There have been at least a million posts about how to prevent the spread of this disease (wash your hands, don't touch your face, try not to panic, etc.), but no one is talking about how to take care of YOU as a WHOLE.
I'm located in the Seattle, WA area, which is the epicenter of the US outbreak. Every day seems to revolve around the virus. All of my newsletters, social media feeds, and conversations are full of the latest news surrounding the virus. All of the events I had planned have been cancelled. It feels like my entire world is COVID-19.
To top it off, I have some anxiety issues. I'm not ashamed of it, it's just a part of who I am. It isn't "bad" anxiety, but it does exist and is something I work on all the time. However, all of this uncertainty and panic is STRESSING me out and fanning the flames of my anxiety; because of this, I am working very hard on my self care and I think that everyone else should too. EVERYONE is affected by stress, anxiety issues or not, and during times like these, self care becomes even more important.
Why is Self Care so Important?
- Lowers your immune defenses
- Affects your heart health
- Causes headaches, stomach issues, high blood pressure, and sleep issues, and
- Is just generally unpleasant to experience.
Self Care Tips
- Take. Time. For. YOU. I know that it can be super hard with all of the obligations that people have nowadays, but you can't help anyone if you don't take time for YOU. Take time to stop and breathe. Drink some tea, take a bath - do something for you, no matter how small.
- Take a news/social media break. The more you dwell on what is stressing you out, the worse it gets, and taking a break from the news will help. Everyone is panicking and that kind of negativity can really have an impact on your mental health.
- Take time to do something that you love or that relaxes you. I've been taking time to sit and read with instrumental music playing, time to play video games, or time to do some kind of crafting (a personal favorite hobby).
- If you're remote like me, make sure to take breaks to stand up and walk around/stretch. I normally have a sit/stand desk at work, but don't have one at home, so I've had to work hard to keep moving.
- Also, try to stick to a schedule if you're remote. You can choose to wear pajamas or "real clothes" while at home (I personally don't believe you should wear "real clothes" at home unless you have company, but to each their own), but whatever you do, try to be comfortable.
- Talk it out! If it gets to be too much, don't be afraid to reach out to someone you trust or a professional therapist. Talking things out can really help with stress (at least that's what MY therapist says; having one can help you be accountable to your goals as well). It's never good to bottle things or dwell on the bad stuff.
Remember, the best thing you can do right now is to be smart, to be careful, and to take care of yourself as best you can.