This is a topic I’ve spoken and have written about many times the past two years since I started this blog – it’s almost been two years – can you believe that? But I feel it’s really important to bring up again especially right now.
Like thousands of others, I’ve been stalking social media and youtube for election results and I know this is not a healthy practice. It’s been a nail biting few days as the world watches with baited breath for the election results. Even though I’m not American, the results will have an effect on all of us.
I headed to Twitter this morning and saw so many of my new friends are struggling right now. The world is tense and times are troubled right now. We’ve got COVID, the possibility of another lockdown, people are out of work, more layoffs are coming just to name a few things going on. I won’t even get into the riots and violence happening across the world.
That’s not the point of this post.
And like my friends on Twitter who are facing hard times, I am here to remind them – and my readers – and myself – that selfcare during these troubled times is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves.
So, what is selfcare? And how can you take care of yourself when you have a full time job, or two jobs, or a family to take care of? That’s a really good question. And today, I’ll share some things I’ve learned with you.
Social media breaks
I’m bad for this one but I’m getting better at taking daily social media breaks. Even if it’s for a couple of hours – or for an entire evening. As a musician, I rely on social media to promote my material and need to check my accounts often. But as an individual, a person – I find myself spending too much time arguing about politics or even tv shows I love on reddit.
What I’ve started doing is just tuning out the world for a few hours daily. Whether I play Minecraft and blow things up for a bit, or I listen to music and create playlists, or I spend some time on the condo cleaning, cooking or organizing. Anything I can do to keep my hands and brain busy – helps keep my mind off things happening online.
Find a creative outlet
Other than my six months of therapy this past year to deal with work stress and anxiety, I often rely on my creative outlets to express my thoughts. While my piano is in storage for my annual music break – I have found that using creativity is a great way to get my feelings or thoughts out there.
A lot of people I talked to during the lockdown earlier this year, used their time to learn new skills. Many picked up instruments they hadn’t touched in years and polished up their skills.
My uncle Art played the guitar for us yesterday during a zoom call. Turns out he learned how to play classic country songs during the isolation and is a pretty good singer too. He said it was something to keep his hands busy and he really got into it.
But what if you’re not a musician or don’t want to play music? Well, that’s okay too. There are lots of ways to be creative:
- Start a personal blog or journal and write every day – this helps me clear out my thoughts as you all know. Or write that novel or memoir you’ve been wanting to write for years.
- Get crafting – work with your hands, learn a new craft like beading or jewelry making, scrapbooking, or take a shop class or woodworking class
- Photography – this is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise. Take your phone or camera, go for a walk in nature – just start taking photos of the beautiful scenery.
- Cooking – cooking for me is therapeutic. There’s something soothing about chopping vegetables. I need to do more of this!
- Art projects – take up drawing, sketching or learn to paint. There are lots of videos and tutorials online on youtube or sites like Skillshare
Now is the time to learn new skills or boost up on skills you haven’t used in a long time. I find that writing and music are very cathartic for me and that’s why I write here often in this blog.
Music as Meditation
There are a lot of great meditation music videos out there. Youtube has millions of them. I love using music for meditation. I can get lost for hours creating playlists on Spotify like this one. I have playlists for every mood.
But if you’re looking for something to help you relax or even sleep, then this channel is for you. Check out The Honest Guys on youtube. They have guided meditations that can help you practice breathing techniques, to sleep better or just to relax.
Exercise and Fresh Air
I know I feel better when I exercise. You don’t need to hit the gym or run a marathon to feel the benefits of exercise. Go for a walk. Hit the pool and go for a swim. Climb the stairs. Grab a friend and wander out to your local nature trails. Join a spin class. Try out for a team for your favorite sport like baseball, hockey, or even handball! Take a dance or zumba class. Join a yoga tribe. The possibilities are endless.
The key here is finding something fun and that you enjoy.
Getting a bit of that natural vitamin D by being outside can do wonders for the mental health. Even a short ten minute walk around your block can boost your mood.
Regular exercise is great for overall health and fitness – read more about my fitness tips over on my fitness page.
Take care of yourself.
Selfcare is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Even if you just take TEN minutes a day to go for a walk or listen to a meditation video. Remember to look after you. And if you need more help from your family or friends, reach out to them. Enjoy a zoom chat. Grab your masks and go out for a coffee outdoors.
Just please be safe and take COVID precautions.