The pandemic has taken a toll on everything around us. From our health to even our country’s economy, everything is at risk. It’s a stressful and unprecedented time. That said, it is important for us to practice self-care more, so we can help not only ourselves but also our families to get through such a tough time together.
Often, many of us feel guilty about taking care of ourselves, thinking it’s a selfish thing to do. But it’s actually not a self-centered concept. When you take care of yourself, you’re not just helping yourself, but you’re also taking care of the people around you.
And since we’re still a bit far from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, even if the vaccine rollout has started in several countries, you’ll need to take care of yourself more. To do that, here are some tips.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is very important, whether or not we’re in the middle of a pandemic. It helps you think better and make sound decisions. Additionally, it strengthens the immune system, which is vital in fighting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It also helps improve your mood, making you feel less irritable, moody, and emotional. That said, make sure that you get enough sleep every day.
One of the best ways to do that is to follow a routine to help you relax before your bedtime. But, make sure that it doesn’t involve gadgets as the blue light that comes from them can affect the quality of your sleep. Or if you feel like something is wrong and is affecting your sleep, it’s always best to seek professional help as it could be caused by other medical conditions.
Because of the pandemic, many people are stuck inside their homes. But this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to work out. Exercise plays a vital role in keeping our bodies healthy. Apart from that, it can also help us have a better quality of sleep. Plus, it improves our mood as it helps release endorphins, commonly known as happy hormones.
If you’re afraid to hit the gym because of the pandemic, you can try working out at home instead and follow video guides from Youtube or other platforms. Some gyms and fitness instructors also offer online workouts, so you might want to consider it too. Regardless, this will surely make your body fit, lowering the chance of acute illnesses, including COVID-19.
Mind What You Eat and Drink
What you eat is also important in keeping yourself healthy. During such an unprecedented time, it is crucial that you get the right nutrients to keep your body healthy, so it’s easier to fight off diseases. Thus, make sure that you’re able to eat balanced meals every day and stay away from unprocessed foods. Fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts to name a few.
You should also be mindful of what you drink. Make sure that you stay hydrated throughout the day and stay away from drinks that contain plenty of sugar. Drinks with electrolytes, as well as those with probiotics are recommended too, just make sure that they don’t have too much sugar on it.
Stop Eating Stress-Inducing Food
Speaking of food, did you know that there are also certain types of food that can induce stress? This includes caffeine, alcohol, and others that contain refined sugar. But there is also food that can lower the levels of stress in your body, such as avocados, dark chocolate, bananas, and oranges. These can cut the levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormones, that can eventually take a toll on your body.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to completely stop eating stress-inducing food. You can still eat or drink your favorite food or drink. However, do note that you need to take them in moderation to keep stress at bay. As they say, too much of anything is bad for you.
Eat on Time
When we’re stuck at home, it’s easy to keep on snacking every time we feel bored. Or, sometimes, we only eat when we feel hungry, especially when we live alone. But this is not good for the body. Even if we eat small portions of snacks, if we do it frequently, it could still cause us to gain weight. Eating late or skipping meals can also make you feel more tired.
The rule of thumb is to eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up but eat it not later than 10 AM. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so be sure not to skip it. For lunch, the ideal time is 12:45 PM and not later than 4 PM. As much as possible, keep a gap of four hours between breakfast and lunch. Dinner should be eaten before 7 PM and not later than 10 PM.
Take Vitamins and Food Supplements
Eating fruits and vegetables aren’t enough. Sometimes, no matter how much we eat fruits and vegetables, we still don’t get the full nutrients that we need. It could be because of the lack of supply or it could be due to the mistakes we often make when cooking vegetables, thus we sometimes can’t get the right amount of certain vitamins and minerals.
What you can do is take vitamins and food supplements. Vitamin B, C, and D help strengthen the immune system, Testogen helps increase energy levels, and zinc helps both the immune system and metabolism. Taking these will give you extra protection and a good amount of energy every day.
An all work no play schedule can also take a toll not only on your physical health but also on your mental well-being. As much as possible, try to take rests in between and play games as much as you can.
Video games are often looked down upon by many, believing that they can cause negative effects on a person’s behavior. Many of its pros and cons are still debated. But reports say that playing games actually helps release endorphins. As you get thrilled and excited, these brain chemicals are released, resulting in lower anxiety and stress levels.
