5 pivotal ways to practice self care during & Post quarantinE
So it's 2020 - a year that every one of us has certainly anticipated; hoping in 2019 that THIS was going to be our year. I think it's safe to say that we never saw this turn of events coming. Most of us are experiencing a pandemic for the first time and we're all experiencing this situation from different views.
As a medical doctor and essential worker, I've had so many mixed emotions that ranged from anxiety to depression to just plain frustration about having to come face to face with this dreaded virus. The fear of bringing home this infection to my parents and other family members has weighed heavily on my mind. But one thing's for sure, I know that I'm doing my part to protect myself and my family by social distancing, wearing my face mask and practicing proper hygiene.
Most of us currently have a lot of time on our hands and that could be both beneficial and detrimental. The inability to physically connect with friends and family, the freedom of going to the beach or spending a day outdoors and not being able to order takeout or dine at our favourite restaurants...we ultimately feel trapped within our homes. So we wonder, "okay what now". The days go by and they feel like they're all meshing into one. "Is it Monday, is it Friday?" Who knows right? Things have been pretty mundane and routines have changed and we're all coming to terms with this new "normal".
So, how can we make most of this time at home? How can we help ourselves get out of this rut that's making us dread the feeling of having to spend yet another day at home. Self care is the answer. And no, I don't mean slapping on a skincare face mask with some cucumber slices over our eyes, but getting the chance to practice mindful self care is where we should redirect our focus.
Self care encompasses varying facets such as the emphasis on mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual health. I must admit that having some time at home for a couple weeks, just at the start of our local lockdown in Trinidad, initially I was bored out of my mind. But I decided to sit and analyse my personal situation and see how best I could make the most out of this free time. This ultimately worked in my favour because as a doctor and influencer, free time was something that I always valued and needed; especially when it came to my content creation.
On the flip side, this pandemic and lockdown has had a different impact on many lives. Some persons have lost their jobs, some don't have a home, some aren't in the safest environment even in their own homes (amongst a host of other issues). It made me put things into perspective and truly appreciate what I had, because it may be what someone else is hoping for during a time like this. I decided to put self care on full blast and take charge of my life; allowing everyday to be one filled with gratitude.
Here are some ways that you can also practice mindful self care during tough situations. These aren't only limited to a pandemic but can and should be practiced in the future; when circumstances improve.
1. Mental health
From the start of this pandemic, everyday we've been flooded with so much information, both real and fake, and of course that would be overwhelming for anyone. We were all at a point where we didn't know what to believe and it instilled so much fear, panic and anxiety. Our mental health has taken a blow and it has become difficult to get our minds back on track. So what to do when faced with this predicament?
1. Take a break from social media and news outlets. Fake news is everywhere and it's not worth panicking over news that isn't verified. Listen to international news from institutions and reliable resources like BBC, CNN, WHO and the CDC. Tune in to live news broadcasts with daily updates that involve your city or country, as this would be relevant to you.
2. Listen to music. There is nothing that is more grounding than music. Turn up the sound, play your favourite songs and sing at the top of your lungs. Hey, have a dance party in your room - whatever it takes to take your ,mind off of things, if even for a bit.
3. Talk to someone about your struggles with this "new normal". One thing that we ALL need to remember is that we are NOT alone. It's always more painstaking to have to deal with tough times thinking you're alone. Someone is always thinking about you and is willing to help, remember that.
4. Read a book, listen to a podcast. I've been using the time to check out a few books that I want to start reading and I've been tuned in to a couple Podcasts. Currently I'm listening to the Thrive podcast for bloggers and influencers and it's such a great listen. Use the time to sharpen some of your skills.
2. Physical Health
This is so important! With or without a pandemic we should always place major focus on our phsyical health and strengthening our bodies. But ever moreso now, it's imperative that we pay attention to our health and hygiene. I've been seeing so many persons staying active and getting creative with their at-home workouts, due to inability to access gyms etc.
The major key is keeping your bodies moving and trying when possible to nourish our bodies with healthier options. I know for a fact that I LOVE snacking, I think it just might be my middle name! #LOL. But I've really taken the time to focus on what I'm feeding my body because this can and will influence my health, in all aspects. There are many simple and effective ways to take care of our physical well being, so how do we approach this?
1. Exercise a few times a week or daily if you're really determined to maintain your pre-quarantine routine. You don't always need a gym to stay active but I know that some of the at home workouts won't compare. However what's important is keeping our bodies active. Yoga, daily walks in your yard, setting up an at-home gym; pick the one that you can do. There are also many free and online workout videos available.
