Self Care in a Pandemic
A global pandemic. The economic downturn. Mass unemployment. Closed businesses. Loss of loved ones. For many of us, the future has never looked more uncertain.
We are finding ourselves in a time in which we are surrounded by things we can not change or control, no matter how hard we try. The feeling of helplessness and despair can make it hard to function and get through the day. The global pandemic has overturned our lives in ways we never could’ve previously imagined.
In periods like these, we must cultivate tools and daily habits to get through the anxiety, fear and negativity that often creeps in. Here are a few ways to keep yourself moving forward during this incredibly difficult time:
Daily gratitude: practicing daily gratitude for the things we do have. A gratitude journal is a great tool (try in the mornings before you reach for your phone, or in bed when you’re winding down from the day). We also like the idea of an accountability partner – pick a friend and each day text each other 3 things you are grateful for.
Self-compassion: stay present, practice self love and acceptance, and listen to and signals from your body and mind. A daily walk, breathing practice or meditation ritual (or all three!) are easy ways to be present, healthy and kind to yourself. Have some extra time? Check out this free resource with exercises, guided meditations and worksheets to give yourself a self-compassion boost.
Compassion for others: random acts of kindness often do more for the giver than the receiver. Do you have a friend who is going through a particularly rough time? Send them a care package or hand written card. Give a $10 tip at the drive through, or pay for the coffee of the person next in line. Want to learn more? Read this article from Cedars Sinai on the science behind kindness as a treatment for pain, depression, and anxiety
Media break: the last few months have been a steady stream of tragedies on our 24/7 news cycle. From COVID death tolls to George Floyd’s death to the closing of tens of thousands of small businesses, it’s hard not to read as much as we can to keep ourselves informed of what’s going on in the outside world. It’s helpful to set a limit to the amount of articles you read or TV you watch and set specific times to do this (read: not before bed). Instead of “doomscrolling” take the time to catch up with friends, cook a new recipe or write in your journal – activities that will be more nourishing to your body and mind.
It’s natural to feel helpless when the world is quickly changing around us. We don’t have the answers right now and it’s ok to feel scared and anxious. Yet, when we surrender to what we can’t control, we are able to refocusing our remaining energy on the smaller things around us that we CAN change.