What The Corona Virus Has Taught Me About Self-Care
“When people go within and connect with themselves, they realize they are connected to the universe and they are connected to all living things” – Armand DiMele
This past Saturday night I turned up with over 100,000 people in what seemed like a long-overdue party. A kickback from all of the drastic and life-altering events that have happened recently. Diddy was there, I think I saw Rihanna, and I bumped into Oprah while Harlem shaking. Club Quarantine was a vibe. I popped my bottle and stood on my couch like I was in VIP. No drinks were spilled. I finally was able to use my phone in a social event, and not because I felt awkward and alone. I was connected to an experience that was healing and encouraging. An experience that is a reminder that self-care is not only possible but essential.
Lives have been impacted by this global pandemic. We have now busied ourselves with random Walmart runs and updates from local news feeds about the Coronavirus. The time that we can make for ourselves is now filled with intrusive thoughts, paranoia, and feeling “stuck”.
But self-care is not intrusive thoughts and emotional confinement. Self-care is anything that you do intentionally to care for yourself. It is freeing yourself of the things that prevent you from being happy DURING times of stress. With good self-care comes better ways to reduce anxiety and improve your mood and through self-care, you can reconnect with parts of yourself that have been ignored, and in doing so improve your mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Self-care as a ritual
Self-care is finding a ritual that allows you to be present with yourself. By creating a ritual, it is encouraged to create a calendar or have something structured like an activity or a time where you can focus on doing something that makes you happy.
Quarantining as a learning experience
Self-care amidst this crisis will always remain a reminder of two things (1) we could have always worked from home and (2) self-care was always possible. We allowed the pressures of society to trick us into thinking that we do not have time for ourselves. That production and self-fulfillment were not equal and one had to be sacrificed for the other. The everyday person could not live off of self-fulfillment (another lie we tell ourselves) but rather “business” under the guise of production defined our day.
Now add a pandemic and the feeling that you are unable to be “busy” and boom…stress and anxiety. The feeling that something needs to be done will always make you feel that you must DO something when what you probably need to do is sit your butt down and relax. And say it with me “you have earned it!”
Do not be afraid of free time, but rather embrace it. Its the uncertainty of this newfound time that creates anxiety. The reality that we have to make use of our time with things that involve us can sometimes seem challenging and threatening to our everyday routine. But let’s face it, that everyday routine did not always grant us permission to be still and learn new ways to love ourselves. Being in quarantine has not only protected me from the purge but also allowed me to appreciate my encounters with people. Zoom has been a lifesaver. Conversations feel a little more intentional. I am witnessing people leaning to tap into parts of themselves that grant them permission to care about themselves and others.
For me, quarantining has revealed the following:
I can do 200 push-ups, 100 crunches, and 100 squats in a day if I did them random downtime. Translation – It is possible to find a healthy workout routine to stay active and for you to engage in a healthy lifestyle.
I can read something informative instead of mindlessly scrolling social media. Translation – Read something insightful once a day, even if its for 5-10 minutes. Feed your mind.
I can spare 30 minutes on a Sunday morning to practice yoga. Translation – Practice mindfulness and connect with your mind, body, and spirit. Be aware of where your mind wonders and how your body reacts to your thoughts.
I can have fun in a private space while being connected to others. Translation – Using social media to actually be social is kind of cool. Intentional connections can be done through phone calls, video chats, online games. Or intentional connections can by yourself.
The process of finding out what self-care means to me is self-care. I am learning patience, I am being vulnerable, and I learning more about myself. Translation – Self-care is a journey exploring how to love yourself better so that you can love others differently. But remember, self-care is not just identifying the things that bring you happiness, but the journey of learning what they are.
Make it a routine to find something to smile and laugh about.
Giancarlo A. Simpson, MS
Song to bump to
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