Self Care: We Need It! Part 1

Self Care

It all starts with you.....

Normally, after a hard workweek, people choose to decompress in one way or another. For some, that decompression may include running, working out, a spa day, a massage, a mani/pedi, or a dinner and drinks with friends. All that sounds so normal and lovely! However, during a pandemic with social distancing and quarantining, all those things are much harder to accomplish.

Self-care, as defined by PsychCentral, is “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” Definitely during times of high stress we need this even more. Although we will be longing for the days when we can participate in outdoor and communal activities for stress relief, now is the time for self-care! 

Limit Screen Time

One of the number one things that we should do to relieve stress is to take media breaks. It is especially important to limit this in the evening before we lie down to attempt to sleep. The blue light that is emitted from television, computer screens, tablets and cell phones is proven to impact the production of melatonin which in turn controls your circadian rhythm. This leads me to another activity that you might participate in before going to sleep for the night.

Escape With Literature

If possible, find a few books to order online that will be an escape from reality. Some people seek out pandemic novels and movies during this time. However, I prefer to read a bit more light-hearted literature. Here are just a few of my own suggestions. They are definitely light-hearted or humorous: 

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

A young woman and her adventures in the restaurant scene of New York City. 

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

Escape with this family to Mallorca for two weeks in celebration of a family event. 

Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas

A memoir of growing up Iranian in America. 

I Was Told There Would Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

Hilarious and genuine collection of essays.

Calypso by Dave Sedaris

Humorous observations on middle age and mortality.

Ways to Be Mindful of Your Body

Meditation and mindfulness is excellent for your immune system. According to Harvard Health Publishing, breathing exercises will slow your heart rate and help to calm your mind. Practice this regularly and if can buffer the effects of stress thus increasing your immune support. 

Many apps for this are having free time during COVID-19. 

Headspace App

Calm App

Breathe to Relax

19 Minute Yoga — Free live-streamed yoga classes on YouTube

Down Dog extends freebies until May 1 for everyone and until July 1 for students, teachers, and healthcare professionals

YMCA 360 Your Virtual YMCA

STRONG by Zumba YouTube

However you decide to self-care while at home during this season, be sure to allow yourself the time and space needed for rejuvenation and relaxation!  Stay healthy! 

By: Becky Morgan bmorgan@teachingmatters.org

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