For many of my readers, quarantine has meant an increase in responsibilities–helping everyone else survive. How are you helping YOURSELF, though? This edition of Quarantine Talk is dedicated to ways to show yourself love during quarantine.
Quarantine has really been something, huh? If you are working from home, you have had to deal with distractions, balance at-home relationships with work productivity, and stay motivated in a space you normally relax in. Some of you have children who are out of school for “summer”; your responsibilities have quadrupled as you have involuntarily taken on homeschooling on top of everything else you have to do (including your own work in many cases!). Others still are out of work and struggling to make it through this time of great uncertainty and hardship. And many of you are sick yourselves, have a loved one that is sick, or are trying to be cautious in order to stay healthy. Every single one of you has taken on more responsibility than you had before COVID-19, but let me ask you this– what are you doing to release the stress brought on by this increase in responsibility? What are you doing to show yourself some compassion during all this craziness?
I have a dear friend several states away who regularly sees a therapist. When quarantine hit where she lives, her therapist recommended she do 5 acts of self-care every day. EVERY DAY! When my friend initially heard this, she laughed out loud; no mother with a busy toddler has time for that! She and I then had a conversation about self-care and self-love, and the takeaway of our talk is what I want to share with you today. I think everyone can benefit from making self-care a priority during quarantine.
You can love yourself by practicing self-care. I love talking about self-care because I truly believe taking time for yourself better enables you to give more in every other aspect of your life. I have written quite a bit about self-care on my blog, have shared a plethora of ideas (including unique ones!), and continually encourage my readers to make self-care a priority. Let me use an analogy to explain the importance of self-care. When a violin bow is not in use, the strings ought to be loosened. If you leave a bow under tension too long, it will lose its camber (or bend) faster, which will affect its music quality and will decrease the lifespan of the bow–eventually necessitate you purchasing a new bow. As any string instrumentalist knows: You get in the habit of loosening the bow.
This analogy applies to real life: If you are going, going, going, full speed ahead 24 hours a day seven days a week all year long, you are going to break! You need to figuratively loosen your bow. The therapist who advised my friend to practice five acts of self-care a day was essentially instructing my friend to loosen the bow. This is not just for fun or to “treat yo self”; no, it is necessary for your overall well being (and for that of your family members)!
Even though we are in quarantine, time, especially quality time, has become more precious than ever. So how on earth are you supposed to fit in five acts of self-care each day? Make your self-care small, manageable, and attainable. Here are some ideas that will only take minutes, but make a HUGE difference:
- Spend a moment outside (be it running, hiking, walking, sitting, meditating, even a few minutes in nature can help heal your soul)
- Practice gratitude your way
- Eat a balanced meal
- Exercise (even 20 minutes working out at home will boost your mood!)
- Get ready and dressed (jammies are nice, but you are not going to feel great about yourself if you prolong the Netflix + Chill trend all quarantine long!)
- Paint your nails
- Take a bath
- Wash your hair
- Eat or make a fun treat
- Plan for 10 minutes of alone time at the end of the day
- Create something
- Practice spirituality (whether that is praying, reading sacred text, meditating–connect with something bigger than yourself!)
- Repeat positive affirmations
- Sit and take deep breaths
- Review/revise goals/resolutions
- Talk with a friend or loved one on the phone (more on this next week!)
Quarantine was unexpected and not something anyone expected in 2020. I ask you to please take care of yourself. Remember self-care is not selfish; you can best take care of those around you only when you take care of yourself. You deserve to take a few minutes for yourself each day!
Good luck to all my readers out there. Quarantine is hard, but we can do this! You are not alone. I would love to hear from you; do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have, or if you would like to schedule an online session. Onward!
Melissa Cluff is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in North Texas, providing face-to-face and telehealth therapy options to clients in Texas.