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It's Time for Radical Self-Care

Practicing self-care matters now more than ever.

Photo by Jess Bailey
Practicing extreme self-care is necessary right now.
Source: Photo by Jess Bailey

You must put self-care first right now. Why "radical self-care"? Because you have probably been busy taking care of others, speaking out, fighting against injustice, and trying to live as best you can in the time of a pandemic. It can wear a body (and soul) out. It's time to put yourself first. It goes against what a lot of us have learned — especially if you are a parent. You were probably told that putting your children first was the only way to go. What if I told you that you have to take care of yourself first, or you can't take care of anyone else?

Get Enough Sleep

Practice good sleep habits. Try to get to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning. Shut off electronic devices at least an hour before bed. If you just cannot get a good night's rest, meet with your prescriber to see if you can take medication to help you get to sleep. When you don't get enough sleep, it's hard to filter out things that upset us during the day, and it's more difficult to make decisions.

Take Time Off of Social Media

Ideally, you would take a full day off of social media. But if your business is based on social media, you may not think that is possible. At least try scaling back. When we look at photos on Instagram, we get a skewed view of what people's lives are like. Keep in mind that what you are seeing on social media is people's highlight reel, not their behind-the-scenes. Also, monitor how much negative feedback you are reading and absorbing on social media.

Limit Watching the News

Is what you are watching helping you or preparing you in some way? If not, consider turning it off. While it is important to keep up to date with current events, watching disturbing videos over and over can cause vicarious traumatization. This means you can get symptoms similar to someone who goes through a trauma — including nightmares and difficulty sleeping. Watching traumatic videos repetitively can also trigger any history of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

... but Watch Your Favorite Shows

If you feel like binge-watching your favorite show, go for it. You may have been told that you need to be productive during this time (especially during self-quarantining), but keeping yourself occupied with mindless activity is okay too. We need that in order to feel okay sometimes, especially when it seems like everything is upside-down. There is comfort in watching a favorite show, especially if it's one that reminds you of happier times, or has characters that seem like old friends.

Get Some Movement

Keeping up a consistent routine is important right now. That includes getting some kind of movement in your day, especially when you are staying at home. If you don't like the idea of exercise (and that's okay), just move your body. Just dancing around with your kids counts as getting some movement.

Do Something Enjoyable Every Day

Do something every day that gives you joy. It doesn't matter what it is, and it doesn't have to be a 10 out of 10 on the joy scale. Just do something that gives you a lift and helps you think about something else for a bit. Even doing something enjoyable for 15 minutes here and there counts.

Do a Declutter Routine

Visual clutter can add to our stress. Set a timer for 30 minutes each day and throw out or give away some things you no longer use. Spend 15 minutes at the end of the day putting things in your living space back where they should be. Also leave every room neater than when you walked in, even if it is picking a piece of fluff off the floor. Over time you will notice a difference in your living space and your mood.

Take care of yourself, and stay safe and healthy.

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