When times are difficult, we tend to put ourselves on the back burner. We sleep less and worry more. Believe it or not, there are some simple ways to practice self care during a crisis.
With the current viral outbreak it feels like second nature to pump the breaks on our self care routines. We are too concerned with stocking up on essential supplies in case of a quarantine or disinfecting our lives, as if we can see the virus running at is.
While some don't take these type of situations seriously, many of us feel like we're in the midst of a crisis.
cri·sis (noun): a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger: the current economic crisis | a family in crisis
If you're reading this guide, I bet your anxiety is through the roof right now. It's difficult to be a positive thinker when the news, social media, or maybe even family members are only speaking negative. You are feeling pressure to do something, fix something, prevent anything from happening.
This is when self care matters the most.
Below I'm going to share a few simple (and reasonable) ways to practice self care during a crisis. This isn't geared towards a specific outbreak, but if you keep scrolling – I'm sharing a few specific ideas for that.
Simple Self Care During a Crisis
I'm certain that self care is the last thing on your mind in an emergency situation. However, something brought you to this page. While taking care of yourself feels like too much work right now, it's important that you make it a priority for your mental health.
1. Meditation or Prayer
Whether you're into guided mediation, prayer, or anything that allows you to connect with self, it's important that you don't neglect it. In times of difficulty, you need to connect with self more than ever.
Don't forget that meditation is for your soul, so if you neglect it, you're only doing yourself harm. Meditation and prayer will give you a way to manifest peace, calm, and overall wellbeing.
2. Eat Nutritious Food
I think we're all guilty of eating our feelings or stress eating. When you're in panic mode or feeling overly stressed, one of the best ways to take care of yourself is to eat healthy and nutritious foods.
Eating bad can make you overly tired, leading to even more stress and anxiety. I like to cut carbs and stick to low-carb meals when I'm experiencing overwhelm.
3. Stay Active
Staying active keeps your blood flowing and instantly releases stress. During a crisis, it may be tempting to curl up in a ball and cry. Don't. Move around by going for walks or even cleaning the house. It keeps the adrenaline going and can help distract your mind.
4. Avoid the News, Google, and Social Media
During the time of a crisis, it's really important to avoid anything that will increase tension or stress. By Googling things or scrolling social media, you could find yourself reacting to false narratives or panicking without true cause.
5. Don't Neglect Responsibilities
While I recommend saying NO to certain things, I find it important that you don't neglect responsibilities when it stressful situations. Neglecting the things you have to do can actually lead to extreme anxiety and feelings of disappointment.
If you have important things to do, they will still be there later on. This means everything will pile up for a later time.
Do what you need to do but give yourself some grace. Feed the kids, tidy the house, pay the bills. You don't need to host the playdate you promised. Prioritize what you need to do and handle it.
6. Allow Yourself to Smile and Feel Joy
When things are tough, especially within the family, it's easy to feel guilty for being happy. If someone is sick or suffering, even smiling can make you feel bad. Don't fall into this sabotaging thought process.
Give yourself permission to feel joy and happiness. You're allowed to live your life, even if everything around you seems to be falling apart. By avoiding the positive things, you can lead yourself into negative thinking or even worse, depression.
Journaling is an incredible way to understand difficult feelings and situations. By writing down how you're feeling, or doing a complete brain dump, you can open your mind up for a clearer way of thinking.
In turn, you'll find it easier to make hard decisions, you'll understand your emotions better, and you'll be able to communicate in a much more effective way.
8. Listen to Music That Calms You
Part of self care is doing whatever it takes to keep your mind, body, and soul calm. Listening to certain songs or genres can help relax the mind.
9. Control Compulsive or Addictive Tendencies
Also, it's vital that you don't give into compulsive or addictive tendencies. This is especially important if you've worked really hard on loving yourself. By now, you probably have identified your emotional triggers or compulsive tendencies.
In a time of crisis, it's easy to act in a compulsive manner. Here a few signs that you're already acting compulsively:
- Overspending to distract yourself or feed into a false need for something.
- Posting obsessively on social media about the crisis at hand.
- Checking for updates on the situation every few minutes.
- Googling EVERYTHING.
- For COVID-19: Cleaning and washing more than necessary
- Checking on those involved every hour.
- Overthinking or trying to control what you can't.
10. Talk to a Trusted Friend
Just because we call it self care, doesn't mean you have to do it alone. Never stop talking to trusted friends or family in a time of crisis. Express your feelings and thoughts with full honesty.
These trusted individuals should be there to support you and help you to deal with the negative feelings you're experiencing.
Cutting off contact is a common things many of us tend to do when we're in stressful situations. When, in fact, this is a time you need them more than ever.
11. Continue Taking Medications and/or Vitamins
Don't skip your meds just because your mind is elsewhere. Keep these as a top priority in times of crisis.
