Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Vital Self-Care Tips From A Licensed Mental Health Professional
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented changes in the lives of most Americans.
Daily habits and schedules have been thrown into pandemonium, activities that were commonplace are difficult or untenable and socializing has taken on a completely different tone.
Drastic changes to daily habits and time management can feel overwhelming at the best of times and takes on even more ominous overtones in the face of the pandemic. Uncertainty over one’s time and energy can feel scary when there’s no longer a guarantee of “normality.”
With so many new regulations and changes to life, it’s no surprise that so many people are feeling stressed out and anxious. I want to tell you that the truth is, it is not all doom and gloom like it might feel right now. That is a perspective you might have that I challenge you to shift. If you decide to change your focus to something better, you will feel better.
For example, the thought you can think can be something like, “These changes to life actually offer a unique chance to explore new ways to care for and feel good regardless of what is going on in the world. I have control over my choices. I can choose to find fun, exciting, meaningful things to do right now. I am the creator of my own reality. I can think of empowering and productive thoughts. I am in charge of what I allow into my mind and what I will keep out. My thoughts create my reality. I am getting better and better at shifting my perspective every day.”
It is true that schedules might change, things are certainly “different” in many ways and it’s become abundantly clear that self-care is a priority now more than ever.
What Can Self-Care Do For You?
Self-care looks different for each person. Some might discover taking a quiet, relaxing bath as a way to reduce physical and emotional tension. Other people might move in a different direction and start using their extra time to take up a new hobby or begin an online exercise program to feel good that way. Still, others might discover a new interest in all the interesting shows on Netflix and spend more time watching TV. Any of those options are viable. They can all be beneficial to keeping a sense of calm, happiness, and “normalcy” they may be craving right now.
Take Control Of Your Time
The most effective self-care strategy is ownership of time. While this might sound like a nebulous idea, it really just means that YOU start deciding what you will spend your time doing and what you give your attention to.
Throughout your day, you will feel like doing random, various things. You might restrict yourself from doing them because you judge yourself and call it a “waste of time.” The reality is, following your inspired actions is never a waste of time. It’s okay to take a nap, a long relaxing bath, or watch an extra hour of TV, as long as it is decided deliberately.
Give yourself permission to allot time to do what you want to do, even if that means it doesn’t feel productive at first. When you decide to allow yourself little pleasures throughout your day, you are centering your mind and grounding your life to be more stable and content.
When you feel better, you do better. Studies have shown that when you engage in activities that feel good and are good for you, then you can positively impact your brain chemistry and affect the neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) dopamine and serotonin.