Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Self-care in the time of pandemic

I really bristle when "self-care" is couched in spa days and manicures and chocolate. Those are indulgences that, while they feel good, don't always equate to the equilibrium I'm seeking with my self-care. To me, self-care means those maintenance activities I do that keep me centered and balanced. The first few weeks of the COVID-19 shelter in place were total survival mode, but as we've moved towards sustainability I've been trying to find ways to manage my anxiety level and make sure that I'm at my most efficient energy-wise. I know a lot of people have struggled with this concept while they shelter in place. How can you remain centered and balanced while the world is so chaotic and uncertain? I start with my four basics. Eating, sleeping, breathing, and moving.

Eating: Yep. Doing a lot of that. I've gained five pounds since the quarantine started, despite my whole life believing that if I just ate at home more, I'd be at a healthy weight. BUT, I'm consciously working to drink more water and make sure that I'm having at least a couple servings of fruits or vegetables a day. This is hard because we're only grocery shopping every couple of weeks so perishables...perish. So I supplement by adding a lot of frozen vegetables into recipes and stopping when I see a fruit stand on the way home. Thank God berry season coincides with quarantine!

Sleeping: This one is a work in progress. I don't naturally prioritize rest. I'm not a napper, I don't enjoy sleeping in, I'm basically the yang to C's yin in this case. So for this one, I'm looking at quality over quantity. I'm working to limit screen time before bed. We used part of our stimulus check to buy a new mattress to replace our ten-year-old one that literally has peaks and valleys. I also am not drinking much in the evenings. Pre-Corona, I wasn't a regular drinker but I found myself more and more reaching for a beer or a mule every night. Alcohol is a killer for me sleep-wise so I drink early and in limited quantities :)

Breathing: Whew. This is a tough one for me, which means I've had to be really intentional about it. Here are my two best tips. Headspace and have one minute meditations that I try to do at my desk or anytime that I start to feel my anxiety creep up. One minute is really about all I can do right now. Dedicating twenty minutes to a mindfulness exercise just makes me feel more anxious. One minute though, several times a day, I can do. I also started a 30 day yoga challenge through Amazon Prime. I've always loved yoga but I've gotten away from it lately. It's nice to remind myself how to do yogic breathing especially.

Moving: The yoga helps here too. My goal is to complete all thirty days of this video series. Some days are really intense while others are much more gentle, but they're less than 30 minutes which I love and always seems like I can fit it in. I'm also trying to walk the dogs, especially Scout, on a more regular basis. A decent walk with her can be 2 miles of exercise, and the added bonus is that she's less of an asshole. Me too, turns out.

The next steps in Maslow's hierarchy are connection and belonging. I'm not too worried about that because it feels, to me at least, that that's where we focused a lot of our attention early on. C plays poker via Zoom every weekend. I have drinks with friends over Facetime regularly. The kids are obsessed with Messenger Kids and the girls have started sending old fashioned letters to their friends.

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