When we wrote this post in April, 2020, we could not have imagined that over a year later, social distancing and face masks would still be part of our daily lives. Over a year later, we are hearing more and more about people suffering from pandemic burnout, and this is especially true for caregivers, who have to worry about those they care for, as well as themselves. Self-care – however you define it – is important to reducing stress and staying balanced.
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We still have time at home, and I know that many of you (not unlike myself) have gotten a little ‘stir crazy’ at times being within the same four walls. Our minds have a way of making the time we have pleasant or troublesome, so I’ve found it best to do things that fill me up, or have put off for another day.
I spoke to a friend today that organized her spice cabinet, ‘finally,’ as she put it. Something that she put off for so long because it would take a lot of time sifting through, buying a spice shelf, and then organizing all of it. But she did, and ever so happy with the outcome! Her new rack is eliminating the ‘where’s the basil?’ and the worst, ‘oh no, I don’t have basil!’
I spent time sorting out my container shelf. You know, the one where you’ve got the container, but where’s the lid? Mundane tasks? Perhaps. But I can about guarantee that you’ll be happy you’ve used this time to do them.
Another great thing to do is connect with nature. Try these:
Plant a garden. Many nurseries are offering drive-up service where you order by phone or online, pay for the things ahead of time, drive up, and they put it all in your trunk for you. Easy, you’re helping local businesses and get your hands in the dirt! (If you’re in a region that has distinct seasons, it may be time to prepare your garden for bulb planting in cooler weather.)
Get up early and open your windows or sit outside and listen to birds chirping while you’re having your morning coffee or tea. NO laptop, iPhone, or iPad involved! Breathe in and out and feel a calmness settling in to start your day.
Take a walk; though most people have been doing this take a different route in your neighborhood this time. I’ve said hello (at a distance) to more people then I have in the five years I’ve lived here. It’s heartwarming!
Nature is pure medicine; good for the heart and the soul!
Finally, set aside one day of pure indulgent self-care. I know many of you are still caring for a loved one at home, so time is limited. But even if you can take an hour and set aside for yourself for a long bath, read a book with a piece of chocolate with your hot tea. (Chocolate is good for you!).
Anything that you can do, even the smallest of things can make a significant difference. Fill up your cup, calm the monkey mind because it increases your reactivity and decreases human error when caring for your loved one, your family, and yourself.