I’m gonna get on with it and say: You’ve probably read or seen a lot of self-care articles throughout this whole pandemic, and I’m also here to say…same. But just like the most mundane tasks, something as essential as self-care is often overlooked and neglected so I’m here to remind you: don’t.
Find a routine that keeps you in check
With a hectic schedule that keeps piling up, it’s easy to neglect your daily regimen that you’ve worked so hard to perfect. I, for one, often forget to drink water and tend to skip meals if not opt for less nutritious yet more convenient meals such as instant noodles during hectic days. If doing the bare minimum is tough then, think about additional self-care steps such as exfoliating and putting on your night creams and essential oils. This is not about vanity but showing extra care for your body. I’m a firm believer that one’s physical health greatly affects their mentality and vice versa; hence, prioritizing wellness should include mental, emotional and physical care. Some may see this as being nitpicky but when it comes to feeling good paying a little more attention to self care will never be a bad thing. Find a routine that works for you because convincing yourself that you’ll get yourself back on track after all the chaos is neglecting the fact that these stressful weeks never truly end but return eventually. As someone who learned to break away from that mentality, I was able to work on a regimen that helps keep me in check even when the hell week creeps in.
Stimulate your mind with something other than work
During days of relentless stressing, I like to take a mental break and take my mind off of work and on to something that I enjoy (ehem, this is not work slander, boss). A mental break does not always mean limiting mental challenges but can be shifting to a stimulation that doesn’t cause negative stress but eustress; a beneficial kind of stress. My favorite kind of eustress? Reading and learning. When was the last time you read a book or inspired your mind with information other than academic or work-related readings? I don’t like to limit myself to heavy readings such as novels and nonfiction books but enjoy delving into other sources of literary stimulation such as poem books, online articles and even manga and webtoons. (Of course, films and videos work just as well.) Both fun and educational in their own ways, reading up and learning about various interests and topics are a special form of self-care as they help us broaden our horizons and reach new realizations which then helps us make the necessary evaluations to improve ourselves and our lives.
Set boundaries and time for yourself
Self-care comes in many forms. Some people believe that constantly pushing themselves to put things out there is the best way to a successful life but that’s not always the case. I am a firm believer that self-care is best executed with balance; it’s doing both the things we want to do and the things we don’t want to do but need to do. Go ahead and grind on weekdays but give yourself a break during weekends. With everything happening online, it seems like the time between work (or school) and rest has become significantly blurred, and I can attest to that as my mind is constantly bombarded with thoughts of work that leaves me feeling work anxious even when my shift has already ended for the day. That being said, set boundaries and know when to pack it up and rest. Being stuck at home with limited stimulation makes being sucked into a timeless void of work so easy, and we rarely ever notice it. Go out and get some fresh air as you treat yourself to a (safe) spa day or a new hairstyle to break the monotony of your work from home environment.
Reconnect and recharge with photography
One thing I’ve discovered recently is the power of photography in self-care. “If you want to know what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph.” I’ve found that taking photos of myself and commemorating whatever little celebrations and memories on my ‘Gram helped me get through slumps as I am reminded of the many reasons to smile. Both the photos and the interaction I get from posting them (a big shout out to my friends and family who serve as my hype men) serve as stress relievers as I get this feeling of reconnection after days of working in isolation. Photography has a special way of eliciting emotions because they serve as tangible evidence of memories and people we love. That being said, put up a photowall, frame some photographs or use them to decorate your phone case as a constant reminder of the good things in life. Surrounding yourself with positive energy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and photography projects are the way to go.
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