I am trying to process the pandemic and I know, I am not alone when I say we are all feeling anxious and need tactics to calm the mind, dissipate stress and feel centered. As we are living in an unpredictable time and feeling disoriented the simple powers of rest, nourish, move, passion and balance become even more important for survival both mentally and physically.
Here are the 5 Power Habits of Self -Care created by Nisha Shah and myself from our 2014 book (1) which we can use on a daily basis to be able to process and survive during this COVID 19 pandemic.
Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night can strengthen the immune system and have us ready to take on the challenges of the day. During stressful times our sleep can be easily broken up as we lay awake in the wee hours of the morning dealing with a flurry of magnified worries which are daunting. Some rest strategies include going to bed the same time each night, turning off all electronic devices 2 hours before bed, meditating or doing yoga stretches before bedtime and making the bedroom a sleep/intimate zone. Being awake in the middle of the night can be helped by listening to a meditation app or calm music or physically getting up and reading until tired again.
Take time to have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eat at the same time each day for consistency and fuel. Shop for healthful foods, make your food and sit down to mindfully enjoy it at the table. Try some new fresh, whole food recipes based on seasonal produce from the local farmers markets and grocery stores. Think about making dinner at the end of the day as a transition from a “work” to a “no-work” mode.
Being at home has opened up some new exercise opportunities. Many classes are now online from yoga and strength training to kick boxing and barre. So there seems to be no excuses to be able to move every day- for an hour. This can be done in 2 half hour segments or 4x 15 minute segments. Make daily movement a non-negotiable.
During this pandemic- being isolated at home has had me writing a lot. I find myself processing and thinking through writing. It slows me down and allows me to go inward to my own thoughts and bring them out onto paper to process. Another passion of mine is oil painting- What are you doing to develop your skills and do more with your passions?
Balance is a hard one to take on as a Power Habit during a pandemic! Some of us are just surviving, taking care of loved ones and barley have time to look at the bigger picture. Balance does not have to be big however. It can be as small as a phone call as Brene Brown will attest: “connection brings purpose and meaning to our lives.”
I keep this quote above my desk to remind me that small gestures can make big impact to keep me balanced.
With stress ,sadness and uncertainty all around, self-care has become even more important to practice during this COVID 19 Pandemic. Remember to put yourself first – your mind and your body will thank you.
Reference: Fogt E & Shah N. , Having Your All: How self-care leads to an energized, empowered and effective life, eWomenWellness, 2014.