During times of crisis, stress, and uncertainty, we tend to forget that we should be taking care of ourselves too. Putting your kids, spouse, and pets welfare before yourself is common, but we all need to take the time to make sure we are mentally prepared to care for others.
Self-care is not selfish, or indulgent. It’s necessary especially as the stress compounds. It’s hard to take care of others if we cannot even take care of ourselves. Because of that, we’ve compiled a few easy ways that you can take care of yourself as things in life continue to progress.
1. Slow Down – This may seem crazy, and impossible. But it’s not. Instead of getting up late after hitting the snooze button and feeling rushed to get the kids to school, the bus, or start your day, get on a slower schedule. Wake up at the same time and go to bed at the same time every night. I am in before 8:30 pm, my kids o to bed at 8 pm and that doesn’t change even in the summer when it’s still light out at 8. Doing this will give yourself extra alone time. I like my alone time in the morning, so I get up at 4:45 am when the alarm (which is classical music) goes off. This time before everyone gets up is used to just center myself and get ready mentally for my day. I love grabbing a cup of coffee, my blanket, and enjoying both in the cool and quiet before the house wakes up.
2.Disconnect from your Screens – One of the best decisions I made during the height of the coronavirus pandemic panic and fear was turning off my TV. Instead of watching news and commercials all pushing the narrative about this virus all the time, I would go outside and pull weeds in my garden. I would go for a long walk with the kids. I would throw sticks for the dogs or sit outside and literally watch the clouds go behind the mountains. I recognized that my phone and the TV were stressing me out and I simply needed to reject screen time to feel better. Oddly enough, my TV has been off since the end of May and I haven’t missed it. I have also been leaving my phone in the house when I go outside to give me a real chance to connect with nature and not be influenced by a screen.
3. Journal – Write down your feelings or what was good each day. If this is hard, write down your dreams. Learn to connect with your subconscious. This is also a way to get thins out and off your mind especially if you have no one to talk to. Another form of this is to unload on your cat or dog. I sometimes do this. While I’m alone, I’ll grab the cat, put her on my lap, pet her, and just talk while she purrs away. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel after telling a pet something heavy.
4. Do a Craft – can your vegetables and be mindful while doing it. I know this sounds crazy, but I actually thank the food for storing well and for nourishing myself and the family over the winter. If you don’t can make something else! I enjoy fall, so I’ll put together an autumn-themed tablescape or make a wreath from clearance items or thrift store finds. You’d be surprised what you can come up with! If you knit, crochet, or quilt, carve out time to do so! There’s no right or wrong way to craft. And you will be able to use up things that no longer have a place in your home. This could even be as simple as making bird feeders out of pine cones and watching the birds enjoy!
5. Get into Nature – Incorporate nature as much as you can. Nature has already perfectly balanced itself and being in it helps you ground yourself in inexplicable ways. Go outside and watch your dogs and kids play. Sit and watch the sunrise or sunset. Go for a walk, pull weeds in your garden, watch your ducks (yes, I do that. I’ll get some hot tea and a camp chair and watch them run around and forage for bugs.) Being in nature is a great way to harness some peace, destress, and slow down.
6. Be Grateful – Be thankful for everything, even the lessons and stressful times. Be grateful for all the lessons you’ve learned during your time on this planet. Most of us are very blessed, and if we focus on what we do have instead of stressing about the things we don’t have, we’ll be happier. You have ultimate control over your own mind and perception, so take control and be thankful for everything!