MentalHealthMatters – 7 Ways To Take Care Of Yourself At Home
We are emerging from the intense lockdown issued by the Government to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. However, the fight against COVID-19 is far from over. With the hopes of a vaccine etched on our minds and the future uncertain, staying in is still our best option to ensure we are not spreading the novel coronavirus. That being said, this self-isolation is not as easy as it looks, especially when it comes to mental health.
Why Self Care Matters
Self-isolation can be a stressful time to practice self-care but that you must take out time for yourself during these uncertain times. This is extremely critical when you know your mental and physical resources are running low, and that you need to step back and replenish them as opposed to letting them all drain away. At the same time, it is essential to practice self-compassion so that you do not face a burnout.
Another critical factor to keep in mind that not everything that feels good comes under the purview of self-care. An unhealthy coping mechanism like drugs, alcohol, over-eating, and risk-taking can do more damage than good, especially in the long run. Also, always remember that any relief they provide is temporary. Here are four reasons why self-care matters.
Why Do We Often Fail at Self Care?
- It makes you more productive as it brings your goals into sharper focus and helps you create plans that are in sync with your goals.
- It boosts your immune system as it allows your body to go into a quiet, rejuvenating mode, that helps to build your internal resistance. Self-care also reduces stress that will, in turn, make you feel better physically as well.
- When you regularly take time out for yourself, you also boost your self-esteem as it sends a positive message to your subconscious. This can effectively increase your self-confidence and growth.
- When you’re kind to yourself, you might think you are selfish. The opposite is exact because unless you take care of yourself, you will lack the resources to be attentive to others needs. Being compassionate is a bit like filling a bucket; you can’t fill someone else’s if you don’t have enough of your own.
That being said, taking care of yourself can be quite a complicated process. Here are some reasons why most of us fail at self-care.
Negativity Bias – Knowing about self-care is not the same as being able to do. Many people have larger than life self-care goals, and they tend to leave them for another day. On the other hand, having smaller yet manageable self-care goals in an excellent way to prioritize and make sure you can implement the same periodically.
- Effort – Self-care takes work – be it waking up early or going to bed on time, preparing healthy meals or daily exercises – everything matters. When you are exhausted, and perhaps most in need of self-care, it is precisely when effort might seem the most difficult. This is true even when you know you will feel better later. Acknowledging this truth can help you be realistic and gentle with yourself so that compromise and find solutions that match your energy levels.
- Shame – Believe it or not, self-care can be a magnet for shame. We live in a society full of shame, and as social beings, we are very vulnerable creatures which is why they need to escape social shame dictates much of our behaviour. That being said, many dark and negative emotions can be overruled when you come up with logical explanations. Recognizing and naming shame is the fastest way to dismantle its impact on your life.
- Confusing indulgence with self-care – Indulgence stops being self-care when you feel guilty or unhappy with yourself, and this can be different for everyone. Take, for example, eating a carb-rich meal. For someone who maintains a healthy weight and body image, eating a burger is not a big concern whereas for someone struggling to shed unhealthy extra pounds, eating a burger can be a dangerous threat to their hard-earned momentum. The trick in such situations is to determine whether an indulgence is safe and your relationship with activity and being moderate with the practising it. Too much of a good thing can also be harmful.
We are, by our very essence, social animals and stepping out of our house and meeting our loved ones was what kept us going on on most days. Moreover, reports have suggested that mental health issues are spiking all over the world due to the lockdown. From anxiety to depression, everything can overwhelm us right now. Thus, keeping your mental and physical health in check is of utmost priority right now. If you are struggling with this, first and foremost, reach out. It may seem like a tough thing to do, but it’s worth it and if you want other ways to care for yourself, here is a list of just that.
The internet can be a scary place or your saving grace, all in a day’s time. And if it is not doing the latter, switch off, after all there is nothing more important than your own mental health. You have zero obligations to stay online, and if anything is triggering your anxiety or mental peace, it is essential to take a few days off. On the other hand, if you are online talking to your friends or playing a game and it is making an otherwise mundane day fun, there is no harm in spending hours.
The bottom line is you control the effect of your internet on your mind and not the other way around.
Livestream Jam Sessions With Your Friends
Or just video call all your friends from school, work, college or anywhere. The point is to talk to people. Set up a day when all of your friends will take out time to chat about everything, from COVID-19 to what new thing they cooked recently.
Even taking an online workshop where you could see other strangers learning the same set of skills might be the breather you need. This, I can say from my own experience of attending a ‘Writing Workshop’ with one of my favourite travel bloggers and connection with like-minded people with a zeal for travel and writing.
Practice Mindfulness With Meditation
Just ten minutes of your day and the art of meditation will give you the headspace you need to conquer the day. Practice a simple breathing exercise where you focus all your attention on the present moment.
From being conscious of your surroundings to your own body and counting the in-breath and out-breath simultaneously, simple exercises can help you tackle anxiety/mental health in a less stressful manner. It might not give you an instant mood uplift, but make this your new thing once you come out of the lockdown and you will see its benefits for yourself in a month or two.
Bake A Cake
Cooking is therapeutic to some, and if you are one of those people, get down to it and bake whatever you like. Or maybe, finally, try that daunting Chicken Biryani recipe you relish so much but are afraid to cook?
The point is there are tonnes of things you can cook or bake and your kitchen is your oyster. This might become your thing and help you take your mind off the news and whatever is happening out there.
Binge-watch Your Favourite Show
If you don’t feel like keeping up with the world and watching all the new, amazing shows being released on Netflix and Prime every single day, go back to your favourites. The Nine-Nine Precinct is keeping me company for the time being until I return to my classic favourite Friends.
If you want to try some new shows, you can check out our recommendations here.
Exercise And Do A Home Workout
Movement is akin to medicine! Especially in a time when we are supposed to stay indoors for weeks and months at a stretch. If the nearest park has opened up and you can go for a walk with all the precautions, make the most of this.
If not, there is always a skipping rope and basic exercises you can follow from a YouTube tutorial. Take up a 30-day challenge and to make sure you see it through, ask your friends to do it with you. Plus, even research states that exercises helps with improving mental health and anxiety – so we recommend that having a daily exercise routine is a good habit to practise.
Plan For Your Next Big Vacay After The Lockdown
The anticipation of where you will travel after all this is over is sometimes better than the actual trip. Also, it is the only thing we can do now. Get down to it, research your favourite things to do, finalize a random (well-planned) destination and start saving for this trip. From an extended backpacking journey across North-East India or a foreign trip, whatever it is you have meant to do, plan for it today and let it give you a reason to smile, every once in a while.
All said and done, and sometimes we need to do something more substantial to keep ourselves sane. And the pandemic has already taught us that. This is why getting yourself insured is one big step in the direction of self-care. Avail the COVID-19 (Group Health Assure) from digibank by DBS -starting at a premium of INR 499, it gives you a cover from INR 25,000 to INR 2,00,000 for your Coronavirus treatment. Find out more here.