Why Self Care is Important during COVID-19
Updated: Jul 13
This new unfamiliar reality we have all found ourselves in during the COVID-19 certainly takes time to get used to, some of us may even question whether we will ever get used to it. When we are stressed, self-care is usually the first thing we neglect. This only makes coping with difficult situations worse.
We need to remember that we do have a choice about remaining in control. True, we cannot control the pandemic and we have to brace for a potential impact however we can control how we take care of ourselves and adapt to our new reality.
Self-care may sound indulgent but in actual fact it just involves a few basic daily habits which are actually crucial to your functioning. When we take care of ourselves you progress faster because it prevents overload burnout. For example, if you are trying to keep the house pristine, home-school the children as if you were a qualified teacher, work from home achieving the same targets as you would have prior to the pandemic and stay connected with family and friends; pushing yourself to the point where you just can’t take anymore, this is what we call burnout. Self-care helps to avoid you from getting to that point.
Self-care also reduces the negative effects of stress. Don’t get me wrong, a small amount of stress can serve a positive purpose but too much or for too long a timeframe; stress will break down the body and mind. Self-care also helps you to refocus.
Improving our practice of self-care is not selfish. You will be better prepared to help others when you have been focusing on maintaining your own health and wellbeing. Remember that we are only human and we cannot do it all. Saying no takes practice and saying yes for fun and connection with others is extremely important. Look at it this way, would you rather look back once this pandemic is behind us and feel as though you took every opportunity you could for fun and making memories with your loved ones or to look back and think I wish I had spent more time with the people I loved rather than stressing over things that in the grand scheme of things are not that important.
Below I have given a few examples of practicing self-care including emotional self-care, physical self-care and professional self-care. Even if you just try and build one from each section into your daily routine you will be practising self-care and you will feel some benefits.
Practicing Emotional Self-care
1. Some simple methods to manage stress include – Taking a 5 to 30-minute break, go for a walk, take a hot bath or shower, write in a journal.
2. Contact and surround yourself with supportive people – in other words choose to contact people who respect your needs and boundaries and not people who you feel are draining, stress you out or belittle you.
3. Ensure you always make time for fun – watch your favourite movie, listen to your favourite music, dance like no one is watching, make time to find a new hobby.
Practising Physical Self-care
The important aspect when thinking about practising physical self-care is ensuring you choose to do things that you enjoy and keep a variety of activities that you can do most days of the week. Otherwise, if you expect to complete an activity that you don’t enjoy or feel is a chore every day of the week, the likelihood is you will not be consistent with this goal.
1. Methods of practising physical self-care may include taking the dog for a walk, join an online exercise class, walk up and down the stairs.
2. Eat healthy foods – I don’t mean revamp your entire diet plan as this may not be realistic for you but making simple modifications to your diet can help keep your body healthy. Eat whole grains, dark green vegetables, eat fresh fruit, choose low fat products, eat regularly.
3. Get adequate sleep – try to keep to a regular bedtime, don’t check your phone or watch the television in the bedroom, make your bedroom a peaceful place.
Practising Professional Self-care
1. Ensure you schedule regular breaks and do not (however tempting it may be) work through your lunch break.
2. Make your workspace comfortable – declutter your desk, make sure your chair is comfortable and adjusted well for your workstation, sit near a window for natural light.
3. Know when to negotiate – don’t be afraid to ask for help, seek out opportunities for supervision, consultation or some on-line training.