A Closer Look At Self-Care During COVID-19
During this pandemic many of us have had to take our work home with us, and now that children are returning to school they will be, too. Everybody is at home battling with their own stress, so dealing with others too can be tough. It becomes more daunting when days just can’t seem to go right. You know what I am talking about. Confined within the same four walls everyday can start to feel as if they are closing in when there is so much that “has” to be done. By that time, anxiety rises, motivation withers and you want to throw your hands up, curl up in bed and eat your favorite dessert, mine is ice cream, while watching Netflix wishing all deadlines and projects go away.
We’ve all been there but during the pandemic it has a chance to happen a lot more often. The reality is we will be knocked off our square and being able to recognize when we are knocked off, provides us an opportunity to realign with our internal self. Without peace, we can’t think straight. Without thinking straight, let’s be honest, we’re no help to anyone, including ourselves. So what can we do to quiet the madness inside and keep our hands from ripping out our hair? (Though I’m bald already.) We must incorporate activities that bring us peace during our work day, and practice them daily. Practicing these activities daily ensures they become second nature and ensures the practice of self-care, which some would say we need more than ever. The holy grail to the consistent high level productivity you expect from yourself is self-care. Take care of your body, mind, and spirit, and in turn, they will take care of you. The key is to understand that you must give to yourself before you give yourself to others. Sounds too simple? Perhaps, but it is as easy as making a choice.
If you’re looking for ideas to recenter yourself and allow time to recharge and re-calibrate yourself to be the best you for others read the following suggestions and see what works best for you.
Meditation: a way to really center yourself is finding a relaxing spot, sitting down, closing your eyes and just breath. It may not make sense since most of us have a million thoughts passing by, but next time, sit down and focus on your breathing in and out while observing your thoughts as they come and go. This will clear the fog in your mind and has been proven to reduce anxiety while boosting clarity.
Self Talk: You ever wake up in the morning, stub your toe, and the first thoughts you have are unhappy? Those negative thoughts can create a snowball effect with the expectation that the rest of the day will be a bad day. I invite you to wake up and before you grab your phone or think of the million and one things you have to do that day, to write down or say to yourself at least three things you are grateful for and try this for at least 10 days. Practicing gratitude opens the door to more and better relationships, improves physical and psychological health, enhances empathy, reduces aggression, and improves sleep and self-esteem.
Being totally focused on what’s in front of you: I know a lot of people take pride in being multi-taskers but I will, respectfully, ask you guys to cut the crap. That may be one of the reasons why you feel overwhelmed at times. You don’t need to do it all at once. Take the most important task in front of you and put all of your focus on it and finish it before moving to the next one. You will experience a dramatic change in your productivity.
These are only a few options out of thousands to choose from. I invite you to begin thinking about what you can do for yourself. In this productive society we are constantly thinking about what we can do better at work, for our family, and for our friends. Now it’s the time to think about the most important person — yourself. Take care of yourself and enjoy the benefits of a more relaxed, centered you. I guarantee others will.
Written by Brandon Tyus, Policy and Community Program Associate