I know, I know. The last thing you want to do when there is an airborne virus floating around is take a deep breath. But I’m here to tell ya- if there was ever a time to practice our best self-care skills and mental health practices – this is it.
Inspired by #TeamLuxeProductions and their self-care tips, here are some solid suggestions for you to try this weekend.
Unless you’re like me and live alone with entirely too many dogs, odds are you and your family have been spending more time together than normal. A change in environment like this can be very stressful and cause us to lash out at the ones we love the most. It might sound a little something like this:
“LISTEN, BEN. Just because we live in the same house doesn’t mean I need you all up in my business 24/7! I can literally HEAR you CHEWING from across the room! Please get yo ass up and immediately socially distance yourself from me. Mmkay?”
Sound familiar? Yep. Cohabitating during COVID-19 is not for the faint of heart.
If you’re looking for some zen, you’re gonna have to be creative. Here’s an idea: Take small moments of solitude to center yourself. When you’re folding your sheets in the laundry room, when you’re taking a shower, or when you’re washing your hands. Indulge in the isolation – even if it’s just for a brief moment. Take some deep breaths. And remind yourself that while family lasts forever, this peculiar time of life won’t.
Hey, you’re in your head already, right? While you’re there, practice the mindfulness strategy of “grounding”.
What is grounding? It’s a technique that encourages being in the moment, while simultaneously acknowledging what you are experiencing in your feelings, your thoughts and your body. When stress and anxiety has your mind running a-mile-a-minute, grounding is an excellent way to bring yourself back into the present.
There are two ways to practice grounding: physical and mental.
Physical grounding is just like it sounds. Dig your heels into the floor. Stretch. Touch objects around you. Eat or drink something. PET A DOG. Focus on your breathing. Oftentimes, stepping outside and standing on the actual ground can do wonders for helping you breathe in and be in the moment.
Mental grounding is done internally. Visualize a place that is calming and safe. Be kind to yourself and tell yourself things like, “I am okay. I am safe right now in the present. These anxious feelings will pass.” Another similar tactic is stating facts. For example, “My name is Samantha. I was born in California to my mom, Sheri, and my dad, Scott. I have two brothers. I live in Portland. I have two dogs.” Sometimes, focusing on facts (and not emotions) can be very helpful to alleviate anxious thoughts.
GUILT CAN SUCK IT
The majority of things we worry about on a daily basis never end up occuring. Yet, we spend hours wasting our precious mindspace on negative self-talk and pessimistic thoughts. It seems everyone is feeling guilt over what they are doing, or not doing, or supposed to be doing right now.
Here’s the thing: No one knows. They might pretend like they know, but how many of them have actually lived through a time in history like this? We’re all just doing our best to keep sane.
Don’t allow the lifestyle blogger, or morning show hosts, or even the people next door (speaking to you from behind the fence, of course) to tell you what you should be doing during this time. You do you, boo. If you need to run, run. If you need to craft, craft. If hibernating on the couch, eating cookie dough and binging 90’s Disney+ animated movies makes you happy, girl, get your Goofy Movie on.
Point is- as much as this isolation can be a time of reflection and reset, it can also be just as good to simply relax. Don’t let a super rude cloud of guilt overcast your sunshiney self-care priorities.
LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE
I’ve got a question for ya. How do you wake up Lady Gaga?
Heyo! You’re welcome for that killer Dad joke.
There’s SO MUCH SERIOUSNESS going around right now, that a little humor here and there is very much needed. Share a meme. Make a funny face. Turn Abba’s Dancing Queen up full blast and get the family dancing in the living room.
With all this free time on your [hopefully super squeaky clean] hands, dust off that ol’ creativity you swore you’d use if you ever got some time and MAKE SOMETHING. Post a funny video on Instagram! Pick up that blanket you were knitting. Draw a picture. Play a card game. Here’s a novel idea, read a book! (Mmhmm. See what I did there?)
Lastly, but arguably most importantly, LOVE. PEOPLE.
If you take away anything from this article, please hear this: We are not guaranteed anything in this life. The best and most dynamic thing you can do in a world that is hurting, scared, and anxious, is LOVE.
Send a postcard. Text someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Smile and wave to the folks out walking their dogs. When you’re braving the zombie crowds at the grocery stores, remember the first lesson we all learned in Kindergarten. It’s nice to share. Leave some for the families who can’t get to the grocery store at the crack of dawn; leave some for the elderly who rely on rides to get their necessities.
When you place that extra loaf of bread back on the shelf for someone else, you might not immediately see your moment of kindness take effect, but know this- NO ACT OF LOVE EVER GOES TO WASTE.
Let’s ALL try to be those incredible people, doing those wonderful things, we see on Instagram all the time. You know, the videos that make us cry? If we could all commit to creating a moment every day that, if filmed, would go viral for its extreme act of love or humanity or joy – then we’ll step out of this time in history with a world that is radically different not because of the pandemic, but because of the people we all became during the pandemic.
Are you with me?