Taking Care of Your Mental Health: How to Reduce Stress and Practice Self Care at Home
Things might be feeling a little surreal right now as you adjust to social distancing, working from home and self-quarantining. We are officially in the midst of a global pandemic due to coronavirus, and everyone is feeling the effects. It’s normal to feel uncertain and anxious about this unexpected turn of events, but remember to take a step back and use this opportunity to re-examine your wellness routine and what you do to keep yourself grounded. As a naturopathic doctor, I recommend focusing on what you can personally do to support your physical and mental health; the benefits of this will radiate beyond you, through your family, community and beyond. Here are four habits you can do to up your self-care game.
1. Stay Active
Staying physically active is a good way to pass the time and get your heart rate up. You don’t need any fancy equipment, just your body and a space inside your house you can dedicate to exercise. Exercises such as planks, push ups or crunches can easily be performed at home and don’t require lots of space. Aim to perform 10-15 of whatever exercise you choose and rest after each set. Repeat for at least 5 sets. Make a game out of it by tagging your friends and challenging them to do the same on social media! You can also follow along to at home workouts online. Dedicate some time to stretch afterwards as well.
2. Take Care of Your Skin
Find comfort in taking care of your skin and enjoy a pampering skin care routine. With all this time spent indoors, your skin won’t accumulate pore-clogging dirt and pollutants, and might naturally look better. Start that 10-step Korean skin care routine you haven’t had the time to do, or raid your pantry to see what DIY face mask treatments you can make. Thayers has some great natural complex skincare recipes that incorporate their facial toners and other simple ingredients as well. If you haven’t yet incorporated a witch hazel toner or astringent in your skincare routine and are unsure of which one you should use, you can always take a product suggestion quiz on the Thayers website as well.
3. Take Time to Reflect
It’s normal to feel anxious right now and mindlessly scrolling on your phone and focusing on the news will make you feel worse. Be mindful of your social media consumption and limit your news intake. Instead of giving into the fear surrounding the pandemic, take time to practice mindfulness, or channel your energy into journaling your thoughts. Meditation is a great way to focus on your breath and away from your racing thoughts. Do breath-focused meditation each day; when you feel your attention drifting, quietly direct it back to your breathing. You should feel calmer and more detached after at least three to five minutes of this. Do more if you can. If meditating isn’t for you, pick up a pen and do some free form writing; write down all the thoughts and emotions you might be feeling in the moment and document each day. This kind of self-expression is a release valve and can help you feel less burdened. Journaling can be a great way to practice gratitude so write down five things you are grateful for. Feeling gratitude has been shown to increase feelings of well-being and happiness, even in times of great stress.
4. Stay Organized
Take this time to do some cleaning up or organizing around the house. It’s a great way to de-stress as it helps us gain control of our environment. Especially during this time when things outside feel so unpredictable, focusing on the space inside your house will make you feel more at ease. Organize your pantry shelf, do some laundry, or pick up any clutter laying around your house. If the idea of cleaning or organizing isn’t high on your list of “self care” priorities, set aside a timer of 10 mins to dedicate to cleaning up your space. You might find that once you get started, you’ll end up cleaning for a lot longer!
Finally, stay informed, but don’t let fear and anxiety take over. Stay calm, and listen to the public health experts. Practice good hygiene and take care of your mental health. Use your friends and family during this time as a support network if you feel overwhelmed. Remember that we are really all in this together, and we will get through this as a community. From everyone at Thayers Natural Remedies, stay safe!
By Dr. Maura Henninger, Licensed and Board-Certified Naturopathic Physician. For more information on Dr. Maura, please visit drmaura.com