The importance of self-care when dealing with uncertainty
I’ve felt like I should write a blog post acknowledging the situation with coronavirus / COVID 19 – but truthfully I haven’t felt able to. I’ve been really anxious and teary – experiencing the same emotions I know so many of us are feeling right now.
I don’t want to go into lots of details about the waves of emotions I’ve been going through because we’re all in the same boat trying to navigate what this new uncertainty is. I’m just hoping we get through this quickly.
However, I do believe it’s fundamentally important to feel your feelings. It doesn’t help to button everything up because it comes out in different ways: affecting your relationships with people; and manifesting in physical and mental health conditions. If you feel upset, then cry. If you feel angry, think about how best to channel it: journalling, exercise or evaluating where you can put some control back in your life. The best thing we can do is be aware of our emotions.
It’s also really important to look after ourselves more than ever because we’re all experiencing high levels of stress right now. So how do we do that? This is why we need self-care for dealing with uncertainty.
Self-care strategies when dealing with uncertainty
Maintain a routine
There’s been quite a lot written online about how important it is to maintain a routine. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to leap out of bed at 6am. Some people are night owls and some people aren’t. I function far better first thing in the morning and it takes me twice as long to do something after 6pm. Just try and find a time that works for you and stick to it. It’s useful to have a sense of normality in a rapidly changing world.
Obviously some of us are working throughout this period, but for others, you might be working from home for the first time or in a role that’s impossible to do during lockdown. For people who have a lot of freedom to structure the day, some advice I’ve heard is to break down your day into hourly chunks to create a routine. This also (sort of) helps when looking after kids too.
I feel like a gratitude bore sometimes… BUT IF THERE’S ONE THING I’D LIKE YOU TO TAKE WAY FROM THIS BLOG IT’S TO THINK ABOUT HAVING A GRATITUDE PRACTICE. It’s such an easy thing to do and doesn’t cost any money.
At the moment, while things are shit in the world, then it’s more important than ever to remind ourselves of what’s good in our lives and celebrate moments of joy. Write down 10 things you’re grateful for and the reasons why, then say thank you for each one. It makes such a difference, I promise.
Mindfulness has a number of benefits for both our physical and mental health, helping to reduce stress, overthinking and even lower blood pressure.
I used to have a regular mindfulness practice and it made such a difference in my life. However, life got in the way and it fell by the wayside. My self-care to do list ended up becoming a stick to beat myself with. So one thing I try to do instead is focus on what I’m doing in that moment. I try and eat mindfully – thinking about the food and concentrating on the enjoyment I get from food, instead of necking it in five minutes. We all have varying amounts of free time so I think it’s good to focus on what works for you.
There are a number of free mindfulness Apps available: try Calm or Headspace. Or download this 21 mindfulness practice from Deepak Chopra.
Get some fresh air
We’re allowed to go out once a day to exercise in the UK. We need to use it. Now, I’m not talking about donning your lycras and becoming the next Usain Bolt. Just go for a walk round the block, have some fresh air and a break from being indoors. Look at new leaves sprouting from the trees and flowers starting to bloom. Go outside for your mental health, as much as your physical health. Extra points though if you hug a tree.
We’re social beings and even people like me who enjoy their own company need interaction. So make sure you ring people, set up zoom/skype/face time calls – anything just to make sure you’re staying connected. No man is an island and we need to talk to other people.
Get enough sleep
One of the best ways to look after yourself is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. The amount you need varies from person to person. I’m an 8 hour girl. Try and put a good sleep routine in place: avoid too many glasses of the vino blanco and aim to go to bed at the same time each evening.
You may also notice you are feeling tireder than normal and need naps during the day. If you do, then sleep. This is your body’s response to stress so listen to it and don’t give yourself a hard time for sleeping more.
Carve out time for you
People juggling jobs, kids, homeschooling, houses and working out where you can still buy food from: I hear you. It’s really hard to cram everything into one day. Try to carve out some time for you. Read a book, take a bath, light a candle, listen to music. It doesn’t matter what it is, just put in time for you too. We’re all trying to keep ourselves going so please put in time for self-care when dealing with all this uncertainty.
Alternative self-care ideas to support yourself through uncertainty ✨
Putting a cloak of protection around you
One of the ways we can help ourselves to feel protected is to put a cloak of protection around our aura. This simple meditation helps you put an invisible cloak of protection around you to keep your energy safe.
Essential oil blends
Frankincense, black pepper, geranium, sandalwood and juniper are all essential oils which are thought to help with protection. Or try one of these essential oils to lift your mood.
There are still some places that you can buy essential oils online – Tisserand are a good brand to look out for. Just look for pure grades and nothing that’s been mixed already.
Crystals for protection
Now because I’m what could be described as a little bit ‘woo woo’, then I feel drawn to certain crystals at different times. So for anyone with a crystal collection, then try seeing which crystals are giving out the most energy (yes, I’m being serious).
As a general rule of thumb though, black stones are considered to ‘soak up’ or deflect negative energy more powerfully than other stones. Black tourmaline is a good all-round stone for protection. Or hematite stones are also known to create a protective shield around the body.
Above all be kind to yourself
If you sleep all day, drink more than necessary, or spend your days watching Netflix, then don’t give yourself a hard time. Honestly, we’re all just trying to get through this in the best way we can. Yes, I really believe in the importance of self-care when dealing with uncertainty. But if it doesn’t happen, let it go.
Be kind to yourself.