Self-care During Social Distancing

Right now, most of us are pretty stressed. Both the news and social media are full of worrying statistics and facts, not to mention equally stressful misinformation, and a lot of the things that might help us are out of reach.

However, it is still important to take care of ourselves. In fact, it’s more important than ever. I’m sure by now that you know about social distancing, but for anyone happening upon this in the future, social distancing is the suggestion that we keep six feet or two meters away from one another and limit our exposure to the general population as much as possible to help flatten the curve of COVID-19.

That may mean that some services and activities that you rely on for self-care are out of reach. But there are things you can still do, and here are some.

  1. Get out of the house.

No, really. So long as you are not showing symptoms and have not been exposed to those who are sick, social distancing doesn’t have to mean quarantine. You need to avoid large groups, yes, but you can take your family or just yourself out to the park for a nice walk, take a drive, or things of that nature. This may be slightly more difficult for those of us further north and still in the grip of winter, but if you can get out, you should.

  1. Stretch

You may not be able to get a massage right now. Your therapist may not currently be treating – I’m not – or you yourself may feel that it’s not a good idea. That, combined with added stress, is likely starting to build up some tension.

Try to work stretching into your daily routine. For maximum benefit, a stretch should be held for thirty seconds and repeated three times. If you’re not sure how to properly stretch a given muscle, there are many resources online.

  1. Meditate

To those of you who don’t meditate, it may sound hokey, but it really does make a difference. Try to find time every day for this. Find a quiet place, get yourself into a comfortable position and meditate.

Not sure how? Again, the web is your friend. There are apps for that. Apps such as Calm and Headspace have some good programs, even for beginners, and while those are paid services, both of them have free trials that you can try to get the basics down. Audible also has many, many, many audio programs for meditating, and in fact a few that are free for members. To find those, open the app, go to “Discover” and scroll down to the bottom.

  1. Yoga

You can even combine the benefits of the above two things with yoga, as it does incorporate stretching poses with a meditative state. No, you probably shouldn’t go to yoga classes right now, and likely couldn’t find any running, but try checking out youtube for some guided yoga sessions. Even if you’ve never done it before, you’ll find something. Granted, this is best done with a yoga mat, but you can be inventive with this.

  1. At-home spa day

Missing your monthly mani-pedi? There are so many things you can do at home. My personal favourite is the sugar scrub. I put a bit of sugar in a bowl, toss in some oil (I use coconut oil for this myself, which you can get at any grocery store and is always good to have around) and because I always have some, I toss in a drop or two of essential oil. You don’t need much oil, so start with just a bit and see if you need more. You can also use epson salt and just a tiny bit of water. You then have your own sugar scrub. Rub it vigorously ofer hands, feet, or anywhere else you want to exfoliate and rinse off. If so inclined, feel free to add some fun nail polish in, though that obviously isn’t a requirement.

You may not be able to get to a steam room or hot tub, but you can still do a relaxing bath. If you have epson salt, toss a handful of that in. A nifty trick I’m fond of is to put a few drops of essential oil onto my handful of salt before putting it in the tub. If you put oil directly into water, it beads on the surface, but if you let the salt absorb it first, it will dissolve through the water. You can actually also do this with a bit of milk, as the milk will absorb the oil but still mix with water.

There are many other at-home recipes for things like facial masks on the internet, and a lot of them use things you likely have in your kitchen.

You can even put on your streaming music service of choice in the background while doing these for that final little touch to make your home feel like a spa. All of these suggestions (well, not the nail polish perhaps) are good for both your body and mind.

  1. Just be kind

It sounds so simple, right? Now, of course you should try to be kind to those around you, especially if out in public, but what I’m talking about here is to be kind to yourself.

Perhaps you can’t work in the current climate. That can lead to all sorts of feelings. Anxiety over finances, guilt that you may be shirking your duties, loneliness. Or perhaps you have to work, and are experiencing fear over getting yourself and your family ill, resentment that your career is one that requires you to be out there when others are not, and paranoia.

Some of these are based in reality, and some are not, especially the guilt and paranoia ones. Be gentle with yourself. If you find that nasty little inner voice saying its usual nasty things, confront it. You wouldn’t say those things to someone you love, right? So why are you saying them to yourself? Tell that voice to shut up, and then go do some of the earlier suggestions, there isn’t a single suggestion on this list that won’t improve your mental and emotional state.

So. As you can see, there are things you can do to keep yourself in better condition. I truly hope that these suggestions help.

Now, stay safe, stay calm and stay kind.

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