By Noni Kigera
Life is bizarre right now. You might be feeling uneasy now that your routine is a bit altered. Please remember it’s okay to not feel like yourself; we’re in the midst of a global crisis. Even though we’re all in this together your experiences are unique and valid, and you’ll need to manage your health. Here are some practical self-care tips, to help you stay afloat in a flood of change.
1. Take Care of Your Body
Believe it or not, self-care isn’t all about bubble baths (shockingly). Although a sheet mask and wine (21+) is a pretty good option, it’s important to take care of your physical health and especially while our movement is restricted. In an article by Dr. Tchiki Davis, she states regular exercise and a healthy sleep schedule is a great way to manage mental and physical stress. Obviously gyms are closed but other forms of exercise that are fun and engaging include walks, dancing, online classes, live streams, body weight exercises, and more are available. As far as sleep goes, even though social media is a source for entertainment at four in the morning, try cutting back a little bit.
2. Eat Well
This summer is about personalities, since we all know our current condition. Depending on who you are, you might have picked up a few habits including stress eating or skipping meals. According to American Psychological Association, this can make you feel “sluggish or lazy” or “disappointed in [yourself].” Be cautious of mood altering substances, like alcohol. However it is a pandemic, so you might need a shot (21+) every now and again. Plus, bartending could be a positive quarantine skill. It’s recommended to eat complex carbs, vitamin C, Omega-3 fatty acids, and healthy fats. Keep in mind it’s about self care though, as long as you’re eating your veggies and maintaining an overall healthy diet (by accredited health professional standards), having a treat isn’t the worst thing you could do.
Crisis and trauma can take a toll on your mental health and mental health professionals are here to support you. If you have insurance, check your policy to see what teletherapy options are available to you. Additionally, Medicare has expanded coverage to include three types of virtual services such as telehealth visits, virtual check-ins and e-visits. Even if you don’t have insurance there are options available to you. Open Path Collective, is a space where therapists offer sessions for between $30 and $60. Apps designed for online therapy include BetterHelp, Talkspace and Larkr. More so there are free hotlines: The Department of Health and Human Services 1-800-662-4357, Integral Care (15 languages) 512-472-HELP, and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. Don’t neglect mental health and self-care.
4. Control the Controllable
Oddly enough, planning and goal-setting is helpful during wavering seasons. Structure your time and set short term goals to accomplish on a regular basis, but BE NICE to yourself. Reduce the demands you usually put on yourself and include relaxation in your schedule. Instead of your usual routines that are packed with exertion, add time for meditation, laughter, or whatever else you like to do. Also, Cigna recommends getting your information from “reliable, objective source[s]” and “don’t rely on rumors or guesswork.” That means before you forward that WhatsApp text, ask yourself “does this make sense?”
5. Creativity/Virtual Company
Pouring yourself into creative works is an opportunity to escape for a moment and just focus on one thing. Finding the perfect medium to express yourself is key. You may have caught on to the many artists switching to digital performances and watching live stream shows could be your thing. You can watch NPR Live Sessions, Youtube Live, PitchforkTV, or throw it back with us on The Vault. Alternatively, you may want to reduce your screen time. Try journaling regularly by writing freely or using prompts. Basic painting supplies are available at supermarkets like Walmart if you want to try your hand, and free templates are on Pinterest. You could also do your former passion until you were forced by teachers – read.
6. Listen to Austin City Limits Radio
Last, but certainly not least – try listening to Austin City Limits Radio. Our jocks are still on air every day, and we are still bumping the latest tunes. Take care by singing along to your favorite song, off-key and in the comfort of your space.