Why Self-Care is Not Selfish
Everyone who has ever travelled on an airplane knows that if the airbags deploy, you are to put your own mask on first before you try to assist others. This makes survival sense in that you cannot assist a child or other individual needing help if you pass out first! The same reasoning applies to this bizarre time in history when we are sheltering at home to combat a global pandemic. Many ask, what can I do to keep from going crazy? How can I help? Well, in order to help elsewhere, you have to be sure to take care of yourself first.
There’s a lot of advice out there on things to do to occupy yourself at home or ways that you may be able to assist people battling the virus on the front lines. Thankfully, since we are connected through online means, we can take classes, connect with family, send payments, order supplies, and even take virtual tours of museums and places of interest. However, it’s not enough to just stay busy. People are experiencing problems concentrating, are suffering interrupted sleep, and other anxiety-related issues. It’s because being occupied or “entertained” is not enough. Something is missing. And that something is likely doing something meaningful while you’re at home.
Start With the Basics
Like the airbag, you can not help anyone else unless you are taking care of yourself. Not surprisingly, a lot of people have” let go of certain norms” while home alone day in and day out. I don’t want to post an pictures to illustrate this point! I suggest you establish a baseline and observe basic routines like (I’m not kidding):
- get dressed every morning in clean clothes; sweatpants can count
- make your bed
- comb your hair or apply make-up (if that’s normal for you)
- prepare three meals and don’t just graze in the refrigerator
- avoid alcohol altogether or at least before noon
In other words, don’t let yourself go. In addition, pay attention to other sensible advice such as take your temperature each day, get outside for some exercise if possible, read or meditate on an uplifting message, and reach out to communicate with another human being (safely).
How We Can Equip Ourselves to Help Others
We need to feel good in order to be able to contribute to others and the world, It is not selfish to take time for yourself. I bet many of you with pets or children spend more time, money, and energy on everyone else ahead of yourself. Your horse has probably been fitted with new orthopedic shoes six times while you’re still wearing broken down sneakers. Your cat probably has an expensive special diet food but you’re eating Raman Noodles for lunch. You get the idea. Invest in yourself (at least a little bit).
Two Ideas to Try: Pamper Self, Do Good for Others
Spa Day at Home
If you’re like me, there are a lot of bath salts and face mask jars and foot scrubs and the like cluttering the bathroom drawers and cabinets that I have never used. Usually, these are gifts that I think are quite nice but then put away and never use because I don’t have time for a soak in the tub or for letting mud dry on my face. Now we have nothing but time! Dig out some of these and give yourself a spa treatment. Fill the tub, light a candle, have a glass of wine and soak with your face smeared with goop. Enjoy!
A Gift of Family History for Loved Ones
This is the perfect time to capture family memories to share. Do you know anything about your family history? Ancestry is offering great deals to get started researching your roots. Do you have boxes of old photos or letters? It makes sense to preserve them now in digital form for future generations. How about your grandmother’s recipe box? All those handwritten gems could be scanned and compiled into a recipe file your could share. Another great idea is to interview aging relatives and get their personal stories and capture their moments in history. Our lives now feel precarious and vulnerable. Don’t miss an opportunity to reach out to a relative, re-connect, and document the minutia of precious life experiences.
The fun thing is, many of these projects can be put into book form and shared with family or to give as gifts. Imagine how it would delight a grandparent to receive a little book of memory snippets, photos, and maybe a special keepsake? Easy to use graphic platforms like Canva and others could take your cherished family recipes along with a few food modeling pictures, add personal insights on the various dishes and voila! a family recipe book to share. You could conduct interviews of a grandparent and put it together with old photos from their life and make a wonderful memory book using Shutterfly or Snapfish to give as a gift to them or to grandchildren. You are only limited by your imagination!
Do You Have Ideas to Share?
I’d like to post an idea for pampering yourself and for giving to others every few weeks. Do you have any good ideas to share? How have you been coping with the COVID-19 shelter at home mandate? Have you found ways of helping or giving back to the community. Please let us know!