How to practice self care with friends during COVID-19
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Practicing self care is important for your mental and physical health. It’s also easy to overlook - when your mind is taken up with stress and worry, it can be hard to remember to take a step back and relax. During difficult times, making space for self care will help you to feel better.
Self care is not selfish. By taking time to look after yourself, you will have more energy to help and support others. One way to practice self care is to do it with friends. This can be a great way to connect while social distancing, and recharge your batteries at the same time.
5 ways to do self care with a friend while social distancing
Here are some self care ideas that you can do with friends:
1. Make time for each other
In times like these, having good relationships are a great support. Try to regularly make time with your friend to talk about what has been going on in your lives. Using apps like WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom, Houseparty and Netflix party allow you to connect with your friends and family, by playing games and watching movies together, when you cannot see them in person. Talking about how you are feeling and what is happening in your life is beneficial to your mental health and is a great way to connect with people. Listening to what is happening in your friends' lives is also important to building strong friendships together.
2. Cooking together
Eating healthily is an important part of self care. When we are feeling low, we typically reach for quick easy food to make us feel better, particularly foods high in carbohydrates and fat. This is fine in the short term, but it doesn’t set us up for looking after our mental health.
You and a friend could get together and cook some healthy meals and get adventurous with some new recipes. You could also share tips with friends or challenge them to bake-offs and share pictures on social media.
3. Get some exercise
Getting exercise can help to improve your mental wellbeing, reduce stress, and give you more motivation. All forms of exercise are associated with better mental health, so find a type that suits you best. It can also improve your sleep at night, which is a common problem for those suffering with lower mental health.
There are lots of different kinds of exercise you can do. Having a friend take on a virtual fitness challenge with you can keep you motivated and connected in times when you don’t feel like it.
4. Learn new skills
Now is a great opportunity to explore new skills. Learning new skills gives a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. It’s linked to the reward part of the brain that gives us happy hormones. Sense of achievement also improves self-esteem. It may help you find strengths you never knew you had, or it may be a distraction to get you out of your thoughts and enjoying an activity in the moment which is also okay.
Find tutorials online, use apps, or get someone you know to teach you something. You can share updates with your friend along the way, encourage each other, and keep each other motivated.
5. Get creative
Try to use this time to express yourself, whether that’s through art, music, writing, or another skill. Share what you’ve been working on with friends, or collaborate on something together. Whatever you choose to do doesn't have to be perfect, it's just for fun. Even if you do different things, you and a friend could show each other your work and share feedback and ideas. You could also collaborate - if you like drawing and your friend plays music, you could design their album cover. It is really down to what you both enjoy.
This is a tough time for everyone, and it’s normal to feel upset or anxious. Making time to connect with friends and look after your physical and mental wellbeing will bring you closer together and help you to feel better during the pandemic.
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