crisis can quickly turn against us if left unattended. One of the strongest feelings that will rear during times of crisis and change is grief. As you adapt your life to a temporary new way of being, you will experience the pain of loss in many forms including lost opportunities, the loss of normalcy & familiarity and maybe lost income/finances to name a few. These feelings of grief and sadness need to be acknowledged and expressed so they don’t intensify and take a toll on your emotional and mental well-being. Seek healthy ways to acknowledge these important feelings and let them be processed.
- Maintain Normalcy and Familiarity. As we experience losses during these tough times, there are also familiar activities and routines that can be maintained. Don’t forget to continue on doing those things that haven’t changed and carry on as much normalcy as possible in your life. Aim to stay connected to your roots- maintain a connection with family & friends and follow your regular routine as best you can.
- Seek Meaning. In even life’s most difficult situations, there is always an opportunity to re-frame your perspective and seek out some sense of meaning and purpose. Although life has changed and there are some things you are unable to do, remember that there’s now an opportunity to explore new ways that you can fill that space. What are some projects, goals or plans that you have been putting off? Maybe it’s the perfect time to focus on those things that are important to you that you weren’t able to commit the time to before.
- Embrace the Simple. Along with a temporary restriction on some of our normal freedoms during these times comes the seemingly inconvenient necessity to move to a simpler way of living, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Actually, “Less” can have a positive impact on your wellbeing when embraced. For many this will mean Less rushing, Less monetary spending and Less time away from home and those we share our home life with. Look at is as a time to recharge, refresh and re-connect with the simpler aspects of life.
- Maintain Hope. Focus on what can raise your spirits and bring you up during these tough times versus what will bring you down. Catastrophizing (thinking the worst will happen) and trying to control that which is out of your control can wreak havoc on your emotional and mental health and is counter-productive to navigating these challenges in a healthy way. Do your best to stay safe, accept the reality of uncertainty and let go of the things which you can’t control….And always remain hopeful.
Be well and look after yourself,