Hey all, I hope you’re staying safe during these unpredictable times.
I briefly touched on self care during self isolation in this post, and was asked for a more comprehensive post, so here goes.
There is so much noise out there at the moment and on my part, I am trying my absolute best to share things that are helpful or uplifting. That being said, I don’t blame any one for sharing any news/scary thoughts around the Coronovirus. People are doing what works for them and are just trying to stay informed, get some reassurance and keep their loved ones and communities safe.
To calm any anxiety you may have around the Covid-19 outbreak, I thought I would share some of the things that have personally helped me during times of heightened anxiety.
Please keep in mind that you may not be able to control what is going on in the world but you can try your best to limit your exposure to certain news outlets, and you can attempt to control how you respond to it.
The Positives that have come out of this
I am not discounting the seriousness of what is going on out there but wanted to share some good stuff. The positives that have come out of this are the coming together of communities all around the world, across borders, religions and cultures.
This is a time of togetherness and people have come together in such a beautiful way to support one another. Businesses are working hard to provide many services for free or at discounted rates. Communities have come together to support the most vulnerable in society. We have joined hands and come to the realisation that actually we have so much more in common then we thought. We had lost so much of what it means to be part of a community. This has brought us closer together and shown us that ultimately we all need each other and together we can achieve so much more.
Seek out the good
During arduous times, seek out people who are showing up, helping and sharing positivity. You will find them everywhere. There are so many wonderful examples of people doing the most amazing things. Read my post on that here.
Try to limit exposure to fear
Fear tears people apart. Fear can cause division and results in so much bad.
I made a concious decision after the passing of Caroline Flack, to never consume any articles written by certain news outlets. To stay away from gossip as far as possible. To never be a reason for anyone feeling small.
Although I have tried my best to do those things over the years anyway, I have failed many times. Like so many of us.
Fear and any negative feelings inside of us does this. It creates more fear and more negativity and the more we consume it, the worse it gets. I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.
It can be difficult though, because sometimes you see the headline before the news outlet. Sometimes you are forwarded an article from well meaning people and you click on it and then see THAT logo. I click straight back out. I don’t want that nonsense polluting my mind.
Time for You and Others
This is a great opportunity to get more in tune with yourself. Become aware of what you are feeling. I hope this situation allows us to rise as a collective. We can do this together.
Do what you can for yourself and others. If you cannot do anything at the moment, that is absolutely fine. The greatest thing you can do for others, is work on yourself in the mean time.
But if you can be there for others, be a beacon of light and reach out to those you know need your help. Write down your strengths and resources and brainstorm ideas around how your family can be of support to those around you. You will be surprised at what comes out of it!
Honour your emotions during difficult times
It is absolutely OK to feel everything you are feeling. Bare in mind that not everyone will be experiencing the same emotions as you and that is fine too.
It is also important to not take on other peoples emotions. So be very wary of who you are choosing to surround yourself with, the emotions you may be exposing yourself to and the information you are taking in.
You may feel perfectly fine or you may feel worried, confused, scared or uneasy. Whatever you are feeling is yours to feel.
Allow yourself to feel and experience what you are, whilst working through it. Give yourself compassion, grace and kindness along the way. Above all, do what works for you without any judgement.
Other things to consider
Seek out connection in new ways. If self isolating, online connection with people you trust and like is a good idea.
Maintain as much routine as possible but be aware that you may not be able to do as much as you normally would.
Try and stay present – It is all too easy to get distracted when everything/everyone around you is different.
Self Care during Self Isolation
Life is full of ups and downs, and it’s the challenging times that make us stronger. During times like this, I find that pouring more into yourself becomes absolutely necessary. As does, getting in tune with your feelings and listening to your body.
Some of these activities are what I currently do for self care:
Journaling – As I have mentioned before, journaling was such a huge part of my healing journey. I would journal throughout the week but I used to go off to a quiet place on Wednesday mornings specifically to allow myself space and time to just write and write and write. Going inwards, exploring yourself and self reflection is so important during times like this. (I have including a Journaling exercise below. Ideally in the future, these will be provided in the form of info graphics/PDFs).
