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  • Dr. Amy

Practice Self Care During Lock-down

We all know the importance of self care. Some of us are even good at it. But how in the world do we do it while surrounded by our families day in and day out? Or what if you have the house to yourself, but you can't hit the gym or the library or the yoga studio or your favorite coffee shop hangout?


First let's talk about what self care is and isn't. Self care doesn't mean lavish purchases, expensive getaways, and time-consuming outings. It absolutely CAN include those things, but you don't build a healthy body by eating one banana, and you don't practice self care with a big one-time event.


Self care consists of daily actions and thoughts that cultivate peace, energy, joy, confidence, hope, and calm. It's nourishing your body, mind, and soul, not just feeding them.


Now let's look at 4 areas where we can practice self care: attitude, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle.


Attitude


I wanted to start with this one, because I truly think it's the key to everything right now. Our mindset won't change what we're going through, but it will absolutely determine how we experience it, and it has a huge affect on the outcome. Have a look at this:


circumstance -> thought -> feeling -> action -> result


We're all going through this pandemic; that's our circumstance. Thoughts and feelings are tied so closely together that they can be hard to tell apart. But we can identify our thoughts and decide if they're helpful or not; our feelings follow where our thoughts lead. Positive feelings lead to productive actions, and that increases the chances of a good result.


Here's an example we can use right now.


Circumstance - My kids are doing virtual school.


Thought option 1 - I can't get anything done with the kids here all day!

Feeling - Irritable, short-tempered

Action - Snap at the kids

Result - No one works successfully, because everyone is hurting.


Thought option 2 - We can figure out how to help one another get work done.

Feeling - Patience, because I know it will be a challenge, and confidence because I already told myself we could figure it out.

Action - We brainstorm ways to get things done.

Result - Everyone works better, because we feel supported.


Take those thoughts captive, friends. Look for the silver linings. If that's hard for you, team up with an optimistic friend and talk it through.


Nutrition


Forget being thin. What does your brain need to think clearly? What does your gut need to digest your dinner and get all the nutrients into your cells? What does your heart need to beat strongly and steadily for decades?


The simplest way to monitor nutrition is to shop for variety. Fill your cart with real food of every color you can find. Add in some fatty fish, nuts, and seeds. Fruits and veggies have plenty of carbohydrates, so you don't need to worry about getting those, but look for whole grains when you eat them.


Food supply chains are being affected right now, so your favorites may not be available. That means this is a great time to try new foods! (See that? Silver linings!)


Exercise


Social distancing means no gym visits, no yoga classes, no basketball. So what are your exercise options?


What do you enjoy? That's the thing you're most likely to do.


Walking, hiking, and biking trails are OPEN.

Living room dance party

Gardening & yard work

Play tag with your kids

Online yoga or any other workout you like...if you're lucky, maybe you can find some old Richard Simmons and break out those leg warmers! (Oh my gosh, how silver would THAT lining be?!)


Lifestyle


Be creative. How can you do your favorite things without leaving your house?


Do you need your people? Get on Zoom or Google Hangouts and try:

Charades

Karaoke

Pictionary

I Spy

Cards Against Humanity

Happy Hour Hangout

Post an ingredient list and have everyone cook the same meal

Trivia Night


Those even sound fun to this introvert! But most of the time I'd try:

Crossword & jigsaw puzzles

Online art classes

Creating a private book nook - decorate it as you like, and give strict instructions that no one is allowed in your space

Cooking & baking

And maybe reach out to an extrovert; they're struggling right now. Don't get too comfy in your introvert isolation bubble.


Things are somehow the same and changing every day right now. Be flexible, and go easy on yourself. If you're having a hard day, acknowledge it; feel it. But don't get stuck there. Remind yourself that everything is temporary.


If you're overwhelmed with worry, look at your thoughts and the feelings they bring with them. Can you re-frame those thoughts to help you through THIS day? Choose your words carefully. Are you "stuck" inside, or are you "safe" inside?


Worried about losing your job or having to close your business? Think about the worst thing you've been through in your life. You made it through that; YOU made it through. And you learned from it. And today you're smarter and stronger.


Lastly, if you are experiencing domestic violence, there is help for you. Reach out to me; reach out to a trusted friend; call 1−800−799−7233 or go to https://www.thehotline.org/ or text LOVEIS to 22522.


Care for yourself, so you can care for the ones around you. You're worth it, and they are, too.

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