Everyone gets stressed at times, and unfortunately, the past year and a half has brought an extra significant stressor to us in COVID 19. It is very easy to get caught up in all of the responsibilities and daily tasks that have to be done each day. However, when those things start to build up, it can become overwhelming.
There is often a misconception that it is best to just push through and get everything done while pushing self-care to the side. People often push self-care to the side due to focusing on all the things that need to be done for the kids, their spouse, at work, at home, etc.
The problem with putting self-care to the side is that oftentimes the stress begins to build up which can then lead to people becoming overly stressed, becoming more irritable, having an increase in mental health symptoms, etc. It is important to remember that in order to be able to be able to take care of others we also have to be taking care of ourselves, which includes self-care.
Some ideas for self-care: going on a walk, taking a bath, reading a book, listening to music/watching television that is not geared around kids, going on a drive alone, writing in a journal, going to lunch with a friend, going on a date with your spouse/significant other, getting good sleep, eating nutritious meals, exercise, going on a drive by yourself, getting a massage, getting your nails done, going on a hike, etc.
In regards to self-care, it is imperative to make sure you are doing things you enjoy. For example, if someone feels most comfortable being outside then their self-care may include going to the park. However, if someone does not enjoy being in the heat their self-care may be reading, etc. Self-care does not have to be something that takes long periods of time. Sometimes people may treat their ride to work as part of their self-care time or taking a bath as part of their self-care time. When people are busy and caring for others that self-care time often seems limited so it is often about acknowledging those little times that you have during the day that can then add up. Even being able to acknowledge the small things we are able to do for self-care can help decrease mental health symptoms.
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By MedLink Georgia Provider:
Savannah Smith, LCSW