Self-Care for Stressful Times

The events of 2020-21 have brought on new levels of stress and anxiety for many of us. Here are some tips to help you take care of your mental and physical well-being.

Self Care

The events of 2020 and 2021 have brought on new levels of stress and anxiety for many of us. Our routines have been upended and we still may not be able to spend time with family and friends in the ways we would like. As we continue to deal the effects of a major health crisis, as well as people living with the long-term effects of COVID-19, it is extremely important to take care of our mental and physical wellbeing.

When some people think of self-care, they picture face masks and long bubble baths. Those are great ways to relax, but true self-care needs go further, experts say. As this uncertain and anxious time stretches on, here are some tips to help you keep up your mental and physical health.


Our bodies need sufficient sleep in order to function well, studies show. Getting enough sleep has many health benefits. It keeps your immune system running strong, helps your heart and cardiovascular system, and is essential for various brain functions, including cognition and memory. To help get a better sleep, experts suggest that you maintain a consistent bedtime, stop looking at screens at least half an hour before bed, limit caffeine in the afternoon, and avoid big meals at night. Regular exercise can also help you improve your sleep.


Many Americans have worked from home on and off since last spring, and a number of employees will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. When your home doubles as your office, it is important to create boundaries. Skillcrush, an online company, advises anyone working remotely to create (and use) a dedicated space in your home where you work, set clear work hours and stick to them, and take your days off seriously. It's important to have at least one day a week where you are completely disconnected and unplugged from work.


Make a habit of connecting regularly with family and friends during this time, advises the World Health Organization. Though social distancing measures are beginning to lift, many people, incuding those living with chronic illness, are continuing to remain home. It is important to stay in touch with people you care about through phone calls, texting, video chats, and social media. With so many people in need of support, it's also good to check in on neighbors and community members and spend time volunteering to help others if you can.


Treat yourself with compassion. These are unprecedented times and now more than ever, no one knows what the future will bring. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), everyone reacts differently during a crisis, and it's important to notice and accept how you feel. Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust, and use calming self-talk ("I can do this" and "One day at a time.")


Keeping physically active is extremely important in these times, experts say. The American Heart Association advises adults to get at least 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (running, hiking, swimming laps) combined with 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week (gardening, water aerobics, low impact bike riding, doubles tennis). But if that level is not possible, do what is comfortable and possible for you. Even a short, 10-minute walk is good for your body and can help lift your mood. If you are new to exercise, start with small amounts and gradually increase the duration and frequency over time.


Do you enjoy cooking? Do you like to paint? Have you been wanting to start an indoor garden? There is no time like the present, so keep your spirits up by participating in hobbies and activities that bring you pleasure. With social distancing measures still in place and limits on public gatherings, this is a good time to learn a new skill or get better at doing something that makes you happy.


Doomscrolling, the act of continually scrolling through one's apps and social media to seek out bad news, has become an activity many people are engaging in regularly. Experts say it's very important to be mindful of when and how you are consuming news. It's best to limit it at night, especially right before you go to sleep, and first thing in the morning. Ann Murphy, public health professional at Rutgers University, suggests that people limit their daily news crawls to a few sources, check information at a specific time of day, and only look at news once or twice a day.


If you often feel tense, depressed, angry, or are having regular panic attacks, you should seek help from a support group or mental health professional. Organizations such as Alcohol Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are holding support groups remotely to help people in recovery from substance or alcohol abuse. Many mental health counselors are providing virtual services. You can call the national hotline for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) at 1-800-662-HELP. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor at the Crisis Text Line. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has regional support groups and a helpline. For more information, go to

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Goldie Briones


Posted : Jan 23, 2021 05:26



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