12. Rest and Relaxation
One of the most simple ways to practice self care during a crisis is to ensure that you're getting enough rest and relaxation. Don't pace a room or run around in a panic. Give yourself time to relax. This can be in the form of a nap or just sitting with your favorite song or TV show.
13. Know Your Boundaries (and voice them, if needed)
Take time to think of your boundaries, or even write them in a journal, then express them if necessary. We need to be gentle with ourselves during a crisis. This means avoiding triggers and staying away from toxic people – even family.
If you need space – say something. If a friend's reaction to the crisis or to your emotions, aren't servicing your mental health – distance yourself. Your mental wellbeing is the most important. Knowing and voicing your boundaries is key to self-care.
14. Avoid People Pleasing
Likewise, avoid being a people pleaser. While I never thinking people pleasing is good, it's especially harmful during a life crisis. You'll find yourself working so hard to please others that you'll realize you're neglecting your own needs and feelings.
If you have trouble with this, use my guide on How To Stop Being a People Pleaser.
15. Be Realistic
Finally, self care is admitting that you cannot do it all. You aren't perfect and you cannot make magic happen. Be realistic about your abilities and don't put too much pressure on yourself.
You should also be realistic about the crisis itself. Is it really something to worry about? Are you overthinking or making up possible scenarios in your head? Don't stress about anything that hasn't happened. Doing so, puts yourself through the situation twice.
Viral Outbreak Self Care Practices:
The crazy outbreak is the perfect time to learn how to practice self care during a crisis. These are the ways you can practice self-care during the virus spread or when any other virus is a fear:
1. Wash Hands Regularly
I know. You've heard this before but please keep your hands clean at all times. Wash them regularly – even at home. This will give you peace of mind and will help ensure that you don't contract the virus yourself.
2. Don't Let Stress Overcome You
Try to remain calm. As mentioned above, it's important that you don't allow stress to completely overcome you. Chances are this isn't something that you've come in contact with, but you're still stressing. Why? What will it do for you?
Likewise, it's a well-known fact that stress weakens the immune system. Worry about the here and now and less about what could happen.
3. Keep Yourself Busy
Please don't sit around watching the news or scrolling the feeds. Keep yourself busy with activities or other things you usually don't have time for.
4. Enjoy Outdoor Time
While it's not recommended that you visit public places, you can still enjoy some outdoor time. Sit outside and enjoy the weather. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Play with the kids in the backyard. Fresh air works wonder!
5. Talk to Loved Ones
Rather than worrying too much about your family and loved ones, stay in touch with them. Talk to family regularly. This gives you time to express your concerns, then let them go.
Additionally, it will give you peace of mind to know how they're feeling and to know that they're stocked on the supplies they need.
6. Reschedule What You Can – Rather Than Cancelling
Cancelling big and exciting events can be downright depressing. Rather than cancelling all those fun things – reschedule them. It may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel right now, but you can make a mental note to plan these things for a later time.
I understand that somethings just cannot be rescheduled – but a lot can. Try to think positive and look forward to all the great things that will come after this pandemic.
7. Limit Places You Visit & Travel
Self care means not taking any chances when it comes to your health. Please don't carry on as if a viral outbreak isn't happenings. Whether you're healthy or not, it's important to avoid situations where you could become sick.
Additionally, it's important to limit your travel to protect others. If you contract the virus, you could easily pass it on to someone with a weaker immune system.
8. Take Advantage of Down Time
One of my favorite things I'm seeing on social media is friends who are taking advantage of their down time and lock-ins.
When it comes to self care during an epedimic, do yourself a favor and use this time to your advantage. Take care of those petty tasks that you never have time for. Some ideas include:
- Deep cleaning the home
- Starting a Minimalism Challenge
- Reading books on your list
- Enjoy a new hobby
- Binge watching a TV Series
- Teach yourself or your children something new
- Introducing classic movies to your family
- Play games with family
- Beginning an actual Self Care Challenge
- Journaling about Self Discovery
- Take care of home improvement projects
- Do yard work
- Begin Meal Planning
- Take an online course
- Do a Digital Detox
There are some pretty fantastic and creative ideas for those stuck in the home. Just think about what you want to do and make it happen!
9. Be prepared but don't panic.
It's always important to be prepared but don't panic when times are stressful. Self Care during a crisis, like this one, means taking precautions but staying a good headspace.
10. Don't stop your life.
Finally, I ask that you don't stop your life because of this specific crisis. Continue to do the things you enjoy, practice self-care, mingle with friends & family (on phone, text, video, and social media), but please – don't put a pause on life.
If you feel as if this crisis has taken over your life and you're having trouble navigating your feelings – I recommend finding a good therapist that can help you.
What ways do you practice self care during a crisis? Tell me what simple or creative ideas you have!
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