It’s been nearly two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s clear to see how much it has changed our way of life forever! From our work and school arrangements to our recreational activities and social lives. We have witnessed how this new normal has posed a unique set of challenges for everybody including increased anxiety and stress.
Self-care is essential
Practicing self-care is more essential now than ever when it comes to taking care of our emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being and it does not have to be time-consuming or costly. Many things can get in the way of us taking care of ourselves such as work, family obligations, social commitments and more.
However, but you should remember to take a little bit of time throughout your day for your self-care and to focus on what makes you feel nourished and whatever gives meaning to your life. This may help in tackling feelings of anxiety and stress and may give us a more of a solid foundation.
Self-care versus self-soothing
Firstly, it is important to understand the difference between self-care and self-soothing. Self-soothing tends to be doing things that help us feel good in the moment and may be beneficial to our well-being when done in moderation. For example, indulging in some cookies and cream ice-cream while you binge your favourite Netflix series or a few glasses of cab sav while you catch up with your girlfriends.
On the other hand, self-care is more about doing things that we may not want to do but are beneficial to us in the long run. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines self-care as behaviours one does to ensure they take care of their health and this may include hygiene, nutrition, leisure activities, sports, exercise and seeking professional healthcare services. These may include numerous practices that you find enjoyable and promotes your physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Self-care tips and tricks
When it comes to taking care of your health and well-being here are some suggestions that may help you, directly and indirectly, cope during these uncertain times such as:
This is pretty much always a part of the answer, as getting enough good quality sleep keeps your immune system running at its optimum and it has also been proven to be one of the most effective ways of keeping stress at bay.
During the pandemic, we have been encouraged to spend a lot of time at home, but this does not necessarily mean being a couch potato. Finding ways to stay active through at-home exercises or walks within your neighbourhood is beneficial to your physical health and may also help to lower your chances of acute illnesses such as COVID-19. Exercising also help to increase energy levels and release feel-good hormones such as endorphins which help to boost your sense of well-being.
Another huge contributor to our health and well-being are our diets. Giving our bodies what it needs includes a balanced diet that does not restrict any of the food groups nor deprives yourself of the occasional Snickers bar.
Prayer & MeditationLastly, taking time to meditate, pray or journal for even 15 minutes a day contributes significantly to your spiritual well-being and helps to feed the soul. It has also been proven to help reduce anxiety and other mental health illnesses.
Omicron and staying safe
I’m sure you’ve heard these a hundred times already times but this is your 101st reminder to take the precautionary measures during this COVID-19 pandemic because these are also inclusive of self-care. The new Omicron variant is speculated to become the dominant strain and as scientists are trying to understand its behaviour better the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) case report gives the following guidelines to protect yourself. These include:
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19
Get a vaccine booster if you are already vaccinated
Avoid crowded indoor settings
Make sure to wear an N95 mask in public settings
The vaccines are there to help protect against COVID-19, including severe illnesses and death but no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing illness, so it is still imperative to take other preventative measures. It is also important to seek information about the virus from trusted sources such as WHO and CDC.
Remember, self-care is not selfish!
Looking after your physical health is just as important as looking after your mental health. Taking care of ourselves and our needs enables us to take care of others and show up for all the other people in our lives. Being diligent in how we strive for holistic self-care during these times should be a top priority. It is okay to take time to yourself, take a break and conserve your energy for things that nurture your mind, body and soul.