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#stayhomestayhopeful - A Time for Self-Care

April 10, 2020

By Saidat Kashimawo-Akande, MD, HopeWay Psychiatrist

During these unprecedented times in which we are being asked to shelter at home, be it alone or with others in the “family unit,” it can feel both daunting and unsettling.

However, there is a silver lining: this can be a valuable opportunity to press the emotional reset button and cultivate self-care and self-compassion practices. Take the time to consider how you move through your day and perhaps incorporate more intention.

Here are a few ways you can practice self-care each day during coronavirus and beyond:

  • Be patient with yourself
  • Embrace, when possible, music or nature sounds that resonate with you
  • Keep your work space bright, possibly near a window, organized and uncluttered
  • Stay informed of local and national events but avoid saturation with news updates
  • Make motion a priority - take a walk, run, dance, stretch
  • Take time to be reflective - brew a cup of ginger tea, enjoy the aroma, sit in a cozy chair and be still with your thoughts
  • Utilize aromatherapy scents in a diffuser - consider lavender (for stress/insomnia), eucalyptus oil or lemongrass (for relaxation), or peppermint (for rejuvenating your senses)

 

Morning Self-Care Routine

In the mornings create a calming routine.

Start each day with a mind and body scan before even getting out of bed.

This can offer you the opportunity to set the tone for the rest of your day. In the mornings our minds are fresh and more flexible. The thoughts we start with can set the tenor for our day. Take time for a head-to-toe body scan, in which you allow yourself the opportunity to progressively tense and relax each muscle group along the way. Take in the feeling of calm you experience; you can reconnect to that feeling of calm periodically through the day when you feel the need for re-centering.

Take an inventory of how you are feeling.

Do you feel rested, tense, at ease, caught up rehearsing the coming day, or recalling a dream? Be sensitive to these first thoughts as they can signal issues you need to explore with greater care and attention. 

Reflect on what you're grateful for.

Reflect on your previous day and think positively about your upcoming plans for the new day.

Be intentional with your thoughts. Envision your day and how you want it to proceed. Consider any difficult tasks you have planned for the day calmly and with a smile.

The act of smiling can stimulate our brain in a positive way and promote optimism. Optimism allows us to move forward with more confidence, clarity and ease.

Commit to focus more on your effort (your best self) with each task, and less on the incremental progress of the task.

Take notice if you shift away from that focus and if you move toward harsh self-appraisal. Be kind to yourself and refocus on your current effort at hand.

 

Evening Self-Care Routine

Create an agenda.

Take a moment each evening to create an agenda for the next day along with a calming, nightly ritual that allows your mind to slowly unwind.

Here are a few tasks you can do in the evening to practice self-care:

  • A warm bath
  • A cup of warm herbal tea such as chamomile (can be calming and promote sleep)
  • Foot massage with lavender oil (can help relieve stress)
  • Facial massage with jojoba or argan oil

 

Self-compassion takes time but with practice can become second nature. You are well worth the time.

 

Learn More About HopeWay

 

Editor’s note: This blog post is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person.