When life is “normal”, self-care should be a top priority for mental and physical wellbeing. In the middle of these uncertain times, self-care has never been more important. In times of fear, uncertainty and anxiety it’s easy and natural to feel overwhelmed and out of control.  Your self-care is something you can take control of, to help give you a focus.  A threat to our health and financial security, as well as being apart from loved ones, must rank as THE biggest fears we have; they certainly do for me.

I’ve put together my top tips for self-care. They are all things that I am trying to practice and whilst I don’t think they will always come easy, I truly believe trying to implement these ideas will help see us through these difficult times.

Routine and planning

The very basic level of self-care is to wash, dress and feed ourselves.  With no school or work we run the risk of treating each day much like a weekend. Sticking to your usual wake up time, having a good breakfast, washing and dressing are important during this ‘lockdown’. It signifies that you are ready to start the day; reminding yourself it’s not a holiday, but a new, temporary way of life. I’m not suggesting you are suited and booted, just not wearing you pyjamas all day!

I am a planner by nature. Having a plan for the day will also help give some purpose and focus. Planning meal times, exercise, home schooling, downtime, will help prevent just drifting through the day, and I think help emotional wellbeing.

Exercise

This is a great time to quash that “I don’t have time to exercise” excuse. Use the time you would take to commute to work to exercise instead, don’t forget you travel there and back!  There are a huge number of fitness professionals offering free online sessions, so you can try new forms of exercise in the comfort of your own home.

Whilst we are still able to, get outside and walk, jog or cycle.  In my opinion exercising in the fresh air is the best thing. As I write this, the sun is shining, so take your chosen free class outside, and exercise, breathe and enjoy.

As an added extra, fresh air is hugely important. Make sure you get as much fresh air as you can. Open the windows.

Social Contact

This is where many of us are going to struggle. We humans are a sociable bunch, and many of us crave that social interaction. It’s an important part of emotional wellbeing.  I’ve seen pictures all over social media of family ‘gatherings’ over various internet platforms. Four way conversations between different households. One of my friends even took part in family bingo! I must find out how that went! Meet friends online, share a glass of wine together, chat, check in and laugh together. Stay connected.

Follow your dreams

How many times have you said “I wish I had time to…. “(Read that book, do that puzzle, make my garden beautiful, clear the garage, plan my new business venture, write that blog) or  “oh I’d love to learn…”  (To cook, that language, yoga, knitting, to fix my car, tiling, to play the piano (clearly you might need a piano for that one, but you get my drift!))  Well you now have the time! Grab the opportunity, make the best of a difficult situation and use your time in the way that best suits you.

Equally if you don’t feel the love for trying something new, don’t beat yourself up. It’s ok. The last thing we need is to feel added pressure, when levels of anxiety and fear  are riding higher than usual. Be kind to yourself.

Gratitude

This is a big one, and so important. This situation is affecting every single person in the whole world, in one-way or another. When they keep saying you are not in this alone, it’s definitely true.  It’s really important to practice gratitude. Look past the fear and uncertainty and find what you are grateful for. Just note three things each day that you feel grateful for, really notice what’s around you and what you find thanks for.

Here are mine from yesterday;

*  working out in the garden in the sun, listening to the birds sing and seeing the bees doing their thing.

*  my massage workshed; now being my own little yoga sanctuary/office, allowing me space to plan for post corona and practice my own yoga.

* a Facetime call with my other half.

I hope some of these ideas appeal to you and help you and your family through the coming weeks.  Remember to be kind to yourself, stay home and stay safe.