March 24, 2020

Self Care Isn't Selfish: Vol. 4 (How Are You Doing Right Now?)

Everyone is feeling lots of anxiety right now. There are so many unknowns and weird emotions. I wanted to check in today and see how you're doing and to share some self care tips that I'm using to keep me sane during this unpredictable time.

How to take care of yourself during a pandemic

As someone with anxiety it's very important for me to be able to control my surroundings. I want to know what's coming next, I want to analyze what has already been, and be in constant "prepared" mode. During a global pandemic is not the best time for us anxious ones. Day-to-day is unpredictable. The governor of Virginia just announced yesterday that schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year. Which changes everything about my daily routine. Businesses are closed, we're having to cook from home like we never have before, and there's only so much Netflix you can watch before feeling your brain turn to mush.

I shared some encouragement yesterday on my instagram story, but I wanted to put some things down in writing for everyone. Below are a few things that have been working for me over the past few weeks to keep it together. I've also included some new ideas that I'm going to have to adapt now that my work day is changing.

I hope these simple things help you some during this time. Sending you lots of love!

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1. LIMIT YOUR NEWS INTAKE
I cannot stress this one enough, and I put it at the top for a reason. The 24 hour access to news can be tempting and overwhelming. The constant intake of the media can amp up anxiety and make an already scary time seem even more frightening. Pace your intake, friends. Stay informed, but don't worship your TV.

2. CHECK IN ON YOUR PEOPLE
In this new era of social distancing, checking in on your people is so important. I've seen lots of fun ways that people are still "hanging out" virtually. A simple FaceTime call will make a huge difference too.

3. CLEAN UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING
Now is not the time to follow any accounts that bring you down, make you feel lesser than, spark the comparison game, or are part of the dreaded "hate follow" category. It may take a little time to go through every list (instagram, twitter, and facebook), but trust me, it will be worth it! Out with the old and in with the new. I shared some of my favorite mental wellness IG accounts in this post!

4. READ
I know a lot of us are readers all the time, but now is the perfect time to get back to the simplicity of getting lost in a great book. Often times, it serves me better than getting lost in a TV show or movie. My current read is Glennon Doyle's new memoir Untamed.

5. CREATE A ROUTINE
For me, having some sense of normalcy can mean the difference in a good day versus a bad day. If you have the luxury of staying home during this time, I encourage you to still create a simple routine for yourself every day to keep you sane. Even though my daily life has changed drastically with the school closure, going into the office for a few hours every other day is a form of self care for me.

6. TAKE YOUR MEDS/KEEP YOUR THERAPY APPOINTMENTS
Now is not the time to forget any doses of your medication! Make sure your prescriptions are filled! Also, if you go to therapy regularly, keep those appointments or transition to video sessions so you don't have to sacrifice that part of your mental health. I had an appointment with my therapist yesterday and came out feeling energized and optimistic.

7. DON'T PRESSURE YOURSELF TO BE PRODUCTIVE
I cannot stress this enough! If you're just not feeling like getting motivated one day - that's ok. Don't put pressure on yourself or let someone else pressure you. We're in the middle of a global pandemic, people! Days are going to be weird and sucky and lazy from time to time. And that's ok. . .

8. GET CREATIVE
People really are doing an incredible job of taking care of each other right now. There are so many resources that companies are offering for free during this time simply to ease the pain of everything and be thoughtful toward their fellow citizens. There are classes online you can sign up for, museum tours you can take, Broadway plays you can watch - the list goes on and on. Now is also a great time to focus on any DIY projects you've been putting off :)

9. PRAY/MEDITATE
I know this looks different for everyone, but I encourage you set aside some quiet time in your day for prayer or meditation. Or even a walk outside. Just some time to clear your head, unburden yourself of all the thoughts, and refocus.

10. KEEP YOUR SPACE CLEAN/TIDY
A cluttered space = a cluttered mind, and right now we can't afford any brain fog. I know that "tidy" looks different for all of us, so whatever that means to you, do that thing. If it's simply making your bed every morning or keeping dirty dishes out of the sink - do the things that keep you clear-headed and sharp.

11. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF/FEEL YOUR FEELINGS
You can't take care of anyone else if you don't take care of yourself. Read that again. Now is the time to be a little bit selfish with your time and energy. You can only give your best to the people around you if you give your best to yourself. Loving yourself is loving everyone else. I also encourage you to just feel how you feel. Feelings are not right or wrong, good or bad. If you're having a bad day just ride it out and have that bad day. I think so many of us have been taught that the only "right" feeling is happy and all other feelings need to not exist. Take care of yourself, friends, and feel your feelings.

xo, Julie
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