Self-care is about taking care of you.
Psychologists define self-care as any activity we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. In these times of great stress from the pandemic, the massive amounts of disinformation, and the reality of seeing a mob riot inside the capital; we need to take care of ourselves more than ever.
Politics has provided more angst this year than usual. Many of us have lived through the changes from one political party being in power to the other, but the claims by the losing party are more outrageous than ever. This has been the election of disinformation through social media, extremism taken to the extreme, and the losing party thinking the world is ending. I can attest to the fact that despite losing the election and disliking the values of the other party, life will go on. I have lived through several of these transitions.
The State of Mental Health in America
As the pandemic continues, those that get covid are likely to develop mental health issues. It frustrates our frontline workers. They can only comfort, seldom cure. Many of the infected die. This will no doubt result in mental health issues in the future. Mental health America released its annual findings. 19% of Americans of people in the United States are living with mental health issues. This increase and coming increases are being fueled by loneliness and isolation related to the pandemic. There are alarming increases in the number of children being affected.
10 Ways to practice Self-Care
Learn to sift through the disinformation to find out the facts. –
One of the most interesting things today is that we no longer seem to take the time to find out the facts. One kind of fact is one that you have checked. We consider something we want to believe to be a second fact. So, if you want to believe what someone is telling you, no matter how outrageous, you may treat that information as fact. What we believe or want to believe may not be fact.
Stay connected with others. –
Staying connected with others through telephones, computer applications, and good old letters is good for your mental health and theirs. The service group I am a part of sent 9000-holiday cards to those shut in at nursing homes in our area. This is a time to rebuild lost relationships. Find an old friend on the internet and get in touch.
Get outside as often as you can. –
Getting out of your house or apartment will uplift you. Even if you only go out and sit on the wall in the sunshine. Take a walk, ride a bike, play with the dog. Getting outside will help.
Find a quiet place and sit down, close your eyes, and breathe. Let your mind relax. Start with just a few minutes a day, then you can increase the quiet time. Just sitting and purposely breathing in and out for a couple of minutes will help you relax.
Be Mindful. –
Being mindful is about being the present. Being aware of what is around you. Listening when you are talking to someone.
Eat Better. –
If we eat better, we will feel better. We should eat more fruits and vegetables and if you can, do it. Berries boost brain health, and heaven knows during these times we need healthy brains.
Read Uplifting books.-
One book that I found highly relevant during these seemingly hopeless times is “The Gift” by Edith Eger. It puts the troubles we are having into a fresh perspective. The enormity of them pales in comparison to what she lived through.
Get enough sleep. –
We all know that if we don’t get enough sleep, we have difficulty handling the things that arise the next day. Try going to sleep at different times and find your best level of sleep.
Identify what is worrying you. –
Our minds manufacture things to worry about. The good news is most aren’t real and don’t come to pass. Identify the real ones and study the causes. If you can change them, go for it, if you can’t, forget it. We can only change some things. We can’t stop the pandemic by ourselves, but we can help by wearing our masks and keeping our distance from others.
Learn about thinking. –
Most of us have a lot to learn about thinking and controlling our minds. We have to learn to focus and ask poignant questions. Why do I believe this? What is it based on? Should I forward a note that may contain disinformation? Do I know for myself that it is real? If I forward this, will it hurt someone’s feelings? Does it contribute to building up or tearing down?
“It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there’s nothing you can do about them, and why worry about things you do control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized.”- Wayne Dyer.
“With every act of self-care your authentic self gets stronger, and the critical, fearful mind gets weaker. Every act of self-care is a powerful declaration: I am on my side, I am on my side, each day I am more and more on my own side.”- Susan Weiss Berry.