The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking an unprecedented amount of havoc in terms of both people’s health and economic instability. With something of this magnitude, there is collective sadness and anxiety felt by people throughout the world. It’s understandable that these feelings may be heightened in those who are isolated at home by themselves, away from friends and family. As of early April, 2020 nearly 95% of Americans were under stay-at-home orders. During this type of crisis, the importance of continuing a daily self-care routine can’t be overstated.
Large-scale traumatic events such as natural disasters or pandemics can be especially emotionally taxing due to the steady stream of information shared daily through television, radio, the Internet and social media. During such times, it’s important to pause each day and take stock of personal mood and emotions. Feelings of helplessness, anger, anxiety and sadness are common and can actually cause physical reactions such as increased blood pressure, headache, muscle pain and loss of sleep. When anxiety builds up to the point that it is difficult to concentrate and focus on daily activities, or if it results in feelings of hopelessness, it is important to stop everything and conduct some mental SOS. If you feel a bit off-balance emotionally, turn off the news and focus on getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercise and find the time to connect with others. If you feel overwhelmed at any time, speak with a medical professional.
Catch Some ZZZs
A good night’s sleep is always important, but it can be especially difficult to achieve during an anxiety-inducing time. Lack of sleep can exacerbate anxiety and depression, so follow good sleep hygiene guidelines in order to get the most out of your sleep. Stick to a consistent bedtime and unplug from electronics (television, tablet or phone) well in advance of getting into bed. Experiment with listening to relaxing music, reading a book or writing in a journal in order to create a sense of calm before turning off the lights.
Exercise can improve mental and emotional well-being, and it can also boost the immune system. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a number of health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, but a daily exercise routine can help combat these. Even during times of social distancing, exercise is still possible. Take a daily stroll outside, dance to your favorite music or tune into a virtual exercise class through a tablet, computer or smartphone.
During times when it’s not possible to get out and about, it can be easy to get lax about daily grooming habits. After all, why change out of pajamas when you are under stay at home orders? Well, from a mental health perspective, it’s important to continue on with your life as if you have places to go and people to see. Take showers, brush your hair and teeth and get dressed – it will make you feel better. Put on jewelry and makeup and accessorize your outfit, if that’s something you normally do. A little grooming can go a long way toward giving your spirit a boost.
Connect with Others Daily
Humans are naturally social creatures and crave the company of others. Make a point to have a human connection each day. This is possible even during times of social distancing. Video chat with a friend, talk with a neighbor from a safe distance or speak with a loved one over the phone. Connecting with others will help stave off feelings of loneliness and can be an instant mood booster.
Some Additional Recommendations for Daily Self-Care
In addition to the tips shared above, here are some other suggestions to add to your daily self-care regime:
- Eat a nutritious and well-balanced diet.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Meditate using breathing exercises or a mediation app.
- Write down three things you are grateful for each day.
- Watch a virtual service from your house of worship.
- Get comic relief by watching funny videos or connecting with a friend who has a good sense of humor.
At Lighthouse Senior Living, we understand that self-care is important at all times. Our diverse group of residents enjoy sharing experiences and building new friendships. Contact us to schedule a virtual tour to learn more about our caring staff, personalized wellness programs and comfortable environment.