Additionally, it can help keep your brain fit. Many video games teach cognitive and work skills. This helps you think better and improve your body’s coordination. Additionally, it improves memory and attention span.
Sometimes, stress can be inevitable. Even if you’re calm and in a good mood, there will be times when the pressure at work, school, or from other people will get into you. And at times, it’s hard to prevent. When this happens, talking to another person you trust can help. But because of the pandemic, it’s hard to go out and meet with your family and friends physically.
Thanks to the advancements in technology, it’s easier to reach people from anywhere in the world with just a few clicks. Take advantage of it for your mental well-being. Try to connect with your loved ones online. This will help you release what you’ve been holding in your chest for too long. This will also help boost your mood.
Find a Hobby
Another thing to keep stress at bay is finding your hobby. Because most of us are stuck at home, you can take advantage of this situation and find a good hobby. With this, you’ll be able to get to know yourself better. Some people even got surprised that they can do things they didn’t know they can do, such as painting, knitting, and even baking.
Apart from getting to know yourself, doing this will help you feel happier. We all feel happy with doing what we love. So, doing an activity that you once loved will surely release those happy hormones.
On top of that, you can turn it into a profitable one. If you’ve found your hobby and honed your skills, use it to your advantage to earn a living. Because of the pandemic, some people lost their jobs as many companies were forced to close down. If you’re one of them, you can sell your masterpiece and earn a living, especially if you mastered baking, painting, and other profitable hobbies.
Learn Something New
Since we can’t go out that easily, you can also take this opportunity to learn something new. This will help boost your brainpower and practice self-care at the same time. Many colleges and universities from different parts of the world now offer online courses for free. Organizations also offer various seminars.
Signing up for these courses will help you learn new things that might help you in the future. In addition to that, learning new materials will help you feel happier, confident, and accomplished.
Play with Pets
When we’re stressed or occupied with so many things, we often tend to forget our fur friends. But did you know that spending time with them can make you feel better? Our pets provide companionship, easing the feeling of loneliness. Touch and movement also help with managing stress. So, when you pet them, your blood pressure is lowered and you will feel calmer. They sometimes look silly too, if you play with them.
If you don’t have a pet yet, consider having one. Their warmth will help you get through tough days, especially during the pandemic. Just make sure that you’re willing and prepared for their basic needs, especially their medical needs, as owning a pet is also like having a baby, except that they’re more independent.
Listen to Music
Music helps you heal. It reduces the heart rate, lowers cortisol, and lowers blood pressure. It also improves mood as it eases anxiety. Some songs also have good lyrics that you can relate to that will make you feel less lonely, especially when you’re alone in your house and can’t meet with your loved ones physically due to the pandemic. It can even help with physical rehabilitation.
This is the reason why music therapy exists. Some also find comfort in listening to popular singers at the comfort of their homes. Religious songs provide relief by making believers feel more secured and that the god that they believe in got their back. Some also find Korean pop songs healing for them as most of their lyrics are inspirational too.
Take Long Baths
Taking long baths is also a form of self-care. It keeps you calm and relaxes your body. It is also recommended that you take warm baths. This will not just give you tranquility but will also help lower blood pressure levels and reduce inflammation. So as much as possible, take some time away from your busy schedule and take a long relaxing bath.
Don’t Forget Your Skin
Taking care of your skin is important. Not only will it keep you looking fresh and young but it will also help prevent skin concerns, such as acne, blackheads, and even allergies at bay. Moreover, healthy skin will boost your confidence. So, no matter how long your day has been, never forget to do your skincare routine. Your skin will thank you for it in the future.
Have a Break from Social Media
The social media has changed a lot of things around us. It changed our beauty standards, it started trends, and more. Basically, it made us see the world a lot differently. However, the downside to it is that it started becoming a place where insecurity and the feeling of being isolated starts.
And if you’re going through a tough situation, it can sometimes make you feel terrible about yourself or make you feel isolated. Before or when this happens, take some time off the social media. It sure is crucial to know more about your surroundings these days but if it’s not good for your mental well-being, turn off your notifications and set time limits if you need to.
Taking care of yourself is important, especially in the middle of a pandemic. It’s not only for your well-being, but it can also do good for the people around you.