It’s been a whole year of living in a pandemic. It’s safe to say that no one has been unaffected. From personal lives to jobs to illnesses and maybe even loss, this past year has required adaptability and resolve. Stress, anxiety, and mental health suffered amidst change and uncertainty for many. If there’s one thing a pandemic taught us, it is that self-care needs to be highlighted in our lives.
It’s easy to get lost of the jumble of life, for days or even weeks to pass on auto-pilot. This article will highlight ideas for self-care as a means to improve coping and prevent mental health burn-out.
Here the International Self-Care Foundation highlights what self-care is at its core and the seven pillars of self-care. And Mental Health America has a resource here for readers, noting that if stress seems more difficult to cope with than what is manageable with coping and self-care to seek professional help.
Ten ideas for boosting daily self-care:
- Build micro self-care acts into everyday activities
- give yourself a few extra minutes of scalp massage while washing your hair
- do some light stretches or self-massage while you’re performing your morning routine like teeth brushing
- Use a motivational quote as your phone screen or put a sticky note on your mirror
- Appreciate the sunrise or sunset in between your morning/evening routine hustle
- Crank up the tunes to shift your mood
- If you’re spiritual, turn on some music that aligns with your faith
- Set up a playlist with your favorite mood lifting music
- Turn on a station with music from your childhood
- Change up routine patterns when you’re in a rut
- Switch up your morning routine if you feel you’re always in a rush, flip-flop activities
- Wake up 5-10 minutes early to fit in a self-care activity to start your day on the right foot
- Take a post dinner walk instead of watching tv
- Go on a date with yourself once a week (no, not to the grocery store!)
- This doesn’t need to be extravagant, but make it something YOU enjoy!
- Find ten minutes each day to move your body intentionally
- Stretching, diaphragmatic breathing, jogging, lifting weights – whatever gets your endorphins flowing
- Listen to podcasts or books that inform, inspire, and/or feed your interests
- Ask friends and family members or even social media can give you ideas that may interest you
- Read something for learning or pleasure at least ten minutes every day
- Say ‘no’ to activities and invitations that drain your mental health
- This one takes practice, start small
- Let your partner or loved ones know your needs and when you’re struggling
- Seek professional help when you need help beyond loved ones
- When all else fails and you feel you’re sinking amidst the chaos, commit to one intentional act of self-care per day
While this list is not exhaustive, it provides a starting point when struggling with lack of self-care and burn-out. Oftentimes, starting the day with a self-care activity that makes us feel good sets the tone and improves mood and productivity. Remember, “The root of self-care is setting boundaries: it’s saying no to something in order to say yes to your own emotional, physical, and mental well-being.” – Nedra Tawwab