Self-Care During COVID When You’re Not Ready to Venture Out
If you’re struggling with self-care during COVID, you’re not alone. With many fitness studios remaining at limited capacity and a threat of an additional surge looming, many of us have chosen to remain at home to control our exposure. But this has also left a year-long, gaping hole in our self-care endeavors. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to improve the state of your mind, body, soul without leaving home and without a stress-inducing investment.
Gear Up for Self-Care Success
Self-care during COVID should begin with exercise. The Mayo Clinic recommends 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week. Dr. Edward R. Laskowski further suggests strength training at least twice each week. But how do you do that if you can’t get to the gym? The answer is to build your own.
Your home gym doesn’t have to be quite as advanced as you might think. A weight bench and weights, pull-up bar, set of barbells, and a jump rope can provide everything you need to work your muscles and your cardiovascular system. Playing with the kids is another great way to exercise. Badminton, backyard football, and jumping on the trampoline are all also affection options. You can even invest in “matching” hula-hoops for you and the kids — an adult, weighted hula-hoop is a fun way to burn calories while toning your core.
You’ll also need clothing and shoes that make your workout more comfortable. A pair of sneakers, leggings, a sports bra, and a hat will go a long way toward helping you feel prepared to tackle a new exercise routine. Look for deals and discounts online for brands like Nike, Lululemon, and Adidas. If you’re not yet ready to head to the mall, you can check your sizing on each of your preferred brand’s websites or video chat with a style consultant to help you make the best selection based on your goals, body size, and budget.
A Little Quiet Time Never Hurts
Exercise isn’t the only way to prioritize self-care during COVID. You’ll also want to make time for yourself to do things that feed your soul from the inside. This will be unique to you, but a few ideas include meditation, reading, and indulging in a nightly bubble bath.
The Self-Improvement Blog has touted the benefits of meditation before and explains that there are different types of meditation including mindfulness, breath awareness, Zen, and progressive relaxation. Meditation as a form of self-care during COVID can help you get better in touch with your body and your emotions. Once you know how you feel, you can then take further steps to keep yourself healthy, whole, and happy.
Like meditation, reading is a great way to pamper your brain. Not only does settling in with a good book boost your intelligence, but it can also help you relax while arming your brain in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. And if you have trouble sleeping, reading puts you in a relaxed state, which can become part of your bedtime ritual that signals when it’s time to shut down for the evening. Self-care during COVID may also mean you read up on the virus so that you are able to make informed decisions for yourself and your family.
Your bedtime routine might also include a bubble bath. Not only does this make you inaccessible to your spouse or partner and children — therefore, giving you some precious alone time — soaking in warm water can relax the muscles and ease tension. A bubble bath is also a little luxury that is easy to orchestrate when you are trying to focus on self-care during COVID. DIYNatural’s homemade bubble bath recipe uses common — and inexpensive — ingredients to moisturize and cleanse the skin.
Self-Care During COVID Isn’t Selfish
The coronavirus pandemic has brought mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, to approximately 40% of adults in the United States. Symptoms range from mild to severe, with insomnia, trouble eating, and increased usage of drugs and alcohol among the most common.
Self-care during COVID can help you cope with the emotional stress of living through a pandemic. And if you’ve suffered losses — a job, a relationship, or the death of a loved one — then your self-care efforts are even more important. However, it’s crucial to change your mindset relating to how you view self-care. While many adults believe that prioritizing anything other than their career, family, or friends is selfish, the truth is that self-care is necessary for all humans.
According to Perimeter Healthcare, doing things for yourself helps you be the best version of yourself possible. This means that those that depend on you the most won’t get an emotionally depleted and physically exhausted you. The result may be better relationships and greater productivity at home and at work.
Other Self-Care Ideas
- Prioritize socialization. The coronavirus pandemic separated us from those we love. Make a conscious effort to reconnect friends and family.
- Balance your diet. Eating well makes it possible for you to have the energy to exercise, socialize, and care for your family.
- Get enough sleep. Even if you’re spending more time at home, you may be spending less time in bed. Try to get at least eight hours each night, which gives your mind and body an opportunity to heal, reset, and recharge.
- Quit watching the news. Self-care during COVID isn’t just about what you do, but also what you don’t. If the headlines make you nervous or fearful, it’s time to get your traffic and weather from a source that doesn’t give you anxiety.
Ultimately, how you choose to engage in self-care during COVID is up to you. Whatever you do — or don’t — spend some time evaluating how it makes you feel. A good rule of thumb is that if you walk away from an activity or encounter with a smile on your face, then it counts as self-care. Most importantly, never lose sight of the fact that you have to take care of yourself. In doing so, you’ll be a better version of yourself and will have a much better chance at surviving the pandemic with your emotions intact.
About the Author
Sheila Johnson once enjoyed a very successful career, but it came at a cost. Those long work weeks pulling overtime left her feeling stressed and burnt out. She barely had time to see her husband, and she certainly wasn’t prioritizing her health.