Self-care can feel like an aspirational buzzword while living in a pandemic. Whether you are working from home or juggling heading into the office with kids at home in virtual school, it can be hard to make time to take care of yourself.
And what is self-care, really? So often, people describe self-care as a quick bubble bath or that extra piece of chocolate after dinner; it is that little treat to self! It certainly can be these things, but for many people, once the bubble bath is over, you realize you are just as stressed out as before you dove under those bubbles. While self-care looks a little different for everyone, it’s not just the nice little treats or things we can do for ourselves throughout the day.
Self-care is making intentional choices about how we care for ourselves and move through our days.
Top Five Tips for Self-care Beyond the Bubble Bath
- Set Boundaries
For many during this pandemic, working from home can start to feel more like living at work. Set boundaries around your routine and schedule. This might mean putting away the work email after a set time. This might mean saying “no” to that Zoom Happy Hour with old friends after a long day of screen time. Whatever it is for you, recognize that living and working from home often requires new boundaries on personal and professional time.
- Check in with Yourself Throughout the Day
Take some time during the day between work calls or managing kids to check in with yourself and your breath. It is easy to get caught up in the day and forget to use the little moments between events to check in, make sure you are taking some deep breaths, and observe what you are feeling in your body.
- Move Your Body
Making time to move your body might be especially challenging as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder. Setting aside just 15 minutes to get outside for a walk in fresh air can drastically impact your mood and help shift perspective.
- Create a Routine
It can be especially hard to create a routine and any semblance of a schedule when the days start to blur together. However, creating a routine that includes consistent wake up and bedtimes for you and your family, as well as helpful “to do” lists for each day can help you manage your time and have a better idea of daily expectations.
- Words of Affirmation
Remember that you are currently living in the collective trauma of a pandemic; having grace and kindness for yourself is critical. Find an affirmation that speaks to you. Remind yourself of this throughout the day. Affirmations can be phrases such as, “I am okay. I am safe. I can do this. I know this is temporary.”
Written by Paige Zorniker, LPC, C.A.S.E. Adoption-Competent Therapist