By Kristen Murphy
Me. Myself. I. It’s so easy to be consumed with the self right now. We all find ourselves in a different place than we’ve ever been before. Social distancing is a strange time. We all have more time to ourselves, which generally leads to self-reflection. Sometimes, that self-reflection can become consuming and that’s all we think about. So how can we turn the tendency to be consumed with ourselves into something positive? Let’s begin by appreciating the difference between self-care and self-indulgence.
I’m sure you’ve heard the topic of self-care thrown around quite a bit over the last couple of months. ‘Pamper yourself, eat all the chocolate, drink all the wine, binge all the shows, etc.’ I think there’s nothing wrong with that every once in a while. But the things above are not ultimately helping your body or your mind in the long run. Those indulgences are meant to be infrequent. This is where self-care comes in.
Self-care is taking care of your body and your mind. What practices will help you to be able to continue to work efficiently? To be a supportive friend or companion? To be able to take care of yourself and others? The following are things that I think will help us all to capitalize on the benefits of staying at home (yes, there are benefits to staying at home - we have to look on the positive side):
Set up a routine: Before you even come up with other items on this list...think objectively. What practices or habits do you already have that help you to stay positive and discplined? What have you always wanted to implement but didn’t have time to before? Map it all out. One thing I’ve made sure to include in my routine is the distinction between the week and the weekend. With us staying home all week, it can feel as though the days blur together. I have tried to balance that out and leave work and my ‘have-to’s for the weekdays and leave my schedule open for movies, books, etc on the weekends.
Brain work: engage your brain. This doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds; you don’t have to learn a new language. Just simply take some time out your day to read a good book, complete a crossword, work on a puzzle, etc. Basically, make it a task that requires brain power to complete.
Movement: This will be the easiest one for most of us. But, it it's not don’t stress. We all know how much exercise benefits our mind, body, and soul. Make sure you keep it your routine. Now, it doesn’t have to be hours and hours. A minimum of 30 minutes a day to accelerate your heart rate and get your body moving.
Fun: What do you like to do? Have a dance party, try a new recipe, facetime a friend, clean out the closet, paint your nails...make some portion of your day a task that you look forward to completing.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to self-care. It can look so different for each of us. But, the point is, take care of yourself. Don’t allow this time to be one where you eat junk, never get off the couch, disconnect from everyone you know. That’s not taking care of yourself. That’s over indulging yourself.
We all have a unique opportunity during these ‘stay at home’ orders: time. Even if it’s only an hour more a week, we all have more time. Use it wisely. Take care of yourself. We love you and want you to be both happy and healthy.