With everything that has happened over the last year it has been difficult to not sink deep into my usual stress response of survival, and coping mechanisms. I am so guilty of not taking care of myself when things were “normal” and this has only gotten worst between dealing with the possibly of being laid off (again), financial insecurity and the logistics of having to move during a pandemic to name a few. I know that I’m not alone with this, nevertheless I’ve been actively trying to find some sense of peace in chaos.
And yes, things may seem a bit quiet and boring being under quarantine for so long, yet that too can be a form of chaos for some of us. (Yes, even for introverts.) Today I’m sharing five ways I’ve been incorporating more self care into my routine. While some of these may seem obvious, some are still hard even for me, but I’m trying and I hope you’ll join me.
1.) Get cozy and cute (but only if YOU want to)
I’ve taken to treating myself to some new sleep and lounger wear to bring in some changes to my overall dull WFH wardrobe. Most recently I got this black sleep shirt from the Modcloth-exclusive collaboration with Hello Kitty. It has a classic pajama silhouette with lapel collar, cuffed long sleeves and curved shirttail hem, red heart-shaped buttons down the entire front, piping throughout and an embroidered patch of this Sanrio icon on the chest pocket. It is adorable and soft though also chic enough that I deemed it worthy of including a few accessories and makeup despite the fact that I’m just staying home because, why not?
I’ll admit that like most people that have been working from home, I really haven’t been dressing up much, though I try to make an effort at least on those days I have a scheduled Zoom call. Somedays I’ll do this and other times I simply don’t care enough to try. Both are fine. The important thing is to do what is comfortable for you.
2.) Say no, Set Boundaries and stand By your decision
One thing that has become abundantly clear for me is that I need to set better boundaries. That means scheduling time just for me (and whomever I wish to include) and guarding that time. I’ve started to make use of my PTO and using an “Out of Office-template” to respond to emails and/or texts I may get from work. With more people working from home now than ever, proper work-life balance has basically gone out the window with some employers taking advantage of the situation to the point that many of us are left feeling guilty for using our paid days off or even our legally mandated breaks. Don’t feel guilty. Take those days off and enjoy them as much as you can.
This also extends towards non-work specific situations, like friends/family and taking breaks from using technology. COVID has indeed made it harder to stay connected with people so we’ve leaned heavily on our phones and computers to make up for the distance. However, sometimes you may not be up for that virtual happy hour or socially distant brunch. I’ve declined such invitations because of the fatigue that comes from being online for such long periods of time. At first I was scared that my friends and family would be annoyed with me for doing so but they have all been very understanding. The fact is, yes you’re home but doesn’t mean you’re always available or that you have to be.
3.) Find your safe space
As some of you already know, back in September I joined a collective founded for the purpose of creating a traveling exhibit on race. For someone like me who suffers with social anxiety it really wasn’t easy for me to join a group of people I’ve never met though I do love that I did. These weekly evening Zoom meetings with talented and passionate women have become my safe space because not only do we work on something bigger than us, but we take time to check in on each other. After spending time with them I find that I have greater energy to take on the rest of the week no matter how bad it has been up to that point. Find your safe space – be it literal, or virtual, with friends or even without. It will help you recharge and give you peace of mind to tackle any challenges that may come your way.
4.) Get some sleep!
I’m guilty of foregoing sleep in order to get work done. I’m a woman working a full time job, a few side hustles, who volunteers time to a select few nonprofits and has a blog that I’m passionate about. And let me be clear, I’m not complaining about everything on my plate because these are all things that I have decided to do for various reasons; though, more often than not, I do wish there was more hours in a day to get everything done.
The fact is that I am not a robot, none of us are so we need to get some actual rest in the midst of everything. I wholeheartedly encourage taking naps during the day (if you’re able to) and getting at least 8-hours of sleep. Seasoned professionals on this subject have suggested slowing things down (like turning of the tv, computer and phone) an hour before you head to bed to get some proper sleep, yet I’ve started to train myself to start winding down around 10 PM (a full two hours before I head to bed. This way I allow my anxiety from day to run itself out so that I don’t find myself thinking about things out of my control that would otherwise ruin my sleep by giving me nightmares. Either way, give winding down a try and see the benefits it brings to your rest.
5.) Drink water And don’t forget to eat
Ok so, the whole “drink water” thing may seem overkill at this point considering how often the sentiment is shared on social and regular media, still the fact is nutrition is important, especially now. Even during the “before times” I had a very bad habit of skipping meals. Sometimes it was because I didn’t have enough money to buy anything whenever I was working at the office, but usually it was because I had this toxic notion that I could eat or drink anything only after I’ve finished working.
Now that I’m home all the time I don’t have much of an excuse to not pause to eat something or drink water, I mean my kitchen is literally 6 steps away from my desk, yet it took a medical (not COVID-related) scare to finally get me to start taking this more seriously. Meal prep for your week’s meals or order something from Grub Hub in the moment (food is food) just make sure you eat. Oh and don’t forget to also partake of your favorite foods, and not as a “reward” for doing something like meeting your deadlines or making it through a weeks worth of home workouts. Just enjoy them.
~Get the look~
*Style Note: The fabric does have stretch but I sized up in order to get a loser and longer fit which is what I prefer for my sleepwear. The hem falls right at my knee and for reference I am 5’3″.
How do you include self care to your daily life?