“Self-care is soul care,” popular Peloton instructor Tunde Oyeneyin likes to say. However, self-care can feel downright selfish with so much going on in the world. You may feel like you need to be doing something all the time, whether that’s working 24/7 in an effort to avoid job loss or helping the millions of people in need right now.
Here’s the thing, though: You can’t be on top of your game or help others if you don’t take care of yourself. During difficult times, like the ones we have faced during the pandemic, self-care is not selfish — it’s vital. Though there appears to be a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, many of us will be playing it safe and quarantining for at least the next couple of months. Consider this your quarantine self-care guide.
It can be difficult to prioritize yourself when your boss, family, and friends need you, but it’s essential that you do. Practicing self-care can help you manage stress, boost your emotional health, and even make you more able to help others. It can also help you focus better, increasing your efficiency and effectiveness at work and in your personal life.
Self-care can also trigger our relaxation response, a major stress reducer. Less stress often means more sleep, and that is good for our emotional and physical health.
Long story short, it’s tough to help other people or get your own work done if you’re stressed or physically ill. If you want to stay healthy, productive, and helpful, it’s critical to look out for your own well-being.
Lack of time is a huge obstacle people have to overcome when trying to practice self-care. However, it’s worth figuring out a way to work “me-time” into your schedule.
Forgoing self-care comes with a cost. Mitigating stress doesn’t just help us emotionally; it’s important for our physical health as well. Chronic stress can cause heart problems and poor dietary habits like overeating. It can even increase your risk for cancer, scientists say. All of this reduces our ability to live full, happy, and healthy lives.
You take time out of your day to eat, exercise, and see a doctor if necessary. Consider taking a break for self-care, just like you do for all the other small things that keep you healthy every day.
Self-care is often touted as a complicated, expensive process requiring spa appointments and shopping sprees. However, it can actually be quite simple, and you can do it from the safety and comfort of your home. Whether you have five hours or five minutes, here are a few simple quarantine stress-relief tips that don’t involve going anywhere.
- Phone a friend. We spend so much time texting and messaging one another on social media sites that we can forget the joys of a good old-fashioned phone. Just a few minutes with a friend can have a positively cathartic effect. A 10-minute gab session a few times per week can reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Consider having a standing phone date with a relative or reaching out to a different friend every week or so to check-in.
- Go for a walk. Okay, this one does involve leaving the house — but you don’t need to drive or take mass transit. A 2018 study suggested that walking for as little as 10 minutes can improve your mood, so lace up your sneakers and take a walk around the neighborhood.
- Meditate. Studies prove that meditation can reduce stress and improve well-being. Not sure how to begin? Apps like Headspace can help you get started.
- Get things in order. If you’re stressed about finances, self-care might include meeting with a financial advisor. Need to declutter? Try the KonMari method. Self-care isn’t just relaxation; it’s doing whatever you need to do to gain some peace of mind, even if that’s doing a little more to organize your life.
- Take up gardening. Gardening is proven to boost satisfaction and quality of life, so maybe it’s time to plant those peppers you’ve been thinking about. For those without a green thumb, consider low-maintenance plants like succulents.
- See a therapist. If your stress is impacting your day-to-day life, consider talking to someone. There are several ways to meet with a therapist, even during quarantine.
Self-care is not selfish. It’s necessary. Remember, you cannot help others unless you help yourself. Practicing self-care doesn’t have to be complicated, and you can still do it even while isolating during the pandemic. It’s fair to feel overwhelmed every now and again, especially after such a fraught year. You don’t have to go through this alone, and you don’t have to burn the midnight oil and neglect yourself to make an impact in difficult times.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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