Have we felt as strongly for Self-Care as we feel now ?
Maybe no, because the present times are drastically different from any other and the crisis of this magnitude is a ‘first’ for many of us. Till now, we could afford to ignore the need for self-care, even with a lame excuse and get away with it. But now is the time to give due importance to self-care and put it on priority else coping with the situation will become impossible for us. Ignoring self-care will only leave us more vulnerable and lead to anxiety, depression, and various other debilitating emotions/ feelings.
The turn of events during these unpredictable times may leave us overwhelmed and lead to losing focus on “self” but a quick reminder to ourselves that self-care is the only way to beat the blues could set us up to put self-care back on our radar and get going.
It’s very important to understand that self-care is a comprehensive and holistic approach to wellness and includes physical, mental and emotional aspects of our personality. The trick to effective self-care lies in making it an integral part of our lifestyle and mentioned below are a few tips that could help us achieve the same.
Keep Things Simple
At times like these (crisis), the intention should be to avoid complicating the things so that they don’t overwhelm us. The more manageable things are for us, the more we are in control of ourselves. We can always keep things simple by:
- Living in the present because that’s where it’s all happening. moving beyond the present, into the times which hasn’t arrived brings undue stress. all the action happens in the present and that’s why it’s important to stay there, in the present.
- Taking things as they unfold – pre-empting things doesn’t work out in these situations where uncertainty and unpredictability rule the roost. being patient is the key, so wait and watch how things shape up and then prepare ourselves accordingly. acting in haste is a complete waste in this scenario.
- Focusing on what we can control, even if it’s a tiny thing/ task/ action – it’s good to have an opinion but being obsessed with it (opinion) if we can’t change the facts is waste of energy. there are always going to be things falling outside our scope of control so it makes more sense to expend our energy and effort on things under our control and it could be the crucial task of managing our reaction to a bad/ unfavourable event.
- Attempting one thing at a time – multitasking is a myth but at times like these when we feel overwhelmed, we attempt to do too many things at the same time. this results in us losing focus and patience and we end up with multiple incomplete tasks. the best approach to avoid undue stress and pressure at this time is to prioritise things and do them one at a time.
It’s natural human reaction to try our best to address the challenges effectively and at the earliest to avoid any major damage to self. But in our attempt to do so, we, knowingly or unknowingly, put ourselves under extreme pressure to do the right things and to do it in time. These self-imposed deadlines/ timelines could result in a biased mindset and we may end up being irrational in our decision-making. Remember, self-care is about being kind to our self, so let’s try and be our best ally. Few ways that could help us go easy on ourself are
- Stop judging ourself – with plenty of negative influences around us, we may get into the habit of labeling ourselves. playing neutral ensures we stay sane and in control of things
- Avoid overthinking – The 2 most harmful thinking errors that we may get prone to during crisis are 1) playing victim, where we may start assuming to have been singled out to suffer, and 2) catastrophizing, where we tend to magnify the situation and get obsessed with the worst possibility.
- Limit media exposure – during times of crisis, media is bound to be filled with more news and stories about loss, despair and sadness. It’s wise to avoid too much exposure to media of any form (electronic news media or social media). limiting our media exposure to gaining update on the situation and on watching news/ stories about hope and courage will be helpful. consuming only that content which keeps your spirits up is the best use of our time spent on media.
- Drop all expectations – when times are unsure, there’s no point in building expectations of any sort from anyone, neither from self nor from others. the only expectation that may come true is the dawn of a new order and we can never be prepared in advance to build anticipation for this unknown and unseen entity. there’s merit in having zero expectations and living more realistically.
It’s very important that when we encounter any calamity in life, we try to maintain the forward momentum. Life is all about moving ahead, even if that happens by way of small, tiny steps. It may happen that life may come to a complete standstill and may not offer us any hope for future but if we proceed with an intent to keep moving ahead in some way, we will keep progressing. Here are few ways we can seek progress even during tough times
- Look for possibilities – among the plethora of problems that may come our way during crisis, keeping an eye for the silver lining or the bright spot is the only way to stay positive. “what is it that is still a possibility” could become the new mantra for us.
- Identify opportunities – the paradigm shift that occurs may close many previous doors but surely opens up many new ones. all that we need to do is to move out of our comfort zone and look around with fresh perspective.
- Watch your self talk – words have great power and during times of difficulty, we rely a lot on our inner voice. ensure that what we tell ourselves uplifts us and gives us strength and hope. be watchful about the conversation with self as the self-talk has a direct impact on our self-esteem.
- Do what gives you strength – Vulnerability is at its peak during this time of uncertainty and the best we can do for ourselves is to pick up an activity/ hobby/ passion that makes us calm and provide us with strength to deal with the difficult times with ease.