Get in tune with your body and listen to what it is telling you to do – Often life goes by so fast that we don’t have the time or energy to reflect on what our bodies need or are asking of us. Your body will talk to you! All you have to do, is step away from the noise and listen.
Switching off my phone/Disconnect from noise – Yesterday, I switched my phone off for 2 hours and had a pampering hour. IT WAS AMAZING and much needed. There is so much noise out there right now. There are people (including myself) who are sharing whatever they can. Some of it is uplifting and some is scary. We do not get a certificate for knowing the most about the Coronovirus. Yes it is great to stay informed, but it is so important to know when it is time to step away. You are allowed to take a break from the constant streaming of ‘News’. It doesn’t mean for one second, that you don’t care. You have to know when to step back for your own mental health. Use the time to do something for you. Give yourself permission to rest, watch a movie, skype someone or have a pampering sesh. Trust me, you will temporarily forget the madness of the world.
Prayer – I know that not everyone is a believer but for those of us who are, prayer is like a lifeline. It gets me through the day. Aside from the 5 daily prayers, there are many little prayers that help throughout the day. I also find that tuning into light hearted talks by community leaders really helps. During those, they often advise on a few prayers too. There are certain surahs/duas/dhikr (prayers/supplications) that I pray at times when I feel anxious too.
My morning hour – I cannot tell you just how important this part of my day is. I wake up before the kids and give myself one hour of time to just be. (My kids are reallly realllllly loud – like most kids and also like kids should be). That hour is used for prayer, meditation, a breathing practice, journaling, gratitude, listening to and reading light hearted/upliftng stuff, having a cuppa.
Meditation – I started meditating a couple of years ago. I don’t do it every day although I do try my best to get some in at some point. I use the Calm app for meditation or Youtube!
Breathing Exercises – These are a crucial part of my day too. I can’t start my day without them and sometimes do exercises during the day too. The breathing exercise I do most often is Pranayama. See a link for that here.
Stay hydrated – Drinking enough water is important for many reasons but especially now. It helps to regulate body temperature, prevent infections, assists in breathing, delivers nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.
Get enough sleep – I NEED my sleep and I sleep early because I wake up early. I have been shamed about this many times over the years but that’s OK. I love my sleep! Sleep is a vital, often neglected, component of every person’s overall health and well being. Sleep is important because it enables the body to repair. A lack of sleep causes many problems but is especially detrimental for mental health.
Gratitude – Gratitude helps us to refocus on what we have instead of what we don’t. I do this mentally first thing in the morning whilst I am still in bed. My first thanks is always for the opportunity to live another day with my loved ones then I give thanks for the opportunity to do better/be better. I then give thanks for whatever comes to me in that moment.
Nature – Being in nature is really important for me. It instantly calms me. Recently I have been extending my walks and as battered as I feel from all the walking, i also feel strangely calm. Yes, I have been keeping distance from people. There is hardly anybody out there at the moment and to be fair, there hardly ever is because I go out so early.
Nourish yourself with good – Nourish and honour your body and know that it/and you deserve the very best. Keep in mind that you have to do what works for you. Don’t feel like you have to do what everyone else is doing.
Take care of yourself – I already touched on this briefly but I can’t tell you the importance of taking some time to just looking after yourself. I choose to pamper myself. I actually diarise it and make it a part of my to do list for the week.
Cook and Bake? – For me cooking and baking is time for me. It is a time I am completely mindful. Often, it can even be meditative and calming too. What makes you feel this way? Try and figure out what it is and then make time to do it as often as you can.
Essential Oils – I have had an obsession with essential oils from a young age. When I was young, I would go to Blackburn market and go to the Essential Oils stall and buy whatever I could with the little money I had. I am often asked to talk about Doterra or Young Living but at the moment, I don’t use either of them but I do use oils that are ethically sourced and ensure they are pure. Calming oils I like are Lavender, Chamomile, Bergamot (I LOVE it), Neroli, Frankincense (Obsessed), Valerian.
