While self-care may have been something people struggled with before the pandemic, the COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine have even more so affected the mental health of many Americans. The World Health Organization (WHO) has given us lots of information about how we can be #HealthyAtHome during COVID-19. But practicing self-care can be hard. Sometimes it may just seem completely exhausting when the thought of doing something that benefits ourselves comes to mind.
I know that for myself, I struggle to practice self-care on a daily basis. I am so busy with running errands, doing things for other people, and focusing on other things and I don’t stop and let myself have a break. The COVID-19 outbreak has changed the way the world operates and the way we live our lives. Many jobs have switched to working from home along with other platforms switching to online instead of in-person.
Self-care is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. There are so many ways we can practice self-care but finding the right one right now might be hard for some. Many public places such as restaurants, movie theatres, malls, and more are shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The inability to socialize as we once did just a few short months ago can and has been difficult for humans, who are at our cores, very social beings.
In a world where everyone feels isolated from each other, the ways we practice self- care on our own can be hard to do, however, there are multiple resources online that are available. Some of these include lists that provide different things that we can try to practice and choose from.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a helpful resource “Coping with Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19” on how we can take care of our mental health during the outbreak.
- Try to take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid excessive alcohol and drug use.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has also shared a continuously updated resource page that focuses on taking care of our mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic called “Emotional Wellbeing During COVID-19.”
Another thing that could try is journaling about your day. Journaling is a great tool because it allows you to get how you’re feeling out on the page in front of you. If getting into journaling seems hard, try to make it something that is a positive and safe space to go. Journaling may not be the thing for everyone, and that’s okay! Another thing you could try is to take a warm shower—this can help our bodies feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Watching our favorite television show can also boost our mood alongside listening to our favorite, uplifting songs.
During these times, it’s hard to be “perfect” about practicing self-care. It’s okay to give ourselves breaks when it comes to things that we are trying to handle. Learning to practice self-care in a way that works for you takes time. I look at it as being similar to a medication, or a type of treatment. Some things work for others and some don’t. It depends on the individual. Everyone is different, and that’s okay.
We all handle fear and anxiety differently-isolation makes these emotions harder to cope with. Consider reaching out to loved ones or friends during this time, as well. Though this isolation has been making many things difficult, there are many resources that can give us hope through this time.
If you find yourself struggling, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Text Line by Texting ‘HOME’ to 741-741. You’ll be linked with a crisis volunteer who will be there on the other side with you for whatever you need to talk with. Remember that you are never alone.