We’ve heard the buzz term ‘self care’ countless times now on social and mainstream media. It’s been positioned as a bit of a selfishness where we actually take time to care for ourselves instead of everyone else around us. So, in all honesty, I kinda have an issue with that because taking care of yourself is actually self love and in face I believe it to be an act of selflessness, you’re taking the time to make sure you’re in the best place possible so that you can care for others.

Why is self care more important than ever? Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock (and by now, even those living under a rock will and/or have been found), we’re living in a pandemic that has shaken most of us to our core. Before this pandemic we were crazy busy, stressful lives full of work demands, family and societal demands, networking and volunteering organizations. A lot of us are used to being on the go non-stop, and that is stressful (whether we realize it or not). And now we’re faced with having to slow down, avoid social contact while being 100% stuck with our families in our homes, we can’t go attend our networking and volunteer events, we feel unproductive and THAT is now making us stressed because it’s different from the life we had before, and we’re not sure if we’ll ever get that back.

Now, one thing is certain. Things are going to stay the way they are for at least the next month. And that’s OK. We’re human, and in that case we need to adapt as we’ve done for thousands of years. If we refuse to adapt it’s only going to leave us more stressed than ever. And what people don’t realize is how detrimental stress (real or perceived) is to our health. At the end of the day, stress is stress. Your body literally cannot differentiate from the sources of your stress, seriously. And when we get stressed our hormones get out of whack and that can lead to a host of issues such as hormonal imbalance, autoimmune disease, depleted immune system, and chronic disease. So it’s important that we learn to not only check ourselves when we’re feeling stress, but we also need to incorporate self care in to our daily routines so that we can relieve stress as we go about our days. We owe it to ourselves, and right now we have no excuses for avoiding it. You can make the time (love you).

Here are my top 5 ways to self care

1. Skincare: Our skin is the largest organ in the body. It’s our first line of defense to the outside world, and it’s pretty sensitive! It quickly absorbs everything you expose it to, so I encourage you to research safe, high quality products to ensure you protect your health too! (I’m also always happy to help make recommendations too). But, implementing a skincare routine now, if you don’t already, is a wonderful way of getting you to take some time out of your day to relax and pamper yourself. Who doesn’t want clear and refreshed skin? We’re not getting out of the house anytime soon, so give your skin a break from makeup and let it breathe! Try incorporating a face mask a few times a week, or just get in to the routine of washing your face in the morning and in the evening. Your skin will thank you!

2. Exercise: We’re no longer walking from our cars to the office (which some people do claim as their exercise), but we need to take time to move our bodies. Not only is it beneficial for lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, and releasing endorphins that make you feel good, exercise is a foundational element of simply using your body for what it was made for- movement! There are SO many FREE resources available right now so that you can workout from home, you’ve probably seen a few on Facebook already. Everything from yoga, Orange Theory Fitness, cardio/kickboxing to weightlifting (if you have the equipment). I’ve personally been a Beachbody customer for years now because I prefer working out at home (introvert), and their online streaming service has been a great resource for me because for $100/year I have access to a library of workouts, every kind you can imagine, that I can access from anywhere. And it’s not like you need to workout for an hour or two a day, you can get a great workout in in 30 minutes or less. Let me know what you end up trying and tell me how you feel afterward! I promise you it’s worth it!

3. Cooking: I know some of you are thinking “I already cook and I don’t like it”, but hear me out. Do you truly enjoy what you’ve been cooking? Are you trained to know how to do it well? A lot of celebrity TV chefs are hosting free cooking demos on their social media pages right now, which is pretty cool. And there’s also a host of online resources that are available to you at any time if you would like to learn how to up your cooking game. You could learn new techniques and dishes, and turn cooking in to an activity that not only nourishes your body but also your soul. And if it’s not something you truly enjoy doing, consider telling yourself that you’re grateful for getting the opportunity to cook.

4. Rest: This can look different for a lot of people. But right now, it’s OK to slowdown. Everyone else is and nobody it better or worse than you are, so get over the comparison of watching Susan declutter and hand scrub every square inch of her house. Take the time to rest and recover, even if you didn’t have a crazy busy day. Take advantage of this time in our lives when you are literally being forced to do less. You will survive. There’s also lots of different ways you can ‘rest’ without it being sitting in front of the tv for hours or simply taking a nap. Find a quiet corner and read a book, enjoy a nice long bath, work on a jigsaw puzzle, color in a coloring book, listen to a podcast… rest doesn’t have to equate doing nothing, it just has to equate something that brings you peace.

5. Get outside: Vitamin D and fresh air does SOOOO much good for us! Not only does getting some sunshine help you produce Vitamin D in your body, but that Vitamin D helps produce serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that makes us happy. 🙂 15 minutes is all it takes to get our daily dose of Vitamin D too! Being outside is also a place where we can ground ourselves. Humans are meant to be in nature, so talking a walk or hike, or simply sitting outside and listening to the sounds of nature is incredibly soothing to the soul. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at any point (and if it’s warm enough), take your shoes off and walk through the grass. Doing this is a technique called grounding, and it’s incredibly effective at shifting the energy you feel in your body in response to the calming energy of nature.

So, can you incorporate some or all of these in to your daily/weekly routine? Remember, taking the time out of your day to do these things for yourself is NOT selfish. You absolutely deserve to feel calm, you deserve to feel rested, you deserve to feel GOOD. And making sure that your stress levels are in check, meaning that you’re feeling at ease and able to adapt to the situation at hand, will serve you beyond this time. You’ll be more prepared to deal with and adapt to stressful situations in the future, and overall I guarantee you’ll see an improvement in your health in both the near and long-term.