5 Ways to Practice Self Care at HomeArticle posted in: Lifestyle
With stories and updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19) constantly inundating our news, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds, it’s hard to find moments of mental and emotional solitude for ourselves. Practicing self care during these strange times is one of the best things you can do to ward off, not only the Coronavirus, but the dark feelings of isolation, fear and boredom.
We hear it all the time, but what does “self care” actually mean? It’s the practice of taking care of or preserving one’s own well-being, health and happiness, especially during times of stress. It’s a versatile concept that can mean something different for each person, which is why it is so important to explore it for your own personal journey to overall wellness. Over the next couple of weeks, as we continue to practice social distancing and abide by the rules of quarantine, it is a perfect time to practice self care. Focus on you! Find your happiness, your bliss! And come out of this the best version of you that you can be!
Here are five ways to practice self care while you’re stuck at home:
1. Unplug (kind of—maybe listen to music) and go for a walk.
This first suggestion is kind of two in one! We are so consumed by screens, whether it’s our phone, computer, tablet or television. We are almost always locked in with a blue light of words and images. Take the time to get yourself moving with some fresh air. According to Harvard Health, walking has been shown to improve cardiac health, reducing risk factors like obesity, hypertension, inflammation, high cholesterol and diabetes. It can even reduce mental stress and battle depression by releasing endorphins.
While you’re taking a stroll through your neighborhood, feel free to throw on a pair of headphones and listen to music. Research shows that listening to some tunes may enhance brain function while lowering blood pressure, stress and inflammation, says Harvard Health. Click here to learn more about the health benefits of music. >
2. Tune in to a podcast.
The best thing about a podcast is that it’s like listening to a television show. Except, unlike a show, you don’t have to sit down and devote your eyes and ears to it. With a podcast you can walk around, do some dishes, clean off that chair that has mounds of clothes on it and reorganize the pantry. Plus, there’s a podcast for everyone—the history buffs, the true crime fanatics, the engineers, the poli-sci majors and the self care pursuers.
A really great podcast out there right now that wants to help you improve your own mental and emotional health is “Unlocking Us” by Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston who has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. She keeps it real, never uses a condescending tone and really dives into the emotions and experiences that bring meaning and purpose to our lives.
3. Read a book.
Again, unplug! Give your eyes (and skin!) a rest from all those blue screen lights and pick up a book. Just like podcasts, there’s a book for everyone. Even if it’s only a few pages a day, reading has so many mental and physical benefits. According to Healthline, reading promotes brain health, increases empathy (something the whole world needs more of), decreases stress, improves vocabulary, alleviates depression and improves sleep. And those are just a few benefits! So, pick up a book and start your self care journey.
4. Practice gratitude.
Take 15 minutes every morning or night and jot down a few things for which you are grateful. It will probably take even less time and can be as simple as writing it on a sticky note—no need for fancy journals. But the truth of it is, that practicing gratitude can rewire your brain. According to Harvard Health, research has shown that “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.” Forcing yourself to focus on what you are grateful for stimulates more positive feelings, improves health, enhances your ability to deal with adversity and improves your relationships. So, take some time, think about all you have to be grateful for during these strange and unprecedented times and get to rewiring your brain!
5. Pick up that hobby you put on the shelf.
We are almost constantly busy. We work jobs, pay bills, meet up with friends and family, remember to feed ourselves, clean our homes, take care of our pets or plant pets. It seems like, especially the last few years, have flown by. We have become habitually subservient to time and schedules.
During these weeks of quarantine, we have been granted a moment of reprieve. Nothing is as important as keeping ourselves and others healthy and safe. We have been mandated to slow down and pause. Take advantage of it. Pick up that old hobby you had to shelf because time just did not allow it. Whether it’s puzzling, painting, drawing, gaming, sewing, carpentry, perfecting your contour or homing your green thumb, just pick it back up! CNBC says that engaging in a hobby can relieve stress, enhance focus, increase happiness and can even lead to a longer life!