One of the most useful reminders that I came across in the midst of this anxious filled time is “It’s okay to not be okay”. There have been many days when I experienced waves of stress follows by worries due to the current outbreak of COVID-19. What I realized was the more I tried to act normal and adapt, the more frustrated I felt. This isn’t normal. The number of cases is increasing, social distancing is in place everywhere, and anxiety is at an all-time high. There is no need for me to pretend that things are okay, and by accepting that they’re not, is so much more cathartic. Here are some of my advice on how to taking care of yourself during your anxious time.
Whether it is walking around the neighborhood, following long workout videos on YouTube or quick exercises on TikTok, do your best to stay active. Keeping yourself active help to promote endorphins, the happy hormones to lift your mood.
Call a loved one
Who is your go-to person? It can be your parents, old friends from high school, your sorority sister, or your significant others. Whoever they are, remember they are only one call away. Having someone to talk to is comforting, we all deserve to be reminded that we are loved and cared for so don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
Cook your favorite recipe
We all have the go-to recipes that bring us comfort with a single bite. Mine happens to Bun Rieu, a noodle dish that I’ve been eating since I was a little girl living in Vietnam. Whatever that meal is, take the time to nourish yourself with good food. I also believe that food is a great gateway to pour our loves into, so as you are cooking, try to imagine the smile on your face after the first bite. Now remember to give the appreciation and thank yourself for the time that you spent making a meal to nourish your body.
Meditation comes in many different forms, it can be sitting in silence, cooking in the kitchen, reading a book or cleaning your room. Find the time to get in touch with our thoughts and synchronizing your breath. We may find ourselves shifting between thoughts, positive or negative, and we have to remember that they are only thoughts. If they are negative thoughts, we should acknowledge them and let them go.
Cuddle your pet
My dogs have been keeping me company for the past several weeks. They are always so loving and sweet every time I’m feeling down. I love their positive energy no matter how difficult things may be. I recently brought home a puppy, so taking care of her and training her have been so rewarding.
Binge on your favorite show
Sometimes you don’t even need to do anything but just let your mind turn off and tune into your favorite shows. Whether it be Netflix, Hulu or even YouTube, lay back and relax.
Clean your living space
Self-care days are days when I work up the courage to do the uncomfortable to help myself feel more comfortable. These things include deep cleaning my living space and uncluttering my closet of all the things I’ve accumulated over the years. Our living space tends to be a reflection of our mental space, we tend to hold on to things that are no longer useful to us. Things that had meanings in the past, but we no longer used anymore. I find Marie Kondo‘s method of decluttering and letting go without feeling guilts to be so helpful. Put on your favorite playlist, podcasts or books and start cleaning.
Cry it out
Repeat after me, crying is therapeutic and crying is okay! I don’t understand why it is okay for women to cry but not for men. Everyone should be able to express their emotions in any way they want, and crying should be acceptable without the stigma. Heck, I used to be so afraid of crying that I always try to suppress my emotions to avoid the water work. When I was younger, I would only cry in the shower so the hot water can soothe my sore eyes after (efficient crying).
Writing my streams of thoughts into my journey is my version of ranting to a friend. A nonjudgemental friend who will listens and allows us to air our frustration. If you find yourself writing paragraphs after paragraphs, I recommend to try and capture your thoughts in one sentence at a time. I actually learned this method from one of my favorite transformational coaches for stress, Susan Choi, on saving us the pain of going endless loops with our thoughts. Skip the flowery words, and get straight to the point. This will help us move faster towards releasing our feelings rather than constantly thinking through the same thoughts.
There is a new normal now and instead of letting ourselves feel stuck, we are better off adapting to the present situation. So now that we have established honesty within ourselves, we can move towards checking in with our mind and body. I hope that you find these tips helpful, please share your own advice below, stay safe!