May 13, 2020

Enough Bubble Baths. Enough Wine. Here’s what Coronavirus Self-Care really Looks Like.

Check out Elephant’s Continually-updating Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon


Over the past few months, we have faced unprecedented times and experienced dramatic changes that may have undoubtedly altered the rest of our personal and professional lives.

From the lack of social interaction to conducting business online and facing financial crisis, these past few months have not been easy. In fact, it is an understatement to say that dealing with the ripples of COVID-19 hasn’t been an easy feat.

However, with a little effort and a lot of self-care, it is possible to move forward as true warriors during this time.

In this era, a true warrior must acknowledge that self-care is more than a bubble bath and a glass of wine. A true warrior understands that self-care does not mean self-indulgence.

On the way to feeling better and moving forward, we may go through irritating stages of discomfort. Just like with any loss, we may experience denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But, in order to bounce back, we must strive to actively and thoughtfully move forward.

So, instead of sitting back and waiting to work out all the details, it is vital that we take matters into our own hands. We need to start taking care of our mental, emotional, and physical health now so that we can improve our current situation and enhance our future experiences. If we don’t do something to actively change our mindset, it won’t change by itself.

Self-care, for starters, gives us permission to fully explore and release ourselves from this idea of perfectionism and what they call “people-pleasing” syndrome.

As women, saying yes to yourself can be challenging. But, it’s not impossible; it just takes practice and discipline. It requires us to have respect for ourselves and honoring our mind, body, and soul a little bit more.

So, what is keeping us from the mindset we should and want to have? Fear of the future?

Wait—fear of the future? When you live your life thinking of what could happen before it even happens, it slowly affects your mind, body, and spirit. Phrases such as, “I can’t do it” and “What if this happens?” take over your whole well-being before you even notice it.

In order to advance and benefit from our experiences, we must train ourselves to be capable of going from one breakdown to another without losing our self-love and respect. This is what reconstructs a sense of wellness within us.

Personal and social challenges throughout our lives impact the way we view the world, causing many of us to react in unhealthy ways. This reaction includes self-sabotage, addiction, relationship problems, and lack of control, among many others.

The Four-Step Approach to Transformation

In order to speed up the process to better cope as the best version of yourself, here are some self-care tips to help you move forward having a more balanced mind, body, and spirit. Deciding that you are worth the effort and the time is especially important during these times and for the future.

1. A gratitude practice is part of our self-care routine.

We will most likely never feel comfortable standing close to people we don’t know. We may never feel comfortable in public places the way we used to. It may take a long time to all gather without the thought of getting sick.

But, in order to yield good results, we must consciously shift and count our blessings.

Researchers have been starting to document how the practice of gratitude is tied to improving our mental health. Adopting the practice of gratitude as a habit can shift the perception we have of the world and those around us. By embracing our positive emotions and focusing on the moments in life that are filled with grace, it will help us connect to something larger than ourselves.

Gratitude is simply having the appreciation for what we receive. When we emphasize and train ourselves to look for the positive things in life, we acknowledge the goodness in our lives—whether palpable or impalpable.

When we feel positive, joyous, and appreciative of our ability to deal with adversity in healthier ways, our mental health improves drastically. This self-care practice can be applied to the past (positive memories and past blessings), the present (not taking life for granted), and the future (keeping an optimistic and hopeful attitude).

This simple practice is powerful. By cultivating the habit of gratitude, you learn to appreciate what you have instead of waiting to be happy. Redirecting your focus in what you have instead of what you lack is a beautiful and mighty self-care practice.

2. Sleep is part of our self-care routine.

Keeping watch like a trusty guard dog and watching TV series until wee hours of the night have been big parts of this pandemic. We don’t even realize how those episodes of late-night watching, binging, and ongoing episodes are affecting our brain’s health.

Habits that sabotage our sleep schedule are the last thing our brain needs. The fact that we are feeding our brain with things that are not expanding our mind is bad enough, not to mention the fact we are robbing our bedtime routine of a relaxing experience. By training our brain to suppress levels of melatonin, we are training our bodies to run low on tiredness, which is linked to irritability.

Setting some ground rules is the beginning of a great self-care practice.

It is important that we become diligent in setting positive habits conducive to moving forward. It is crucial to create a relaxing, almost dependable bedtime routine. It is essential to create habits that discourage activities that can lead to anxiety or high emotional responses. Going to bed at a reasonable hour is just one of the ways to commit to your needs that will in turn create healthier habits.

3. Connecting with others by using a transformational vocabulary is part of our self-care routine.

Words play a big role in how we feel. Labeled experiences become our experiences.

There is no denying the fact that we have been experiencing a lot of overwhelming emotions, and one of the coping mechanisms we have leaned on is venting. Talking about our fears and worries has become the new norm. Of course, anyone can argue that the way we respond to this time of uncertainty can depend on many factors.

In the interest of moving forward, taking care of how we communicate can help us cope with stress in a healthier way. By understanding the risks of sharing stressful and negative information, you can instead learn to share in a calm manner and confidently provide the best support to others.

Reassuring ourselves that this situation will not last forever is a comforting way of engaging in self-care. With every reaction, there is an action and an emotion that we could have had instead. Choosing to act differently has a potent effect in the way feel about ourselves and others.

Committing to eliminate at least four lousy words that are not serving you well and switching them for four empowering words is one of the most effective ways to practice self-care.

The words we attach to our experiences create our habits and patterns. As we move forward, we want to create a better, certain, safe, optimistic place within us.

Instead of saying, “This is hard,” try saying, “This is inconvenient.” And in place of, “I am a failure,” try, “I have learned.”

Carrying out the decision to evaluate what we are thinking and what we are saying gives us the power to serve ourselves with love and respect.

4. Moving our bodies is part of a self-care routine.

Somehow, alcohol, drugs, and food—like other reckless or addictive behaviors—have led us to self-recrimination and depression during this pandemic. Making new habits, in order to move forward, can be a great investment to our well-being.

By choosing to improve our health, we understand that exercise has a great impact on our lives. Moving our body is the ultimate self-care routine.

Exercise can enhance our physical health and helps us feel better emotionally. Neglecting our health at the expense of this time of uncertainty is dangerous for many reasons.

Moving our bodies with intention brings out the better and healthier version of us. When you think of moving your body or exercising, you should be celebrating that your body is able to move, as many are not able to. We tend to see life as we are and not as it is. The fact that we can move our body is a gift.

Finding a consistent health care routine is one of the most selfless acts. Exercising regularly will make you more focused and present as a human being.

In order to move forward, committing to a 30-minute moving routine is the recipe for success. It does not matter if it is cardio, weight training, aerobics, water exercise, a run, or a walk—your overall health and mood will improve.

When we set achievable goals, we grow confident every time we accomplish the set goals. Thirty minutes every day is an achievable goal. Adding exercise into our day will increase our chances of experiencing a healthier life.

Certainly, we are facing unprecedented and dramatic changes, but we have the power to decide to move forward for our own well-being. We can control how we react and how we come out of this experience.

As true warriors, we must take care of ourselves. Preparing and training for a victorious win should be our ultimate goal. Taking care of our basic needs is the first step to relieving the stress upon us.

Yes, self-care goes beyond a bubble bath and a glass of wine. Self-care is caring for your mind, body, and spirit. It equips you with the best habits and patterns to live your life to the fullest—in all seasons of life.

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