Take an online course – There is hardly ever a time when I am not taking a course of some kind. Take the time you have to do a course and learn a skill or hone a skill. I am hoping to work on learning how to make recipe videos because that isn’t an areas I have explored yet. I am also going to complete my course this year. We were supposed to finish late last year but the class as a collective, decided to push it back to give us more time to revise/practice. My course literally changed my life and I cannot wait to finish it.
Read – I love reading. My son says ‘He like to disappear into books’ and I get that. I am exactly the same. I have a huge pile of books next to my bed. I also have a huge bookshelf to disappear into and I spend a lot of times with my nose buried in books. I have learnt so so much from them.
Exercise – My preferred exercise is walking in Nature but during Self Isolation, I will most likely do some kind of Youtube video.
Protect your energy – It is really important to stay away from energy that drains you. Go towards anything that feels light and fun and stay away from anything too dark. Watch things that make you laugh and feel warm inside. Try and stay away from Scary, Intense or Dark movies or programmes. That includes the News. You will hear the News you need to hear anyway but when your soul already feels heavy, burdened and exhausted, don’t add more to it. Be wary of who you follow online too and stay away from anyone whose energy feels like it could drain yours.
Be Kind to yourself and engage in positive self talk – I learnt to do this over time. It felt so awkward at first but I learnt to console myself in a gentle way, push away any fear/negative voices and replace them with positive tones.
Visualisation – I do this every morning too and have vision boards on my phone and my wall too. During a time like this I visualise coming out of the other side of this healthier, more vibrant and full of energy.
Talk to people – It is very easy to isolate yourself during times like this but you can still talk to friends and family virtually. When I started to get better, I allowed myself to make connections and speak with people again.Going into yourself and isolating yourself, will likely make you feel worse.
What feelings and emotions have been coming up for me recently?
e.g. loss of control, anxiety.
Where do I feel them in my body?
e.g. in my chest and throat.
Have I felt emotions in the same place in my body before?
What types of things work for me, when I am working through my feelings?
e.g. journaling, walking, being around nature.
Who have I been meaning to connect with that I could reach out to?
e.g. an old friend, a new aquaintance.
On which online platforms do I feel a sense of community and connection? (Platforms that don’t feel overwhelming).
How might I be able to connect with people that I love, if self isolating?
e.g skype, watsapp.
Who makes me feel good/positive/happy?
e.g. close family, friends, online community.
Can I make what I see on my feed more positive or nurturing? By following people or hashtags that make me feel uplifted.
e.g. yes, I can follow positivity pages.
How can I look after myself as I navigate the feelings arising inside me right now?
e.g. Pour into myself more, meditate, prayer, face masks, salt baths, walks.
What is one thing I can do that will feel nourishing to me?
e.g. wake up before the kids and get some time to myself before the day begins.
Is there anything I can do creatively during this time, that will help me to feel calm?
e.g. writing poetry, painting, drawing, photography.
I really hope that this post is useful for you. I hope it serves as a reminder of just how strong, able, resilient and powerful you are. How you treat yourself during times of uncertainty, is so important. Pour into yourself. You are deserving of kindness, space, time and goodness.
Your feelings are valid. One of the most frustrating things in the world is feeling something painful and having other people tell you that you shouldn’t be feeling that way.
We are only human, and we are going to have times when we feel fear, sadness, confused. We may also be feeling something and not have the words to express what that is.
Accept whatever your feelings are and allow yourself space to navigate through this in whatever way works for you.
Also remember, even in difficulty, there is ease. Even in isolation there is a benefit to you, to the community and to wider society.
Try and use this as an opportunity to reconnect, restore, reevaluate, recalibrate and rejuvenate. There is goodness in everything and every trial, every difficulty and every season is an opportunity for growth and a chance for you to bloom.
There is so much beauty in slowing down and pairing back. I wrote about this a while ago. You can read that here.
If you are feeling overwhelmed right now, know that soon you will be able to step back and see that this process, resulted in huge growth and development for you. You can also try a grounding technique.