There’s a myth about self-care that it’s a one-time special event like a luxurious spa retreat or ocean vacation. Self-care is really about taking care of yourself every day. It’s making time for healthcare and exercise. Self-care is taking the steps to get enough sleep and managing your time effectively. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing untold stress, but when you add the political climate and the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s no wonder everyone is overwhelmed. Here are some self-care ideas that won't break the bank.
Make Time for a Morning Routine
Starting on the right foot can help you maintain your cool through your day. A hot cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate while you sit and mediate can really let you start your day in a good mental space. Instead of checking your phone when you first wake up, take some time to get ready. Have a healthy breakfast.
Get Connected to Nature
Take a walk in the park with the dog. Sit in your backyard for a picnic. Go outside in the morning when it’s still cool and enjoy a sunrise. Go bicycling and watch the sunset. Plant a garden, even if it’s just in containers. Bring home a bouquet of flowers from the florist’s shop. If you have access to wildflowers on the side of the road, that may be a cheaper option. Just make sure to watch for poison ivy, ensure it’s legal to pick the flowers, and be safe.
Use Resources That Save Time
Many people have a daily to-do list that would take 25 hours or more. Take back your time by using an online shopping app. Many grocery stores offer free pick-up or have a low delivery fee. Discuss sharing chores with your partner and kids. Let them take on some of the jobs around the house that eat up your time. If everyone puts in 30 minutes toward picking up the clutter, it gets the job done quicker. Hopefully, it might even make them think twice about leaving it around.
Clean and Declutter
Spend one hour every week tackling one bigger project that drives you crazy. Most people forget that cleanup is part of self-care. When your home is neat, it’s easier to clean. You won’t get everything in order at one time, but you can take on small projects that add up to more space and less clutter. Make it a manageable project:
- Clean out one cupboard or one drawer in the kitchen.
- Deep clean the bathtub.
- Get rid of clothes in one closet that don’t fit or you don’t wear anymore.
- Vacuum one entire room by moving furniture to get the whole carpet.
Get the idea? When you’ve accomplished your goal, do something fun.
Learn To Relax
Many people hold their stress internally. Are you naturally tense? You might have a stiff posture, because it’s common to hold stress in your neck, shoulders and back. Relearn to sit up straight with good posture. Take a hot soak or enjoy a warm shower to help you relax those muscles. Yoga can also be a good way to learn to relax. Every so often, take in deep breaths through your nose and release oxygen through the mouth. Chewing gum can help you remember to stop clenching your jaw, if that is your problem. Remind yourself to release the tension in your body as you cope with stress.
Only You Can Take Care of Yourself
If you don’t stop to take care of your body and your mental health, no one else is going to make you. The COVID-19 pandemic may be here for a while. Most people don’t have a way to change policy or the direction of a nation, but each person can stop and take time to deal with their own stress in a positive way.