Who remembers sitting down in 2019 to write down your goals with hope for 2020? I do. Never in my life could I have imagined that 2020 would be this interesting! Nevertheless, I persist. I doubled-down on my self-care to make sure that I was not only okay but thriving to the best of my ability this year. Here’s my advice on how to practice self-care in the pandemic.
1) FaceTime and voice messages with family and friends.
Social (really, it’s physical) distancing takes its toll eventually. We need to connect with our tribe. This need for connection is especially important if you’re like me and live alone. Before the pandemic, I was not a fan of FaceTime and voice messages. I preferred texting and phone conversations. However, I quickly recognized the importance of seeing my tribe’s faces and hearing their voices. In fact, their faces and voices would help calm me down and bring me back to reality. Sometimes, their faces and voices would relax me when I didn’t even know that I was tense.
We are all tired of video calls. I can’t wait to delete the Zoom app and never have to deal with it again. But I make exceptions for my tribe. I also feel better about these video calls because I don’t have to get dressed nor look presentable. My tribe accepts me as I am. What is important is that I am intentional about setting time aside to talk to my tribe. If you are suffering from Zoom fatigue, be sure to schedule these calls ahead of time so that you have time to mentally prepare.
2) Get outside and take a walk.
Working from home keeps us inside. So I love having the time and freedom to get outside more often and soak up vitamin D. Walking also helps bring me back to reality when my anxiety is high. There is something special about nature for me when I am anxious. I am intentional about leaving my phone in my apartment. I just walk and “get lost.” Walking outside is my favorite self-care in a pandemic because it forces me to leave my apartment and enter the real world.
Do you journal?
I used to have diaries as a kid. But I stopped journaling a long time ago. In therapy this year, I realized that I am accustomed to a high level of stress. This “skill” is a bad thing because I usually don’t realize just how stressed I am until everything feels overwhelming. So I started journaling again to take an audit of my feelings and emotions. This process helps me realize how I am feeling so that I can acknowledge and hold space for my emotions.
4) Extend grace.
I’ve never lived during a pandemic. Have you? Probably not!
So remember that the next time you are self-criticizing about how you’re dealing with the pandemic. Being patient and extending grace to others is important. Why not be patient and extend the same grace to ourselves? We deserve it. If we aren’t patient and gracious with ourselves, then how do we expect other people to be patient and gracious towards us? Treat yourself how you want to be treated.
5) Connect then disconnect.
I know what you’re probably saying. First, Imani wants us to connect with our tribe, but now she wants us to disconnect? We are living in a pandemic that just so happened to fall during an election year filled with a host of other social problems. So yes, we must take time to disconnect from the reality we live in right now. Try silencing or turning off your phone to relax. You can nap, watch a movie, go for a walk, read a book, or put on a face mask. I like to read during this time (hence the reason why I made the Escape with Imani series).
If you’re interested in reading more about self-care in a pandemic, read this article that emphasizes other self-care routines like eating well and exercising!
How did your general self-care routines differ from practicing self-care in a pandemic?