Practicing Self-Care while “Safer at Home”

Practicing Self-Care while “Safer at Home”
March 26, 2020 Kim Goldman

What is self care

We’ve all heard or casually used the term “self – care,” but what does it really mean and how do we actually practice it?

“Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.”

So, honest answer, do you do this?  It’s easy to forget to take care of ourselves in the hustle and bustle of our everyday routine; we all manage to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom but we now know that self-care is a much bigger deal than we thought!  With all the extra stress around us these days, it’s incredibly important to make sure that we are taking care of our physical health and our mental health.

Here are some easy reminders and tips that you and your family can do to practice healthy self-care:

What is self care

  • Take care of our bodies

    • Drink plenty of water! Yes, we all thought there would be shortage of toilet paper, but now we know there is plenty to go around, SO DRINK UP!
    • Make sure you eat right. It’s easy to skip meals, but doing just that or not eating the right foods can lead to fatigue, low energy levels, or headaches. A proper balance of carbs (yes, carbs!), protein, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats, can provide you with the balance your body needs to stay nourished and helps you stay energized and stabilizes your mood.
    • Get plenty of zzzzzz’s. We’ve all joked that “sleep is overrated” but let’s be honest, sleep needs to be top rated!  Getting plenty of rest (7 – 8 hours a night is recommended) allows your body to recover and rejuvenate and for your brain to refuel and repair itself, which creates less anxiety, balanced moods and better memory. And yes for many of us, it’s hard to turn off the day’s stressors; here are a few ideas to help unwind before you crawl into bed:  meditate, setting a digital curfew or better yet leave the devices out of arms reach, avoid caffeine late in the day, no heavy meals before slumber, gentle stretching or light yoga.
    • Exercise is a great way to keep our mind and body balanced and strong.  Even though we may not be able to go to our favorite class at the gym, or attend yoga at our neighborhood shala, or hike along our favorite trail, there are still plenty of ways to stay active while at home.  You know you have a stationary bike somewhere under that pile of clothes, a set of weights from your 2008 New Years resolution or you can just look to the internet, specifically YouTube, Facebook and Instagram LIVE, where you will find oodles of dance and exercise videos and/or classes to help you stay motivated and active right from your living room.  So get out your leg warmers, pump up the jams and “Let’s Get Physical”
  • Meditate

    • You don’t have to be an adult, a yoga guru or be into any of that “fru fru” stuff to recognize the benefits of meditation and the role it plays in reducing stress and anxiety and returning our body, mind and soul to a more balanced state. But what is meditation really? “Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.” Seems easy enough!  But if you don’t already practice this on your own … here are some great tips/apps to help you get started: 1) Meditation Exercises ….. 2) List of the “Best Meditation Apps” ….. 3) Techniques for Beginners
  • Make the new found extra time your best friend

    • Take a bath, with bubbles!
    • Give yourself and your loved ones a manicure or pedicure
    • De-clutter! Time to tackle the closets, organize the junk drawer, create a filing system for the stack of paperwork on the counter in your kitchen, start a donation pile for all those toys your kids will never use (better yet, invite your kids to make a pile of the items they don’t want/need anymore and donate them to a worthy cause)
    • Embrace a hobby (knitting, drawing, jewelry making, whittling, painting, writing, scrapbooking)
    • Teach yourself to cook or bake. Include ALL the members of your family. Get creative and share recipes with friends.
    • Have a 4pm dance party every day (even if you live alone!)
    • Take up gardening
    • Read a book
    • Listen to a podcast
    • Limit the murder mystery and depressing documentaries you watch and turn on the nature channel
    • Step outside for at least 60 minutes a day
    • ENGAGE WITH OTHER PEOPLE.  It is really important to stay connected, even though we have to maintain social distancing … there are so many ways to keep in touch with those we love
    • Journal.  Keep a diary of your thoughts, feelings, be as reflective and honest as you can be with yourself
  • Be kind to yourself and those around you

    • You are not alone in this. The whole world is in the same boat but everyone experiences and processes things a little bit different, it doesn’t mean we are not feeling something we may just show it in our own unique way
    • Ask for help. Share your concern/fear/hope with others. Open your heart to those that struggle with articulating their feelings. Try not to minimize or dismiss other people’s feelings
    • Check in on the younger ones in your house.  Just because they are “kids” and may not feel the stress of being laid off, or the worry of where the next meal will come from, they absolutely FEEL the stress.  Their worlds have been turned upside down too – and while they may not know HOW to express it, they definitely know something isn’t right. Be brave and have the hard conversations and remember, a good hug goes a long way! And don’t forget to help them with self-care too – make it a family thing!
    • Be patient, be compassionate, be honest (age appropriate), find the humor, find the silver lining.

What is self care

It is really easy to isolate during uncertain times … part of self-care is also recognizing our triggers and where we are vulnerable, and when we need help.  The hard part is asking for it. If you find yourself struggling, try and reach out to someone close to you (or to us here at the Youth Project) and let others be of service.  Maybe create a code word or code emoji with someone that you trust, that you can text if you need an extra bit of love one day without having to say the words out loud.

And don’t forget to check in your friends and loved ones; we can’t always assume that when others are hurting that they feel strong enough to ask for support, we have to be willing to put ourselves out there too.  Social distancing really means, physical distancing; STAY ENGAGED!

There is no right or wrong way to practice “safer at home” – but we need to help one another stay afloat, stay connected, to help reduce anxiety and panic, and to spread love and toilet paper to everyone we know.

Deep breaths and baby steps.

We got this.

We got you.

We got each other.

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