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The Importance of Self-Care

When life becomes stressful, it can be easy to forget the importance of taking care of yourself. For parents especially, the need to care for children and families is often overwhelming. Now more than ever, with the current COVID-19 spread in our communities, self-care is important to take care of your health and well-being. 


In areas highly affected by COVID-19, such as New York City, daily life looks very different than before. As New Yorkers, we understand that anxiety and stress levels are at an all time high. Despite the challenges you face, taking care of yourself first will allow you to better take care of those around you. Self-care is any activity that we do intentionally in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Self-care looks different for every person, but it is important to find what works for you and to make it a priority in your life. 


Many people practice self-care routines without even knowing it. However, with the new socially distant lifestyle that has come as a result of COVID-19, it is important to adjust self-care practices the same way that we have adjusted so many daily activities. Think of your self-care as you would the oxygen mask on a plane. The same rules apply. You must apply your own mask before helping those around you. You need to ensure that you have the air you need to breathe! How can you take care of others without taking care of yourself?


Establishing a routine is very important when adjusting to change. Making time for activities that are good for your mind and body is a good place to start in setting up your self-care routines.From the moment you wake up, pay attention to the “mental checklist” of things that you need to do during the day. Writing down a schedule for each day may be helpful, especially if you are juggling caring for others in your home. Each day, set the goal of completing 1-3 different types of self-care using the chart below and resources provided.


TYPES OF SELF-CARE



Physical

With gyms and workout spaces across the nation closing, many fitness instructors have taken to social media to connect and keep followers moving, active, and engaged. Follow these accounts for up to date schedules of live stream workouts:

Learn more about the benefits of physical movement and exercise for your health

Check in with your body


Emotional

  • Mental Health Check In; how are you feeling today on a scale of 0-5? (0 = the absolute worst and 5 = the absolute best). No matter what your answer is, tell yourself it is OKAY to feel this way.

  • Write or journal your feelings. This new and challenging time can bring up a lot of different things. Whether you wish you could see your loved ones, have to balance your me-time with your social time, or are missing your favourite workout class! Writing can   give you a place to release your feelings. If writing isn’t something you enjoy, you can try video journaling by recording yourself on your phone or computer. 

  • CDC Guidelines for managing anxiety and stress  

  • Remember, you are not alone in your feelings. If at any time you feel overwhelmed or in need of further support there are resources for your wellness: Call 24/7 1-888-NYC-WELL -- Text “WELL” to 65173 -- *message/data rates apply


Spiritual

Spirituality looks different for everyone. Whether you find comfort in talking to someone that you cannot be with, praying to a god or higher power, sitting in silence or meditating. Here are some resources to connect spiritually:


Personal



Think of doing something you enjoy, whether that be an old or new hobby. Coloring or drawing, listening to music, singing, cooking or baking something new, playing games and reading are a few examples. Looking for something to do? Here are some online resources:


Social

  • Our social networks are important, and it can be very lonely to be without social connections during this time. The simplest way to connect is with those around us. 

  • Set a time each day to talk with whoever is around you, start a conversation with a friend or family member, or someone on line at the grocery store check out.

  • Call, text, or video call someone each day to maintain a sense of connection during social distancing. 

  • Social media is also a great way to connect, but make sure that the content you view is content you want to see. 

  • Opening your windows and saying hello to your neighbors is another activity that will increase your feelings of connection. In New York City and around the world, communities connecting amidst social distance are going viral


Household/Environmental


  • Make a healthy meal

  • Give yourself 5 minutes in the morning to start your day by sitting with coffee, tea, or hot water, without any other distractions

  • Organize a drawer, cabinet, or closet space in your home that could use some attention, and do it because you want to! 

  • Try a new way of folding your clothes when doing laundry

  • Listen to music while cleaning or performing other household tasks to pass the time more enjoyably

  • Involve the whole family in chores, and make it fun! For example, the first one done with their list of chores gets un-interrupted TV time


Pampering 

When we pamper ourselves, we can feel energized, cared for, and content. Taking a shower or bath, making yourself your favourite dessert, and taking care of your skin are great ways to practice self-care. Here are some home based ideas: 

  • Home-made facials and face masks using household items Easy Homemade Face Mask Recipes That Actually Work | Reader's Digest

  • Sing in the shower! It may sound silly, but it can help to reduce cortisol levels  (which is known as the stress hormone!) and can help improve your mood

  • Take a bath instead of a shower, and add your favorite body wash to running water for bubbles

  • Wash your face morning and night

  • Brush and groom your hair

  • Don’t forget to wash your hands!

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