Written by Janelle Gibson, LCSW-S, Director of Family Violence Intervention Services
S- START EACH DAY WITH SELF-CARE. Begin every day doing something for yourself before you think of work, job hunting, taking care of children, etc. Make your care a priority before anything else. It may be you enjoy your morning coffee or tea while relaxing in your comfy chair. It may be that you meditate, read, or pray. You might do a crossword or sing in the shower. The only requirement is that you start the day with a little self-care.
E– EXERCISE. Do some sort of movement during the day. You don’t need to start an exercise program or run 3 miles, but just get some movement in. A 15 minute walk at some point during the day or dancing to a favorite tune for 5 minutes counts. Movement is a great antidote to depression and anxiety.
L-LET GO of what you cannot control. Worrying about what is not under your control creates more stress that cannot be resolved.
F-FIND NEW WAYS OF HAVING FUN-Give yourself permission to have fun and laugh in spite of the circumstances. Get creative with inventing homespun fun. You may find a new TV series to binge watch or try your hand at cooking. Reading and listening to music are both distracting and enjoyable. Take a “comic relief” break at least one a day. Do something silly just for fun. (Blow bubbles, fingerpaint, doodle to music, etc.).
C- CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES and CHOOSE COMPASSION and CULTIVATE KINDNESS-especially with yourself. Now may not be the time to admonish yourself about your diet or vow to radically change your behavior. Times are hard. Being harder on yourself only complicates the situation. Be gentle with yourself.
A-ACCEPT WHAT IS-The pandemic is real and it is affecting everyone. Accepting the fact doesn’t mean you like it. Accepting affords you the opportunity to develop a response rather than denying reality and thereby denying its effects.
R-REACH OUT TO OTHERS. Isolation breeds loneliness and depression. Although we may be physically isolated, we need not be socially isolated. Call a friend, have a virtual dinner date, join a Zoom group, play an online game with others, continue therapy via tele-health.
E-END EACH DAY WITH SELF-CARE-Give yourself permission to end your day with something just for you. Perhaps keep a journal, take a hot bath, do some stretches, or just take a “5 minute’s peace” break. The more you practice self-care, the more routine it will become, and you will find that it becomes a healthy habit.