31 March 2020
There’s no question that we are now living in tougher times than many of us have ever experienced before. Many of us are understandably worried and are taking on more caring duties for our families and loved ones.
But it’s just as important that we care for ourselves and take time to focus on the things that bring us peace and balance. As many websites on this topic quote, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. So it’s important to make sure you take time to refill your cup.
Here are a few easy things we can each do to practice self-care.
Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting, especially when it’s the only thing we see and hear in the news and the media. While it’s important to stay informed, think about limiting your media intake to reduce your exposure to negative news that might heighten your sense of anxiety.
If necessary, use a feature like screen time on your digital devices to help manage your use. You could also consider setting aside a place in your house where you won’t access media.
When you do look at the media, make sure it’s accurate and from a credible source. This will help maintain perspective and give you a more balanced idea of our situation.
For those of us who are used to going to the gym or PT sessions, the closures have messed up our routines. And the limitations on groups means walks or runs with more than one friend are out of the picture. But there are many online workouts available now, including ones that don’t require any special equipment.
If lighter exercise is more your style, consider taking up meditation, adopting steady breathing exercises and try to get in a good stretch daily. Also remember to drink plenty of water, eat well-balanced meals made up of nutritious, whole foods and try to get a full eight hours of sleep a night. Avoid consuming alcoholic drinks as much as possible.
Sometimes you just need to sit back and unwind. Don’t just wait to do this when you have a minute: schedule it in. Focusing on activities you enjoy are great for helping you relax and distract from events that are happening around you. Maybe you enjoy reading, writing, or listening to music? If something brings you joy, hold onto it and make sure to take time out of your day to enjoy the activity.
You could also consider doing some mindfulness exercises to help your mind relax and break the anxiety spiral.
In times like these, it’s important to maintain contact with our friends, family and other support networks. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone, so reach out to others when things get tough.
Beyond Blue has established online forums dedicated to helping people connect in this crisis.
It’s common for people to think it’s self-indulgent to take time for self-care, especially when there are many people in need. But you deserve to be cared for too. Taking care of your own needs is not selfish; it’s necessary.