The further we get into the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the lack of information we have about when things will get back to “normal,” you may feel things getting more difficult.
This week, my clients have brought up a lot of concerns about how they are able to take care of themselves during this time, both physically and mentally. Teens have lost access to a lot of the support and respite they got from time with friends. Parents struggle to focus on basic self-care because they are managing child care and working from home. Now that schools are officially closed for the rest of the academic year, and plans for the summer are unknown, stress and anxiety about the future is heightened.
While I am always an advocate for prioritizing self-care, now it is more important than ever. And just because our gyms, salons, favorite stores (and the list keeps going) are closed does not mean that we don’t still have great self-care options.
I compiled a list below of recommendations I have made to clients and friends, and try to follow myself, of self-care practices we all still have access to. Some of these can take five minutes or less and provide so much support in getting through this really difficult time.
Go for a Walk
Many of us are feeling very cooped up in our homes, and who can blame us. I keep reminding myself how lucky we are that we are going through this during the spring rather than the middle of winter.
Getting outside and enjoying nature on a beautiful day is such great self-care, and absolute something we can access while still practicing social distancing.
Enjoy a Cup of Coffee/Tea
It might not be our favorite coffeehouse drink with a friend, but taking time to enjoy a hot cup of coffee can be such wonderful self-care. You can sit outside about and get some fresh air, catch up on your favorite TV show, or simply spend some time scrolling social media while you enjoy that drink.
Just make sure that you are taking some time to focus on yourself, even if it is just for a moment.
Take a 15-Minute ‘Spa’ Break
Spas themselves might be shut down, but the benefits of “spa time” are not. Take a warm shower with calming bath products and spa music on. Treat yourself to a face mask or body scrub that takes your everyday shower up a notch.
Take a little time to just focus on yourself for a few minutes and you will feel rejuvenated to continue on with your day.
While we still wear clothes every day (at least most of us do), many of us are not “getting dressed.”
I know for me, most days I just put on the first things I can grab, which may or may not be the clothes I wore the day before. We need to remember that putting some effort into what we wear can actually go a long way for how we feel, even if we are not planning to leave the house.
When you feel good about what you are wearing, you will feel good about yourself, and that is the best kind of self-care!
While those of us with gym memberships might still be struggling with the fact that they have been closed for two months and counting, that does not mean that we still can’t get all the benefits of a great workout at home.
Many fitness companies are offering free trials and a variety of programs for different levels. This is also something that you can get the kids involved with and also make it fun family time!
Connect with Friends
Social time is a lifeline for many, especially us parents. While we do have to practice social distancing in a physical way, we can still connect in an emotion way.
Zoom happy hours, FaceTime dates and phone conversations still allow you to keep in touch and connect. Even if you drive to a friend’s house, just to wave at them from your car, the feeling of connecting is great self-care.
Make Someone Smile
We are all struggling a bit right now, and a little support for someone else can also be great self-care for you.
Bake cookies to deliver to the neighbors; drive by and surprise a friend who is celebrating something; send flowers or a card to let someone know that you are thinking of them!
You can even spend some time on social media, leaving thoughtful comments on a friend’s news feed.
Little gestures like these can help someone else feel less alone during this time, and you will get a mood boost by knowing you made someone smile.
Jmore parenting columnist Talya Knable is a psychotherapist who lives in Lutherville with her husband, Stephen, and their two children, Jack and Leigh. Her website is tkpsych.com/. She is also the assistant clinical director of Shalom Tikvah (shalomtikvah.org/), a local non-profit organization that supports Jewish families facing mental illness and other challenging life circumstances.