Health & Well-Being
i am you...and you are me.
If you were like me at the beginning of the pandemic, working from home was great at first. You got to sleep in. You got to hit..."reset". But, nearly two months later, what now? Has the COVID-19 pandemic got you feeling overwhelmed? Are you an extrovert craving interaction/intimacy and being in the house is driving you crazy? Read on for how the pandemic is affecting all of us and what self-care has begun to look like for me.
I remember my first check-in with my therapist after starting to work from home. I was all smiles and was just like "Oh, this is great. We should work from home everyday." Due to my lack of self-care and busy lifestyle prior to the outbreak, getting home was a much needed break from everything. That didn't last, though. When I talk to my therapist next week, I really think I might actually scream. It's official y'all. Ya girl is going crazy.
There are a lot of feelings COVID-19 is stirring in everybody. So, if you're reading this...it's not just you. It's not just me. We're all in the house. We're all ready for outside to open again. We're all ready for some...normalcy. Will we ever get it though? That's perhaps the scariest part of being inside...not knowing what's happening and what the future now means. Furthermore, in a world where we are so used to being "busy" and "running"...COVID-19 has literally forced all of us to be still...with who we really are-the good, the bad, and the ugly.
How are you handling your 'ugly'? Because I've pretty much chalked up my darkest self to being G-H-E-T-T-O. With a light shown on my baggage, insecurities, anxieties, and recurring depression....it's hideous. And it's become NECESSARY for me to stay sane, true to myself, and speaking kind things over me.
With the pandemic supplying never-ending and enormous amounts of new information 24/7, it is so, SO important to pause daily, tune into your thoughts, and reach a calm. It is even more important to validate your feelings, because it is COMPLETELY normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed during uncertain times. Recognize and affirm your emotions. These emotions might look like fear, anger, anxiety, sadness, helplessness, unmotivation, fatigue, and/or sleeplessness.
The point is...getting to know and taking care of yourself during this time is essential.
Here is what self-care has begun to look like for me and tips to take care of yourself:
1. Create a COVID-19 schedule/routine. If you're a planner like me, COVID has probably sent you reeling. But, this is an opportunity to take some sense of certainty back and gain a bit of control. Experts say establishing a consistent daily/weekly routine is a way for people to cope with our current isolation. Thanks to my therapist, I got my sense of control through a morning and nightly routine. Currently, my morning routine consists of: 1) Wake up at 6:30-7am, 2) Workout, 3) Pray 4) Shower/Skincare Routine, 5) Record goals and things to do for the day, 6) work from home. My bedtime routine consists of: 1) Phone on DND at 9pm, 2) Skincare Routine, 3) Write at least three things in my gratitude journal, 4) Prayer, 5) Journal, write, read, or do a Sudoku puzzle before going to sleep.
2. Get moving. It goes without saying that exercise is important anyway. But, what better time to tune in more to your health than getting physically active. With gyms closed, get moving outside. Exposing your body to sunlight during this time is a great way to get and produce more Vitamin D, improve your mood, feel more creative, and engage in some quality time with friends and family.
3. Relax and take deep breaths. You'd be surprise how much we tense our muscles and actually hold our breath. Take this time inside to notice where you are tense and why. For me, I've specifically noticed that I carry my tension in my shoulders and glutes, in efforts to not "take up space". And I hold my breath under times of extreme anxiety. Where are you holding back? Why are you not breathing? I challenge you to take a few deep breaths before you start your day or go to sleep. Taking these breaths will slow your heart rate, allowing more oxygen to enter your body and your body to relax. And "relaxing" gets those "feel good" chemicals (endorphins) going. So, take up space sweetie, relax,...and breathe.
4. Avoid excessive risky behaviors as coping skills for boredom or loneliness. When we were away from home, we had time AWAY from our vices. Work and being "busy" was....a distraction. A vice can be anything that destroys us such as: toxic people, exes, sex, alcohol, smoking, pornography. During this pandemic, it can be easy to slip into old, destructive habits because you don't have anything to do or you're craving some form of intimacy. But sis, don't do it. Trust me. And don't force anything. Check in with yourself, remember your growth, lean into some safe friends/family to let them know when you're struggling, and keep going.
5. Sharpen yourself. Perhaps there's a book you've always wanted to read, but never had the time. Or maybe there's finally time to learn about something you've always be interested in. The pandemic has unleashed unlimited opportunity for us to catch up on awesome podcasts (Sword and Scale, The Sexually Liberated Woman, and Wrongful Conviction), Audiobooks (Think Rich, Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman), and Reads (IT by Stephen King, Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner, and Relationship Goals by Michael Todd). Everyone is spending their time in different ways during the pandemic...doing/feeling different things. If you'd like to lean into being my productive, take this time to check out your local library's audiobooks or sign up for a free class on Coursera.org or check out free classes offered by IVY league schools here.
6. Strengthen your faith. Remember during this time...fear and faith...CANNOT coexist. So, which one will you choose? No one anticipated this. No one knew students around the world would be shaken-unable to walk across stages after their hard work, unable to attend proms, unable to spend their last few months with the people they started their academic journey with. No one knew parents would now have to understand the teacher's struggle, filling their shoes. No one knew victims would literally...now be forced to be at home with their abuser. No one knew...children...would start dying. No one knew...job offers would be start rescinding. No one knew...anything. We still don't. But, now is not a time to be afraid. Rest assured that everything...is still everything. Everything...happens for a reason. So, no matter where your faith lies...no matter your religion...believe in the power of your faith. Believe in the power of God, prayer, and manifestation. Looking for ways to worship? Check out Brookland Baptist Church, Elevation Church, and/or Transformation Church. Looking for a faith-based podcast? Check out The Faith & Mental Wellness Podcast.
7. Head to therapy. Y'all are going to get sick of me saying "My therapist..." this and "My therapist..." that. But, I've been going to therapy since December and I LOVE IT. And it has done wonders for my emotional/mental health, learning how to set boundaries, and dealing with unresolved trauma. No matter what you may going through or what the pandemic is forcing you to see right now...there are professionals to help. And in this time, many professionals are offering help virtually. Invest in you. Invest in your healing. Invest in knowing...you're not alone, nor are you crazy. Going to therapy...is for everybody.
Looking for more ways to take care of yourself during COVID-19? Check out CDC Recommendations here. Remember, it is important to take in all news regarding COVID-19 from trusted sources and health professionals ONLY.