Self-Care – Happiness Tips for Surviving Social Isolation
In the second post of the Happiness Tips for Social Isolation series we look at self-care.
I am very impressed with the we not me mentality that has emerged as a result of the current situation. However, I do believe that our own self-care must come first. When we fly, parents are advised to apply their own oxygen masks before applying their children’s mask. This is because parents can’t help their children if they have passed out. In the same way, we are only able to help others when we are on top form ourselves. We cannot fill another’s cup if our own cup is empty.
Here are my tips for self-care during social isolation:
Stick to your usual routine
Stick to your usual routine and adapt it where necessary. I can no longer walk to work so I use my extra time in the morning spending more time chanting / meditating and journaling. I go for a walk in my lunch break instead. Based on Dr Michael Breus’ advice in The Power of When, my optimal bedtime is 11 pm – 7 am. It’s been a challenge for me to stick to that, but I am doing so where possible.
Create clear boundaries between your work and personal life. If possible, work in a study or office. If that’s not possible be sure to tidy away your laptop and other things at the end of the day. I even have a different mug that I use when I’m working.
As a typical Taurus and lover of fine wine and dining, healthy eating is a challenge for me. In the first week of lockdown, I found myself snacking on chocolate, biscuits and cakes in a bid to keep my spirits up. Although these kinds of perceived goodies may boost our spirits and energy in the short-term, in the long term they are likely to lead to mood swings and fatigue. In weeks two and three we made some healthy and nutritious goodies, which we chose to eat in place of processed and sugary snacks. I’ve also been eating more fruit to give me that hit of sweetness and to provide some nutritional value.
It is also important to keep hydrated. I have at least three – four pints of water per day. I add lemon and lime to enhance the taste.
Exercise, fresh air and connecting with nature
I was so pleased when Boris announced that although the country is on lockdown, we can still go out to exercise. Mr Sexy Pants (MSP) and I drive to the park every lunchtime and go for a walk. This provides both exercise and fresh air. I believe nature is one of the greatest healers. It is also good to have regular exposure to the sun.
Sometimes I walk together with MSP and sometimes I walk alone. I find it can be quite meditative to walk mindfully around the park on my own. Often, I spend a few moments hugging a tree. I ask the tree to take away and transmute any negative energy.
A couple of weeks ago I went for a walk / run by the sea. It was a cold, windy day and the sea was rough. It felt exhilarating to see, hear and feel the waves rearing up before crashing on the shore. My being swelled with immense love and gratitude. I ran along with my arms outstretched shouting “Thank you, Thank you!” and “F*cking yeah baby!” I could only see only one other person in the distance. I had no idea if she could hear me and frankly I didn’t care!
It is my hope that we will continue to be able to go out for exercise. Otherwise I’ll spend more time in the garden. Thankfully the weather is improving, and the evenings are getting lighter. There are also options for exercising at home. One option is ‘Dance In Your Pants’ online dance classes from Ceroc.
Meditation and other spiritual practices
More time at home means more time for meditation and other spiritual practices. This is a great opportunity to deepen our faith. Now more than ever we need to be centered and grounded. I also find Tapping is helpful. There are some really good apps available to help with meditation, mindfulness and Tapping including Headspace, Calm and The Tapping Solution.
DIY Spiritual Retreat
This is the perfect time to unplug your phone and reconnect with the Divine within and without. MSP and I have at least one evening a week that we spend alone. He plays online poker or watches TV and I have an evening dedicated to self-care. I have a bath with essential oils, meditate, do some colouring, read, journal or read my angel cards.
Balance and Moderation
I’m loathe to admit it but this is another challenge for me. I tend to swing between extremes and am prone to all or nothing mentality. It would be easy to fall into a habit of being stuck at home and turning to booze. I aim to have two or three nights per week where I have a couple of drinks and keep the rest of the week alcohol free. Apart from anything else, my spiritual practices are much more effective when I have a clear head. It’s also good to make plenty of time for fun and I’ll be covering that in a later post.
I think balance and moderation are also key when it comes to eating. This is tricky for me as I mentioned. I am overcoming food addiction, and this something I’m currently working on. I’ll let you know how I get on.
Full disclosure – healthy eating and moderation are work in progress areas for me. The first week of social isolation all my healthy habits and practices went out of the window. Weeks two and three I was on fire – healthy eating, exercising, sticking to my routine etc. This past week, week four, it has all unravelled and you can read about that in my blog post Dark Night of The Soul, as part of The Social Isolation Diaries series.
How are you maintaining your self-care during social isolation? Let me know in the comments or on social media.
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This post was originally published on happiness-club.co.uk.