We’re all dealing with new stresses, challenges, and realities as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. With everything that’s going on in the world right now it can feel trivial or wrong to make time to do something nice for yourself. Many of us feel guilty if we’re not focusing on our families. But the truth is, to be a good parent, caregiver, partner, or whatever your role may be, you have to take care of yourself first.
That’s the idea behind self-care: recharging our batteries so we can be there for ourselves and others. Self-care has real health benefits, and you can do it for next to nothing or free. The important part is carving time out in your day to focus on you. Here are a few ideas, big and small, you can put to use right away.
Try Guided Meditation
For some people, meditation is the opposite of relaxing – trying to quiet your mind can be a lot of work for many. Guided meditation is a more structured option where you listen to a narrator and follow their cues: they may ask you to imagine yourself in a beautiful landscape, take you on a journey of memory, or have you picture serenity flowing into your body. You can find thousands of options for free online, including a free trial on Headspace.
Take a Bubble Bath
Take a Bubble Bath When was the last time you took a bubble bath?
According to RealSimple, you can make a wonderful bubble bath out of common materials you probably already have at home, including honey, eggs, and liquid soap. Not into bubbles? Try a warm bath with Epsom Salt or a few drops of essential oil. Allow the water to soothe your muscles and your mind. Make the experience your own: light a candle, add some flowers, read a book or magazine...or just relax and do nothing at all.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Every day find a few quiet moments to think about, then write down, things that you’re thankful for. Nothing is too small: you can start with one or two statements like, “I’m grateful my kids are healthy,” “I’m thankful that my husband took out the trash for me,” or “I’m grateful that I get to watch my favorite TV show tonight.” Do it on a regular basis. After a while, you will surely notice how it changes the way you feel.
Don’t Put off Your Health Needs
Women usually put the needs of their families first and don’t make time to care for themselves. Men, on the other hand, often don’t make their health a priority. Now, more than ever, you need to be proactive about staying healthy. Make sure you are eating right, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep. If you are due for any regular screenings or require periodic check-ups to manage a chronic condition, talk to your doctor about any precautions you should take before visiting a medical site. You may be asked to go to a location you are not used to or see a different doctor, but it’s important to keep up with your preventative care.
Dance in Your Living Room
Get in your self-care and your cardio all at the same time. This one is so effective because when you dance or do anything that gets your heart rate up, your brain starts releasing endorphins, those chemicals that can make you feel happier. Don’t be shy: put on a few of your favorite tunes and start moving.
Show Your Feet a Little Love
Show Your Feet a Little Love A do-it-yourself pedicure is a relaxing way to reward your feet for all they do for you. Even if you don’t apply polish, a warm-water soak will feel heavenly. According to the principles of acupuncture and massage, the feet are home to pressure points or areas that correspond to other areas or systems of your body, which is why self-massage feels so good. Try using a golf or racquet ball to roll out the soles of your feet – you won’t believe how incredible it feels!
Drink a Cup of Tea
For centuries, people all over the world have used tea to help them feel peaceful, calm, and even fall asleep. If you can, create a beautiful ritual around a daily cup of tea – maybe it’s at the beginning of the day before anyone’s awake, or in the evening after everyone’s gone to bed. Read the label, since some teas contain caffeine, which can make you feel wired or nervous.
Make Your Favorite Smoothie
A special smoothie is a great way to get essential nutrients, but it also feels like you’re treating yourself. Bananas and strawberries make a thick, fiber-filled base. Then add other fruits and leafy, green vegetables like spinach or kale. For some healthy fat, you can also add nuts or a little nut butter. Freeze your fruit and skip the ice for a more flavorful experience. Top it off with a sprinkle of healthful cinnamon or nutmeg for a drink that’s so delicious, you won’t need to sweeten it with extra sugar.
Ask for the Help You Need
The best way to take care of yourself is to get the support you need from others. For many independent people, this can feel scary or weird. If you’ve always been the strong, reliable one, your family may not think you need help!
Start by using “I” statements. For example, “I’d love it if you could help me with the housework” or “I feel frustrated when I have to fold all the laundry myself.” If you’re living alone during this time of social distancing, use “I” statements to ask friends to chat via Zoom, FaceTime, or a phone call. For example, “I’d love to set aside time to catch up this week,” or “I’m feeling a little lonely, are you free to talk?”
You can also talk to AltaMed. We’re here to support you and your entire family’s health needs, from head to toe. We’re also stepping up our efforts in the community to support those who need it most. AltaMed has got your back, and we want you to take care of yourself – from the inside, out!