Almost across the board, I have seen an increase in overall anxiety in my clients as the coronavirus takes over the United States. As more businesses close and people are forced to stay home, routines will be upended, family dynamics will intensify and normal life will be put on pause. In times like this, self-care is so incredibly important because it is easier to focus on the chaos, the anxiety and the stress than to take a pause to focus on ourselves.
Self-care is a topic that is thrown around in popular culture and usually entails taking a nice warm bath, meditating or doing your nails. Now, all of these things can certainly be an act of self-care, but I want to expand our definition to include things that are not necessarily calming, but still very necessary in terms of keeping ourselves healthy. Things like opening up a window while you work from home, setting a limit to the number of minutes you spend on social media or creating a schedule for you and your family to adhere to, are all acts of self-care. They help you set boundaries, feel in control during a confusing and chaotic time, and allow you to continue to function outside of your normal routine.
Change is incredibly difficult to tolerate, and right now it feels like the world as we know it has literally come to a halt. While it may seem challenging to determine what you need right now, it will be important to take some time to think about it. Bring your family members into the discussion to figure out how you can work together, especially as we don’t know how long this will last. This does not have to be a time of disconnection and I’m challenging everyone (myself included) to find new and creative ways to self-care and connect with others.
Some other ideas for self-care:
- Online order a huge puzzle to work on continuously over the new few weeks. This can be relaxing and a different way to use your brain. You can do it alone or with others, and at the end, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something while quarantined!
- Get outside! Some fresh air can be really helpful, as long as you stay a safe distance away from other people. In the DC Metro Area, everything is starting to bloom, so try to use some mindfulness as you walk outside and notice how beautiful the world is.
- Follow a meal plan. Whether you have an eating disorder or not, following a regular meal schedule will be really helpful to maintain some semblance of normalcy.
- Same for sleep! Try to maintain a relatively normal sleep pattern so that you feel more rested every day.
- For other mental health professionals, you can use HeadSpace for free using your NPI number. We need to remember to take care of ourselves too!
- Donate to a local food bank if you can afford to do so. Not only will this be helpful for others who are struggling right now, but it will hopefully make you feel less helpless about the situation we are in.
Kate Burns, LGPC is a Licensed Counselor in Olney, MD proving individual counseling to those with eating disorders, anxiety and trauma. Please contact us today if you would like a consultation.