Self-care during COVID-19: You can’t do it all… and that’s OK

Magnus Health
Blog, COVID-19
7 Minute Read

Self-care during COVID-19: You can’t do it all… and that’s OK

COVID-19 has brought a lot of changes into our daily lives and everyone’s journey is different. But, what we hear often during these uncertain times is the exhaustion of parents who feel like they are drowning in the sea of responsibilities… Work while homeschooling and entertaining your kids, and ensuring that they don’t hurt each other! Make home-cooked meals, take care of all family members, and do housework. Keep things running smoothly and stay healthy. And… STOP and take a deep breath! Refuel your tank. Take some time for yourself!

During these unprecedented times, the challenge for all of us is to keep up with the new “normal” while staying healthy. Unfortunately, we tend to put our needs on the back burner while trying to take care of everything else. Trust me when I say that you are not alone, you can’t do it all… and that’s OK! More importantly, you must prioritize self-care in order to have the energy and health to manage the rest of your responsibilities. Here are the things you should do for yourself to recharge your body and mind:

Get 7-8 hours of sleep! It is important to establish a good sleep routine to ensure that your body and mind get the maximum recharge. Try to avoid sugary foods or caffeinated beverages right before bedtime. Minimizing the technology use in late hours and using darkening curtains in your bedroom may improve the quality of rest.

  • Shleep app is a free sleep coach that will help you improve your sleep in less than 5 minutes a day.
  • Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds app provides soothing sounds and white noise that will help you fall asleep faster. 
  • The Overwhelming Benefits of Power Napping – an article that describes how a midday nap and getting enough sleep at night will result in more patience, less stress, better reaction time, increased learning, more efficiency, and better health.

Eat right! The current time of uncertainty and anxiety from what the future may hold can promote changes in eating behaviors such as stress (binge) eating, continuous “grazing”, or controlled eating (undereating). Millions of people around the world are currently affected by emotional eating. The best way to combat this is to acknowledge your personal triggers, avoid buying unhealthy foods for your home, eat more green leafy vegetables, nuts and blueberries, drink lots of water, and reduce your sugar intake.

  • Cronometer app is a free nutrition tracker and calorie manager. Tracking your food intake can help you uncover your emotional eating triggers and make you aware of how to avoid them.
  • MyFitnessPal app offers a great way to keep a food diary and calorie intake.

Exercise regularly and get outside! As a part of self-care, you should engage in high-intensity interval training at home if you do not have much time for exercise, take a power-walk outside or go for a run. Do yoga or gardening… whatever makes you feel happy and takes your mind away from the daily grind. And, spending time outside can lower your blood pressure, decrease stress, and improve your mood.

Take brief breaks throughout the day to meditate! Whether working from home or away from your house, ensure that you are taking breaks throughout the day. Find a quiet place and let these useful apps help you to unwind and regroup:

  • #Mindful app allows you to practice daily mindfulness meditation for free.
  • Headspace app offers free relaxing sounds to help you stress less and to fall asleep faster.   
  • Smiling Mind app provides free meditation for all ages.
  • iMindfulness app offers an introduction to mindfulness and how to practice it, as well as meditation for experienced mindfulness practitioners.
  • Mindfulness Daily app offers free meditation, reminders, and a timer.

Read a book for 30 min per day (instead of scrolling through social media) or listen to an audiobook! This will offer you an escape from the daily responsibilities and provide some time for yourself. Audiobooks are great for car rides or even for a brisk walk.

Listen to music! Your favorite music can give you the needed energy boost, offer a relaxing moment, or simply bring you joy. Music can uplift your entire family and wouldn’t it be fun to break into a group dance?

  • Spotify gives you access to millions of songs and podcasts for your phone, computer, or tablet.
  • Google Play Music allows you to listen to music and podcasts, and to upload your own songs to Google’s cloud.
  • YouTube Music is free to use if you don’t mind hearing ads, but the premium (ad free) subscription is $10/month.
  • Amazon app Audiomack gives access to free songs and also contains your entire Cloud Player library, including uploaded songs and those you purchased from Amazon.

Do what YOU love! Take some time to unwind by doing arts, crafts, or even building puzzles. Breaking away from the daily routine will give your mind the needed break and doing what you enjoy will be good for the soul!

Laugh and stay positive! During these challenging times, it is important to stay positive, to uplift those around you, and to laugh in the face of the adversity. Laughter may improve your immune system, blood pressure, and blood flow. If your social media feed or the news are dominated by negative stuff, check out silly YouTube videos, or watch funny shows, movies, and stand-up comedy. Here are a few to get you laughing:

Call or video chat with a friend! Connecting with a person you love will help you overcome the isolation often felt during the social distancing, it can improve your mood and, quite possibly, show you that your friends are struggling with similar things like you. It’s fun to reminisce and laugh about the memorable times spent together. Also, reconnecting with an old friend who you’ve neglected due to the recent business of life, will bring you both much joy and happiness.

During the COVID-19 quarantine, you may feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you need to be a superhero to do it all! The truth is – you don’t. Give yourself a break and reduce the negative self-talk! When requests are piling on from every direction, learn to find balance and to say ‘no’. It will take some practice, but once you learn how to politely decline non-essential requests, you’ll feel less stress and burnout! Most importantly, you’ll have more time for self-care. 

Make time for YOU! And, do YOUR best. 

Please check out the extensive list of resources that Magnus Health has collected to offer students and staff more ways to cope with challenges that stem from the coronavirus pandemic. Wishing you good health!