My tips for focusing on self-care after lockdown
With lockdown and the easing of restrictions, it's important that we all continue to look after ourselves
Although restrictions are being lifted, and the end of lockdown is hopefully near, many of us are finding this situation really stressful. Many people have found comfort and become used to their lockdown routine, and it may be hard or overwhelming for them to face the “new normal.” That being said, it's important to know that while we don't have control over these uncertain times, we still have the power over how we adapt.
Sticking with some healthy habits
I think it is common knowledge that having healthy eating habits, a good sleep pattern and exercise are essential to looking after ourselves. Many people have taken up new hobbies and exercise routines, so even in the “new normal” people should continue to do the things that they enjoy. Keeping healthy habits is an important way to cope with stress. The easing of restrictions does not mean we should ignore our mental health.
Keeping up with good mental health habits is important. Be mindful of what makes you stressed and try not to put pressure on yourself to adjust straight away. I think many people will feel pressured to be productive and pick up their lives where they left off pre-pandemic. It may not take much to hear the negative voices in your head saying things like "I can't do anything right."
When we start this spiral of self-judgment it is important to continue or start to show ourselves self-compassion. If it's too overwhelming to see people that's okay. If you were unproductive today that's okay too. Find what helps you in these moments, avoid criticising yourself, and remember in these uncertain times it is okay to have ups and downs.
Avoid comparing yourself to others
This is a new process, and you should avoid comparing yourself to others, especially those who seem to be doing exciting and really productive things on social media. It’s important to do things at your own pace.
Focus on self-care you enjoy doing
We should try to make time for more self-care. Self-care is crucial to our lives now more than ever. Even five minutes a day of doing self-care activities like meditation, exercise, stepping away from social media, listening to music you like etc. can really help us in times of stress. For me, it is a three-minute podcast on my bus journeys every morning. However, try not to make self-care a chore or task. You’re more likely to do it if it’s something you enjoy. It should not be a once-off thing either, try doing something for yourself every day, and you could go as far as having a self-care day. The important thing is to treat yourself as you would treat a loved one.
In the near future people may be discouraged and overwhelmed by the pace of life. But as we have all learned from lockdown, we are always stuck with ourselves, so we need to look after ourselves. Be proud of any small or big things you have accomplished because these happy self-compassionate moments show how resilient we are in uncertain times like the past year.