2. Healthy meals/snacks - I've been dabbling with green smoothies and low fat yogurt parfaits, and in general eating more fruits. I'm still struggling to drink my quota of water for the day #sendhelp, but I often drink water in place of juice or soft drinks.
3. Skin care and body care - they go without saying. It would be remiss of me to not mention how simply practicing a facial and body skincare routines make a significant impact on not my physical health, but also my mental health.
As a medical doctor and essential worker, during this pandemic I've been, even more than before, putting my own health at risk for the well being of my patients. This has taken a toll on me mentally as well as physically. Hand washing with medical grade soaps have left me with extremely dry hands and dermatitis and being on my feet four long hours is grueling. Simply using my favourite body scrub from local brand Cedros Bay and following my skin care regime from my dermatologist are enough to lift my spirits; because I'm taking some time to care for myself.
3. Social Health
This pandemic has proven how much we all long for human connection, whether that be physically or emotionally. Not being able to hang out with friends is proving to be a major obstacle for many. But thank God for technology and the age of social media because we've been able to stay digitally connected. And hey, that's better than no connection at all right?
1. Send messages on WhatsApp or Facebook and video chat with friends and family as often as possible. Be sure to check in on those friends or family members who may be having a particularly tough time during this lockdown, because of loss of jobs and lack of funds to cover basic living expenses. There are some people that just need to know that someone is thinking about them and can offer assistance.
2. Do Instagram or Facebook live videos. Small businesses and local influencers have been particularly the ones who are utilising this feature because we're unable to physically network and create those in-person connections. So, we opt for our social media and in my opinion, it's a great way to stay in touch. Letting your community know you're still there for them and continuing to strengthen that intimate bond with them is so valuable and appreciated.
3. Get creative. I've been unable to go out and create the content that I had planned, but did that stop me from creating content? It surely hasn't. If anything, this period of quarantine has shown me that I'm capable of so much creativity in the comfort of my home. I've been having so much fun creating style videos. Check out my Instagram for some of the style posts I created!
4. Emotional Health
It's okay to have mixed emotions, as I'm sure we all have had at one point or another. There's so much that we don't know about this virus and we don't know how long this quarantine and lockdown will go on for. Many are without homes, food, financial stability and these are very dreadful times.
1. If you need to, cry it out. We're human and at times our emotions get the better of us and we breakdown. This should never be seen as weak or someone being inadequate but instead, if we're in a position where we can lend a helping hand, do that. You will never know until you help someone in need; how important a simple gesture means. And it doesn't have to be extravagant, but a little can go a long way.
2. Put on some makeup and get dressed up. Hands up if you've been playing with makeup, shopping your closet at home or even doing some retail therapy with online shopping. I've felt more productive on the days that I got up and dressed up; simply because lounge wear can at times make me feel sluggish. It's also been a win-win situation on the days I'm filming content for Instagram.
5. Spiritual Health
Due to social distancing and the inability to congregate at our designated spaces for worship, it shouldn't make us any less connected to God. As a Christian, I've been fortunate for the way that technology has allowed me to stay in touch with my fellow church members.
1. Tune in to your religious service. I've been able to view Friday night and Sunday morning church services, as my Pastor has put things in place to ensure that we continue to remember the value of prayer and togetherness, all from the comfort of our homes. Prayer is powerful and essential; make time to connect with God. Be grateful for the little things.
2. Read a book that helps you to connect with things on a more spiritual level. Listen to podcasts that put emphasis on spiritual well being.
3. Listen to music that centers you and makes you feel at peace.
These have been some of the ways that I've been coping with this transition from what we know as normal. I know that it's also been beneficial to my friends, family and coworkers. We really need to pay attention to the way we respond to things nowadays, as it can have a negative impact on our welfare. These are uncertain and confusing times but it can get better. We have to remember that we have a vital role to play when it comes to flattening the curve. When this lockdown has been lifted, I hope that life doesn't go back to "normal".
Our actions have consequences and I've been thinking that maybe this pandemic happened at a time that the world needed it most. While it has been tragic that thousands have lost their lives and families have lost loved ones, the earth needed a chance to heal. Maybe this quarantine will give us a chance to appreciate family time; to slow down and focus on the elements of life that truly matter but we were so busy we never paid much attention to.
We will all come out of this with different experiences and visions for how we choose to live our lives but I hope that everyone chooses kindness and compassion; for everyone and everything. Now is the perfect time to strengthen those emotional connections with ourselves and our community. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog post. I hope that you all stay safe, healthy and hopeful. Like, comment and share this post with anyone that you think may benefit from this advice xx