Recently, my anxiety peaked and all my existing coping tools just seemed like they were not working which only made my anxiety worst.
I decided it was time to unplug from outward outlets and plug inwards--starting with social media, specifically Instagram. As an entrepreneur with multiple titles, social media has really become a great tool for marketing and connecting with potential clients however managing any social media platform can feel like a full-time job. Immediately following signing off of Instagram, I felt a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. The urge to create content, post, and engage on Instagram was released.
Now that I had brought myself some additional time to focus on me as a person and not me as a entrepreneur...what do I do? It's cold outside and with daylight saving it can feel like a dread to leave the house. Let's not forget that the pandemic is still here and COVID-19 rates are on the rise.
Like everything else, coping skills and routines can get old or tiring. It's always a good idea to re-assess and evaluate your coping toolbox to ensure whatever coping tools you're reaching for is relevant to your needs. As a therapist, I often encourage clients to re-assess and evaluate their coping tools every 3-6 months or as the season changes. This way, whether it's summer, winter, spring, fall or a pandemic you'll have what you need to cope and establish a self-care practices that works for you.
Here are 4 tips to help you practice self-care that's right for you during the pandemic
1- Unplug from social media outlets
Whether it's for personal or professional use, unplugging from social media outlet can free
up a significant amount of time to allow you to re-assess and evaluate your existing coping skills. Additionally, use this time to engage in pleasurable activities or hobbies that you don’t often get to do because there is never enough time in the day. This may include trying something new. Not sure what to try, here's some suggested activities:
Facetime or call a good friend you haven't spoken with for awhile
Listen to, read, or watch something funny, like a comedy special
Reread your favorite book or poem
Cook your favorite meal
Join a livestream meditation, yoga, or exercise class
Write a letter to someone you haven't spoken to in a while
Plan a dream vacation for the future
Read a magazine or comic book
Play a board game
Give yourself a self-massage
Groom or play with your pet
Play or watch video games
Create your own website or blog
Do a jigsaw or crossword puzzle.
Color a mandala
Pray or meditate
Learn a new language using Duolingo
Sing or Dance
Reorganize your closet, bookshelf, or develop a filing system for important documents
2- Rest Up!
Self-care is not always about doing something or being in the company of other people. Solitude can be a great way to get rest because we all know rest does not come easy especially when we are juggling multiple roles and working from home with or without dependent care. Be intentional about setting aside time to rest outside of your nightly hours of sleep. Resting involves your whole being not just your physical body. In her book called Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Renew Your Sanity, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith talks about the 7 types of rest including mental, physical, spiritual, creative, social, emotional, and sensory.
So ask yourself, what do I need to feel rested? And proceed to honor that need for yourself. Not sure what type of rest you need, you can take Dr. Dalton-Smith quiz on her web site to see what types of rest you may be needing.
3-Monitor what you eat
What we eat says a lot about our mental and emotional state of mind. According to New York Times article, "a global study confirms that during the pandemic, many of us ate more junk food, exercised less, were more anxious and got less sleep." We do not need a positive COVID-19 test result to be affected by the impacts of COVID-19. Monitoring what you eat can help regulate your mood and energy level. Again, be intentional about what you put into your body. This does not have to look like dieting or food restriction but perhaps making healthier choices about your eating habits.
4- Seek Therapy
Without a doubt, therapy can enhance and improve your self-care significantly. Having a safe space to explore and share your feelings can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and stress. If you are feeling anxious lately, it is okay you are not alone. Anxiety is our bodies ways of responding to our current abnormal times. Speaking with a licensed mental health therapist can help you navigate what your feelings and arrive to what you need to better cope with life demands right now.
Be well & stay healthy!