As we all struggle through the lockdown/curfew and various other COVID-19 restrictions, it has become essential that we follow some practical and useful advice from reliable sources about our mental health too. To begin with, this loss of routine and control is annoying and can set in anxiety and sometimes depression. We must thus focus on the things that we can control, like maintaining a new routine, practicing good hygiene, and trying to stay connected with loved ones across physical distancing.
Importance of Self-Care
Self-care is essential for daily life and general mental health. However, during such times of unprecedented situation where we face extreme and hence unknown stress, the need for self-care becomes even more imperative.
Self-care is often the first casualty when life takes an unexpected and stressful turn. We tend to feel that making time for ourselves is selfish. However, we must realize that looking after our wellbeing helps us get through a challenging time, and thus assist us to take better care of others. Amidst the confusion and endless stream of information due to the pandemic, it becomes crucial that everyone has self-care plans that help in achieving and maintaining focus, and stay mentally and physically healthy.
As they famously announce in flights for safety- “We advise you to please put your oxygen mask first before trying to help others!” This highlights the importance of self-care – we must look after ourselves first to be able to help others.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care consists of all the activities and practices that a person needs to engage in regularly to maintain and sustain our wellbeing. It helps to prevent stress and anxiety. Once we incorporate self-care activities into our daily schedule, like daily hygiene, nutrition, going for a walk, exercise as per your health status, remaining in touch with friends and family online or via phones. Self-care consists of rest and rejuvenation so that one can avoid or reduce stress and anxiety.
Self-care can make anyone more alert and active. Taking time for yourself leads to more energy, more concentration, and more mental peace to meet the increased demands of daily life in such a global calamity. It can make each one of us more productive and resilient to stressful thoughts.
How to create a plan
The most basic steps towards creating a personalized self-care plan are:
- Make a realistic evaluation of your various coping skills
- Identifying daily self-care needs and their frequency
- Reflection about what is mandatory and what isn’t
- Creating a self-care plan with existing resources at your disposal
In the unprecedented times of the coronavirus pandemic, lives are slower and quieter, maybe but are far from calm mostly. So, much is happening simultaneously, there are so much online buzz and activity, and yet loneliness is also growing.
Social distancing for all and self-quarantine for most are essential steps that we must take as responsible global citizens to contribute our bit in putting brakes at this monster. Still, all of this can majorly impact our mental health. Lockdowns can make one feel less productive and lonely.
So how can this self-care be achieved, staying home:
- Find a Balance
Even if working from home is the norm for most now, it is a must to separate your work life from your family or self-time. Increasingly you would find that the line between work and home and family gets blurred. The screens are always on, and the gadgets keep pinging. In such a scenario, it becomes even more imperative to have a healthy work-life balance. Segregate hours of the day for work and self or family time, work from home doesn’t mean working round the clock.
- Extending horizons
Those who are working from home professionally and those who are just doing household and family work all need to take breaks in between. In order to focus properly and increase your productivity as well as creativity, the human mind needs relaxation as a must too. Like any other gadget that heats up after being “on” for hours at a stretch, if you don’t do something to de-stress you, it can lead to a quick burnout. If you are a professional working from home, take regular breaks from your workspace you are someone doing other jobs around the house and family, step away too, take up the hobby you never had time for, spend some “me-time” or if you have the energy and resources learn a new skill.
- Cut down stress
It is a lot of work not to feel overwhelmed in these times. Take control of your stress. Because everything impacts us all differently, we must find our stressors. Some statistics about the pandemic can be triggering anxiety for others; they can bring the hope of survival. One must manage and reduce whatever gives you stress, especially of the negative kind. So whatever brings it for you like news or Whatsapp forwards, cut it down.
- Embrace your human vulnerability
All humans can have peculiar feelings and hence different reactions to the same situations. While it is essential to be kind and compassionate towards others in these tough times, some compassion must be extended to ourselves self too. It is okay to make small everyday mistakes, try not to repeat them. Look at these as lessons. Try to be forgiving and more accepting. Non-judgmental behavior is the need of the hour.
The pandemic is one of the toughest challenges humanity has faced in recent times, let’s look after ourselves and hence reduce the global burden of the calamity.
Featured Image Credits: Wikimedia