Self-Care is NOT Cancelled!

This has certainly been a stressful and unsettling week. We are in the midst of unprecedented times, at least in modern society. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting our daily lives in ways many of us did not see coming. Lots of cancellations have happened with more likely on the horizon. The future seems uncertain as none of us know what the next few weeks or months will look like. Many of us have banded together to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 in hopes of not overwhelming our healthcare system and keeping as many people healthy as possible. We are faced with new realities of social distancing: working from home, activities cancelled, play dates on hold, parties postponed, and kids out of school. This has a dramatic impact on our everyday lives. I hope that anyone reading this is taking the necessary precautions and recommendations very seriously. Quite frankly, it is scary. I will admit when I saw Broadway closed, I started to cry, followed shortly after that by Disneyland and Disneyworld. It is difficult to process.

But here is something you can rely on, self-care is NOT cancelled! That’s right, you can, and you must take care of yourself during these uncertain times. Build some healthy habits now that you can keep going with! Read my previous blog about creating a self-care routine. Stress and anxiety actually weaken our immune systems making us more susceptible to illness.

Kids are home? Have them practice self-care with you. Add it to their routines. Chances are they are feeling the stress and feeling scared also. They are looking to you to help them in this crisis. Children and adults do best with structure and routine, and our traditional routines are not an option right now.

Working from home? Take a self-care break! It is tempting when at home to move even less than we do at our desks, but please be mindful of this and get up, stretch, breathe, etc!

Here is a list of what else you can you do:
• Read a book
• Find a yoga tutorial on YouTube (if you are a newbie)
• Take a yoga class virtually
• Stretch your body
• Meditate
• Journal
• Exercise – many local studios are streaming classes and offering virtual opportunities to move
• Declutter/organize
• Have a dance party!
• Cook a nice meal at home
• Bake
• Arts & Crafts
• Take a walk
• Work on a home project
• Call a friend
• Use a virtual platform to have social interaction
• Play a board game
• Enjoy the downtime
• Watch a funny movie or silly cat videos on YouTube
• Learn to smudge and clear the energy of your space
• Have fun with your family
• Practice deep breathing exercises
• Live in the moment, be present
• Take a nap
• Virtual museum tours
• Take a virtual trip
• Watch events that are streaming
• Practice gratitude
• Learn a new skill (I might try to learn to knit depending upon how long this goes)
• Turn off the news and stop looking at social media
• Talk to the people in your house – when was the last time you had a deep conversation with your partner/children?
• Drink water and feed yourself

None of this is within your control. The best you can do is try to limit your stress, don’t feed into the frenzy, and follow the guidelines set forth by the leaders of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” –Timber Hawkeye

I have seen many restaurants and businesses stepping up to the plate to help, offering free meals, adding curbside services, and providing thoughtful adjustments to their daily operations, and this is what we need more of.

There are tons of free online options and education companies offering subscriptions at this time. Zoom meetings and internet companies are offering their platforms and service for free for those who need it as well. Ask for help if you need it.

Please note that although it might be tempting, refrain from group gatherings as much as possible and follow the social distancing recommendations. You may be blessed with a healthy immune system, but you never know who you could unintentionally impact around you. All unnecessary appointments and events should be postponed or moved to virtual platforms if appropriate.

Also, if you are in a position where you have resources to share, please consider donating to food banks to help feed those who might not have the means to buy groceries at the moment. As always, keep supporting small businesses; online shopping meets the criteria for social distancing!

I am reminded of when Mr. Rogers — famously said he was always comforted by something his mother would tell him during times of disaster: “Look for the helpers. You can always find people who are helping.”

Comment below and share resources with others and tell me what you are doing to practice self-care! If you are looking for a resource, please let me know and I will help you find it.

Stay well & be kind,
Dr. MC

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