BY PAUL DELGADO, GRADUATE PROGRAM ASSISTANT
At the beginning of every year, one of my personal goals is to practice more self-care, connect with myself and dedicate quality personal time. Although it was a goal for 2020, I never thought I would have to spend so much time practicing social distancing and having so much time for myself.
Can you believe we have been physically distancing for 6 weeks now? Yet, how much time have you actually spent practicing self-care?
I recently realized that many of my “self-care” activities are instead defined as “self-soothing” because they provide distraction and/or comfort in difficult times. Those may include TV bingeing, bubble baths, fancy beverages, eating an entire pizza and/or cake. Although they bring comfort in moments of darkness (like many of us are experiencing right now), they do not address the root of our feelings.
So what is really self-care and how can we practice it during a pandemic?
Self-care means taking action to hit the problem at its root. It is a multidimensional concept in which the interdependency of mental and physical well-being creates an enhanced quality of life and sense of personal fulfillment. Ideally, self-care is practiced in seven functional domains: emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, relational, and safety/security.
Doing activities that will help you find meaning and support your growth during this pandemic is essential. Some of those practices may include:
1. Taking care of your body: By being physically active, eating well, drinking water, and getting a good night’s rest your body will respond in a positive way (and your days will be filled with more energy).
2. Calming your thoughts: Notice and accept how you feel. These are very confusing times. Treat yourself with compassion and talk to someone if you need to. You can also try journaling to write your feelings, praying and/or meditating.
3. Renegotiating boundaries: It is usually not a good outcome if you use your bed for sleeping, eating, working, relaxing, etc. Working from home can become invasive to your personal space and time. Designate places/times for specific things and say “yes” and “no” when you mean it.
4. Being nice to yourself: 🙂 Just a reminder that there is nothing wrong about practicing self-soothing activities, I do them too to relax. Just make sure that once you’ve soothed yourself, you know that you’re not finished. Take it day by day and you will allow yourself to reach your full potential.