The term ‘self-care’ is certainly a buzz word these days, something we all ‘need’ and are told we should prioritize often. What does the word conjure up for you? Manicures, meditation, solo walks, and soothing baths?
In this time of global crisis and schedule upheaval, the concept of ‘self-care’ as bubble baths and bonbons may seem on the lighter side laughable, and on the darker side, something that increases our despair.
Self-care isn’t necessarily about the activity, it’s an approach. Especially when we’re juggling disrupted routines, working remote, impromptu homeschooling and the like, it may not be possible to indulge in seemingly lavish forms of "me" time and "treat yo self".
How can we practice self-care when we’re feeling overwhelmed and even more aware of the uncertainty of the future? We can do it by incorporating self-care into our attitude and how we approach our everyday actions.
At this time, self-care is bare bones. We focus on simply caring for ourselves, and thankfully if our basic needs are met (food/shelter), then it can be about mindset.
Here are a few ways to integrate self-care into your day without adding tasks to your to-do list or trying to carve out time in a cramped schedule:
Smile at yourself in the mirror. Maybe even say a kind word or affirmation like ‘you can do hard things’ or ‘I believe in you.’ Even if you don’t feel it at first, the smile will permeate your psyche, and the mantra can become true.
Take a deep breath as you walk outside. There’s not always time for an intentional meditation or pranayama practice, but each breath IS a chance to reset and inviting fresh air into your system is good for your body and mind.
Respect your place and space. Like the golden rule, treat an item or action the way you want to be treated. Set your mug in the sink with care, fold the laundry with a bit of focus. Maybe not every action, every time, but an attitude of resentment or action with spite will linger with you.
At some times, the most challenging but the most powerful form of self-care is to...
Adopt a moment to moment mindset. The future is unknown, the past is unchangeable, and when we get caught up in either we’re bound to find anxieties or depression. Focus on the here and now and try to accomplish each task in a way that can nourish you in THAT moment.
These small acts have big impacts. Integrating these mini practices of self-care can have macro effects on your mood as we continue to move forward, no matter what life may bring.