Note: This is a guest post by my dear friend, Kafui Mensah.
As we all know, it can be challenging to practice self-care in the midst of everything that grabs at our attention on any given day.
Whether you’re juggling a career and a social life, or school and hobbies, or just trying to make it to bed at a decent hour, the busyness of life is often not conducive to the development of a self-care routine.
In this collective time of uncertainty, you may be thinking of ways to incorporate self-care into your daily routine, especially now that you have been forced to slow down. This can be a daunting task.
If your self-care prior to COVID-19 consisted of a glass of wine and a warm bath every other Thursday, it may be challenging to find other ways to practice self-care, especially in the midst of social distancing.
As someone who is no stranger to blanking on self-care activities, I have compiled a few gentle reminders to hopefully help you (and me) ride this wave of weirdness a little more smoothly.
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Self-care = self-compassion (SAY IT AGAIN FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK!)
Our wonderful friends and social media encourage us all to use this time to be innovative and creative. As a mental health professional, I often hear people say that they have felt more pressure to be “productive” during this time.
I’m here to remind you all that being productive and using this time to learn new things is AWESOME, but being gentle with yourself, and using this time to take more naps, and take things more slowly is AWESOME as well.
The uncertain nature of the pandemic and the state of emergency may bring about a lot of different feelings.
It is important to honour those feelings, even if they aren’t feelings of motivation to plug in your ancient treadmill or work on the novel you’ve been meaning to write.
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Short Bursts of Activities are Okay Too
A common misconception around having more hours in the day to devote to tasks or hobbies is that you should be able to do more than what you were able to do when you were working, schooling, or caring for your virtual animal farm full-time.
In reality, due to the fear, uncertainty, and unfamiliarity inherent in this new state of being, you might not be as productive as you originally imagined you would be.
You might only be able to get through a chapter or two of a new book. You might only be able to take a short walk down the block. Or, you might only be able to fold a few shirts before going back to your Tiger King marathon.
If that is the case, it’s important to remind yourself that short bursts of activities are still activities. If the only activity that you do during the day is feed yourself and change your socks, then please refer to my first tip: self-care = self-compassion.
Give yourself credit.
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Changes to Self-Care are Completely Normal
As I’ve mentioned earlier, we are in uncharted territory right now.
Uncharted territories bring forth a lot of different feelings and circumstances; some good, some bad, and some just plain… there.
As a result of this, you may find that the self-care strategies that made sense to you before don’t make sense to you currently.
Whether that is because of social distancing or because of anxiety, it is safe to assume that some self-care strategies may not seem as soothing as they may have been three weeks ago. If that is the case for you, congratulations! You have been charged with the task of creating self-care practices that make sense to you.
There are multiple activities that may be appealing, such as, listening to music, doing at-home workout, journaling, colouring, baking, or doing a craft. There are also multiple activities that may be less appealing.
With an open-mind and a little patience, you will be able to find something (or even a few things) that can soothe you during this time.
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With these tips as a guide, I hope that you feel more equipped to manage your self-care and your wellness in the face of COVID-19.
For you, this time may be a time of self-discovery and growth, or it may be a time of uncertainty and fear. It will probably be a mixture of both of those things, hopefully with some connection and compassion mixed in.
Whether you are on your third nap of the day, juggling a new child-care schedule, or surfing social media for home workout ideas, I hope that you are able to give yourself both understanding and care.
Big love to you all, my fellow Quarantiners.
Until next time…
A lover of radical self-compassion, afternoon naps, and run-on sentences, Kafui works in the field of mental health and addictions in the Kitchener-Waterloo Region. When not at work, Kafui enjoys writing, watching Bob’s Burgers, and dancing aggressively to afrobeat music.
You can connect with Kafui @ firstname.lastname@example.org