Self-care in a time of a pandemic

Do you roll your eyes when you hear the word ‘self-care’? I hear you. It seems as though the term self-care has been co-opted by the beauty and wellness industry over the years so you’re forgiven for shuddering at the term. We know that self-care goes way beyond facemasks and bubble baths. Sometimes it’s holding yourself accountable for problematic behaviour. It’s setting boundaries to make way for things that really make you happy.  Yes, self-care can be about looking after how we look too but I do believe it needs to be holistic.

So how does self-care look like in the middle of a pandemic? 2020 is stressful enough as it is and unprecedented stress comes with unprecedented levels of self-care. Here are some ideas on self-care that I’ve personally been trying to do too.

Listen to an album from end to end – Remember the good ol’ days without music streaming apps? Back when we would be counting down until our favourite artists released their album and rush to the store to get a CD. The feeling of listening to an entire album from start to finish, in the order the artist intended us to hear it. When was the last time you listened to an entire album in that way? Don’t get me wrong, I love streaming and making playlists as much as the next person, but there’s something novel about doing absolutely nothing but listen to an album. It’s a great way to slow down and lately has been my favourite way of spending a Sunday afternoon. S

Limit news intake – I get it, information is everywhere! It’s tempting to check the news every hour/several times during the day. There’s the FOMO aspect of not knowing what’s going on in the world

Stretch every morning – OK this seems basic but it’s something I always forget to do. When I do remember, I always feel better. There’s something about a good stretch, I’m telling you! The simple act of moving your body in the morning as you wake up can really help set the tone for the day. Plus, 5 mins to yourself and not rushing around is such a good way to crack into it. Pun intended. 

Mute notifications on your apps– Just because we’re at home/staying inside, doesn’t mean that we should be available 24/7. We don’t need to reply to every message as soon as we receive it. We don’t need to be accessible to everyone. Our time is still valuable, pandemic or not. So turn off those notifications and enjoy the peace! 

Plan – it feels counter intuitive, no? To plan in a time when plans are easily changed at the drop of a hat. I still remember the night when lockdown 2.0 was announced in Auckland after weeks of alert level 1. I had an entire week planned of things to do after work, long overdue catch ups to go on. I was even planning to go out dancing! But alas, it all had to be cancelled. So why suggest planning, then? I think the exercise itself is healthy. It gives us something to look forward to, it makes us feel like there are still things we can control amidst uncertainty, it helps give our days structure and a sense of normalcy. Planning feels hopeful. Like I’m reaffirming the belief that there will be a sense of stillness soon. I suggest planning meals and planning your day – I still get a thrill when I cross off my to-do list no matter how small it is.