I, for one, am so tired of seeing articles about how to care for yourself, and they all say the same thing – have a bedtime, drink water, eat vegetables.
YEAH, I know that. And am already doing those things. Are there any other tips on how to care for myself besides drinking so much water I feel like I’m waterboarding myself? Can we get some tips other than the standard basics?
I put together a list of what’s been helping me. It might not apply to you or even be helpful at all, but this is what I’ve been doing to nurture my mental and emotional health during this time of collective trauma.
Consciously separating my feelings from my thoughts. Going from I feel anxious to I’m having a thought that I feel anxious. What do I need in this moment?
Counseling myself. Comforting myself like I would a friend.
Let myself “waste time”. Allowing myself not to fill every day with something productive or good. I can just be.
Going to bed on time. This has always been an essential element for me to function how I want to emotionally and physically. Growing up my mom would draw the connection between my tears and fatigue. If I was more sensitive or emotional than normal (and I was both anyways the majority of the time) she would point out that I didn’t get enough sleep and that I need to rest and reset.
Having a routine, structure, a plan. For years now I’ve had a morning routine of coffee and reading. This happens no matter what. I need this time.
Having a day with no structure or plans. Some weekends have been super productive in the typical way, and others have been productive in mothering me and just sitting on the couch reading for hours.
Yardwork. A great way to get outside my head and some exercise.
Sit on the couch and read for 6 hours. Another way to get outside my head.
Get back into making music. I’ve found some comfort in exploring other ways to be creative.
Trying new recipes for dinner. This has been quite enjoyable! Both on the creative front, as well as expanding my skills and taste buds.
Sharing dinner with my roommate. I haven’t had a regular “family dinner” in my life since I moved out of my parent’s house. It’s nice to have it back.
Eating outside when it’s warm. I have an amazing view.
Crying. Releasing tension from my body.
Not pushing myself to talk on the phone if I don’t want to. I don’t know about you but I’ve been getting so many phone calls and so many zoom calls. Sometimes I just can’t talk.
Journaling. Another practice I’ve been doing for years; since I was 7 in fact.
Watching the sunrise and set. Waking up early and going to bed early. Living with the rhythm of nature.
Giving myself permission to end work when I’m no longer inspired/creative/productive. Since I’m my own boss and work from home, I decided I can give myself permission to end work early for the day if I need to. I’m not chained to my desk. In fact, having that flexibility is one of the main reasons why I started my own business.
Reminding myself that my body and how it expands and contracts is a non-issue. I made the mistake of weighing myself during quarantine. I initially did it to use the number I saw on the scale as a way to punish myself and motivate myself into losing weight. It’s now a learning experience to love my body even when it doesn’t “behave” as I want it to.
How are you caring for yourself? I want to try new ways to bring joy to my life.