"Sum 2020 up in one word and it would probably be "caution." During the COVID-19 pandemic, we"re cautious about where we go, who we see, and how we interact. So much so that we"ve pretty much stopped doing all three. But caution, by definition, originates from two root words. It means both guard against AND take care. We"ve learned to guard against many things but in doing so often forget to take care of ourselves along the way.
An easy fix involves dedicating time on a regular basis to self-care. One Harvard physician described self-care as "paying attention to and supporting one"s own physical and mental health." But, she admits "it"s also one of the first things to fall by the wayside in times of stress, especially for those who are primary caregivers. This includes parents, people caring for elderly relatives, healthcare providers, and first responders. These are the people who often put the well-being of others above themselvesWhen we don"t take care of ourselves, no one wins."
Not to be confused with self-improvement, which is adding accomplishments to your skillset or starting a new hobby, self-care doesn"t focus on completing a task or reaching a goal. Self-care means doing little thingsadjusting diet, exercise, and sleep patterns for exampleto keep your whole body, mind, and spirit working smoothly and efficiently.
And boy, do we need it. Psychology Today warns that during times of stress "Our brains go into fight-or-flight mode and our perspective narrows. We don"t see we have optionsoptions for coping with stress and making ourselves feel better. We"re so busy trying to solve problems that we"re stuck in "doing mode"trying to get more and more donewhen switching to "being mode" may be just the break we need."
To combat this, there are plenty of easy, inexpensive (or free!) things which count as self-care. Things like taking a stroll outside, enjoying a hot bath, walking barefoot in the grass, listening to your favorite music, or snuggling with your pets.
For those who feel a greater need or suffer from ongoing medical issues, speak with your primary care physician about adding complementary and alternative medicine options to your self-care regimen. These include working with skilled practitioners like chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, and massage therapists."
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