7 Self-Care Strategies for Navigating In the "New Normal"
As we continue spending more time at home due to the current climate, we have the opportunity to ask ourselves if we are setting the right boundaries for ourselves. Are you making enough time for self-care?
When I say boundaries, I don’t necessarily mean from other people but rather from devices, substances, routines and expectations.
The pandemic has for many hit pause on our goals and normal routines. No longer can we leverage facilities or interaction the same way to develop wellness and make time for self-care. That being said hope is not all lost, but rather we must get creative in cultivating our mental and physical health.
In this article, we will explore the self-care strategies individuals can incorporate to successfully navigate the next phase in our lives—transitioning to the “new normal”.
Practicing Self-Care During a Crisis
The first rule to practicing self-care during a pandemic is understanding that there are no expectations or pressure. Many individuals going through a crisis are often tempted to assign themselves tasks or obligations that can eat away at their emotional energy. The minute those pressures begin to detract from positive self-talk is when these common “self-care activities” become counterproductive.
The 7 Pillars of Self-Care
To help you avoid creating new pressures or stressors through your adopting these self-care strategies you can rely on the 7 pillars of self-care for a foundation to getting started. Let’s dive into those below.
Pillar 1: Health Literacy
The first pillar of self-care is having proper health literacy. Health literacy is the capacity for individuals to obtain and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. What does that mean for self-care? Since self-care is all about being your own advocate understanding and using health information to meet your needs is key for making yourself feel safe and protected.
How to harness Pillar 1: What this means for your self-care routine is that by devoting time to learning about state health codes that pertain to you will empower you to know what’s best for your health. Explore health sites, follow health bloggers and read up on the health information you need to feel safe.
Pillar 2: Mental Wellness
The second pillar of self-care is mental wellbeing. Mental wellbeing is having life purpose and the ability to cope with the normal stressors that come your way. The first step in harnessing the second pillar of self-care is having compassion and listening to your body.
This one is often hard for people who are concerned that they might not be able to afford seeking mental health. We found 10 free and affordable Mental Health options if you would like to talk with someone and get some help.
How to harness Pillar 2: Ask yourself, what is my body telling me and how does it make me feel? Listen to your sensations from your body and keep your attention on them till they disappear. Meditation is meant for listening to your body. Try adding 5-minute intervals of meditation into your yoga or workout routine.
Pillar 3: Physical Exercise
The third pillar of self-care is physical activity. Physical activity, while it is a great way to stay in shape, is more about sending positive endorphins into your brain and lowering your chances of catching a disease.
How to harness Pillar 3: Incorporate physical activity that makes you happy, not necessarily makes you sweat. This could mean taking a dance class, running at the beach or simply encouraging yourself to workout with a smile.
Pillar 4: Healthy Eating
The fourth pillar of self-care is healthy eating. Healthy eating, like physical activity, is meant to promote health and reduce the risk of diet-related disease.
How to harness Pillar 4: Add mood-boosting foods to your diet like greens and proteins. If cooking isn’t what brings you joy, then try purchasing fun, healthy snacks and enjoying them while you work. My favorite is treating myself with a healthy charcuterie plate around 3 PM.
Pillar 5: Set Boundaries
The fifth pillar of self-care is about setting boundaries. You can’t set good boundaries if you’re unsure of where you stand.
How to harness Pillar 5: Consider what you can tolerate and accept what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed. Those feelings help us identify what our limits are. Trust me, cleaning out your social media of toxic or angry people really helps to set clear boundaries of what you will or will not be influenced by.
Be clear with others what you need and ask for support.
Pillar 6: Practice Proper Hygiene
The sixth pillar of self-care is about practicing good hygiene. Cleaning yourself regularly like washing your hands and brushing your teeth is key for staying healthy and will be your biggest defense from illness as you break isolation.
How to harness Pillar 6: Incorporate cleaning your home, workspace, or bedroom into your self-care routine. For many organizing your space and feeling clean and put together is a huge mood and productivity booster.
Pillar 7: Finding Balance
The seventh and last pillar to self-care is the rational use of products or tools for health. This pillar is all about the knowledgeable, safe and effective use of health services by individuals to better manage their own health.
How to harness Pillar 7: Make sure you aren’t going overboard with any of these tools. We’re talking about creating balance in your self-care routine. Keep a log and track how many times you practice each pillar. Soon small changes will form into habits and you won’t feel the expectation to do them anymore but rather they will become part of your day to day life!
For more inspiration, self-care strategies, and a visual on the 7 pillars of self-care explore Tommy John’s infographic below. Whether you strive to harness all 7 pillars of self-care or work one pillar at a time, we hope incorporating these strategies helps .
We know that times are hard right now. We are all faced with uncertainty and fear. Take time for yourself and forgive yourself when you make mistakes. It's okay to take a break and get your head back together. We are all in this together.
If you need help or in crisis here’s a quick list of people who want to help that you should keep handy, either for you, or for someone in your life who may be struggling:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
- Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-PRIDE (800-246-7743)
- Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860
- The GLBT National Help Center at 1-888-THE-GLNH (888-843-4564)
- The Crisis Call Center at 1-800-273-8255
- The Samaritan’s Crisis Hotline at 1-212-673-3000
- The National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7223
- The National Crime Victim Helpline at 1-800-394-2255
If you need help, don't let fear or stigmas hold you back. You deserve to be happy.