Posted May 17th, 2020 in Healthy Tips.

Self-Care

Self-Care

How are you doing? Honestly, how are you really doing? Me? I’m in a bit of a funk. I’m not really sad, but I’m not happy. I’m not stressed, but I’m not totally relaxed, either. I feel blah. You? 

This spring (a season I typically love) has been a rollercoaster of emotions.

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Loneliness
  • Frustration
  • And now, blah.

I’m guessing you’ve probably experienced the same ride – the Social Distancing Doldrums. While things are starting to open up again, for some of us, it could be a while before we’re truly comfortable with life as we once knew it. How do we bust out of this pandemic funk? How about a little self-care.

Self-care is finding healthy ways to deal with stress, worry and feelings of being overwhelmed. It’s making you, your happiness and well-being a priority. One easy way to make sure you are taking the time for yourself is to create a self-care plan.

 

Map Out Your Plan

Start by identifying goals. What do you want your self-care plan to accomplish? Are you hoping to restore work-life balance, reduce stress or worry? Determining what you want to accomplish will help you develop a plan that works for you. 

Write it down on paper. There is no right or wrong way, but most methods use mind, body and soul (mental, physical and emotional). Next, identify specific ways to reach this goal under each category. Then, put your plan into practice.

Here’s an example of what my self-care plan could look like if we use the example of breaking free of this funk. 

Taking Care of My Mind

  1. Meditate on things that make me happy. Along with mindful meditation, mental health experts suggest daydreaming or taking mini-mental vacations to help escape negative emotions. 
  2. Focus on my blessings instead of what I’m missing. Gratitude is the magic vaccine for bad moods. It’s hard to be angry and anxious when focused on what is right in life. 
  3. Shake up my routine. Doing something different than you usually do keeps the brain active and growing. Taking a different route to work, trying an ethnic recipe, or walking backward are simple ways to shake it up.

Being Kind to My Body 

  1. Eat greener. Naturally green food helps your body rid itself of toxins. Foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins and amino acids also help the brain produce the feel-good hormone serotonin.
  2. Exercise regularly. This doesn’t mean hard-core cardio every day of the week. A brisk walk, yoga session or bike ride can be a mood changer. 
  3. Focus on building my immune system. Nothing takes away fear like control. Drink plenty of water, get at least seven to eight hours of sleep and detox in an infrared sauna to help the body’s natural defenses. 

Strength for My Soul 

  1. Focus on deep breathing at least once a day. Inhale for four seconds, hold for one, and then slowly exhale for another four seconds. You can also try muscle relaxation. Start with your forehead and tighten and relax every muscle group down to your toes. 
  2. Get back in touch with my creative side. Drawing, painting, photography, knitting, coloring, scrapbooking, anything that lets you be creative is a shot in the arm for the soul. 
  3. Enjoy the quiet. Turn everything off and absorb the silence. Take the time for self-reflection and peaceful meditation. 

When you’re ready to follow your plan, take baby steps. Don’t try to do everything all at once or you might set yourself up for more stress. Even if it’s not something specifically on your plan, make some kind of self-care a daily priority. If you want to see more examples of self-care plans, check out these on Pinterest.

 

Looking Forward 

I am definitely ready to get off this rollercoaster! The past few months have reminded me of the importance of strong connections, the power of a simple hug and the restorative properties of just seeing people smile. While I’m ready for some normalcy, I hope some things don’t go back to the way they were. I hope people continue to put an emphasis on family time, take care of neighbors and those who are vulnerable, and remain generous with time and treasure. Let’s keep the kindness going and kick the doldrums to curb. 

 

This is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace advice from any licensed physical or mental health professional. If you feel you are seriously depressed or have suicidal thoughts, please reach out to a professional or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.