Self-Care During Quarantine

Self-Care During Quarantine

Taking care of one’s self while faced with cancer, caregiving or during a loss is a common theme that we often explore - exchanging ideas for physical and mental self-care. There is an abundance of web-sites, seminars and books that tackle this concept and include strategies such as mindfulness and exercise.

Enter COVID-19 and quarantine. Suddenly our landscape has changed. Routines have been disrupted. Jobs have been reconfigured or lost. We are physically separated from our support systems. We worry about staying safe. We worry about others. We are bombarded with frightening statistics and narratives. We are asked to take on roles and responsibilities that seem insurmountable like working from home while teaching our kids. How and where does self-care fit in?

Now, more than ever, it is important to engage in simple, self-care practices to help us decrease our stress, improve our quality of sleep and allow us to continue to support others. Research has shown that high quality sleep and stress reduction can help to boost our immune system.

How can we engage in self-care with everything else that we have to manage? Self-care does not need to be complicated, expensive or time consuming. Self-care is not selfish. Consider some of the following simple practices that may help to bring you comfort.

  • Make a playlist of favorite songs- ones that are uplifting or peaceful. Listen to the playlist for at least 10 minutes every day.
  • Go outside for 10 minutes each day, or if you don’t have access to safe outdoor space, sit by an open window. Soak in the sun if you can.
  • Take a walk (while maintaining appropriate physical distance).
  • Learn something new. There are many free offerings online - photography, meditation, art. Start with something simple so it doesn’t add to your stress level.
  • Meet a friend over zoom, FaceTime or Skype.
  • Journal. There are many free websites that will provide a writing prompt each day.
  • Color. There are many coloring books for adults, with themes like the ocean, nature etc.
  • Engage your senses. Use scented lotion, light a favorite candle, enjoy the feel of a plush toy or soft blanket. Take a virtual trip to the beach or mountains. Mindfully taste your favorite food.
  • Start a self-care idea collection. This can be done with friends or colleagues. Challenge your loved ones to come up with 3 self care ideas. Once you have a list, share!
  • Consider structure. Many individuals find that structure and predictability during uncertain times helps to alleviate stress.

- Christine Speck, Sr. Director of Counseling

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