“How are you doing?” Have you asked that question to family or friends lately via phone, text or Zoom? Several weeks into a “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” situation have you asked that question of yourself? How are you doing?
In the previous post we discussed ways in which you can respond positively to the daily changing landscape COVID-19 has provided for us. As a mental health specialist, I want to make sure your response is a positive one for you! In this blog series we will look at responses geared to help you take care of you–body, mind and soul.
A population of ancient Greeks called Gnostics held tight to a belief called dualism. In a nutshell, they believed anything to do with the body was considered bad or evil. Only the spirit was good. In order to exalt the spiritual life, they degraded the physical one. Now, we understand that the human experience is so much more than merely a dualism. In this era of pandemic, are you treating your body as you should?
Take a moment and ask yourself in what ways you can take care of your body during this time social distancing. Maybe start with these questions:
• Are you eating balanced meals?
• Are you getting enough sleep?
• Are you taking time to exercise?
• Are you keeping a routine in place?
During this time of unusual cessation from activity, restriction from travel, limited grocery supplies, and days that blur together—now more than ever it is important to take care of you, your actual body. Continue handwashing and social distancing of course, but also make a salad, go to bed on time, take a walk, and keep routines that shape your day. These small kindnesses fuel the body to fight off germs, improve your attitude and keep your immune system working!
If you are doing all of the above, but still feel worn down then it may be time to add variety to your day. Can you make a different smoothie recipe (based on the produce you can actually find in the grocery store) to provide the nutrients you need? Do you have a favorite pair of pajamas or sheets? Or maybe a super-soft blanket you received as a Christmas gift? Bring those things out and add them to your bedtime routine to help lull you into a deeper sleep. Are you tired of walking the dog? Then check out an exercise video online that you have never attempted before. Yoga? Yoga has the added benefits of decreasing anxiety symptoms! Are you tired of the wash, rinse, repeat pattern of the days of self-isolation or quarantine? While a routine can be very stabilizing, it may need a slight alteration to boost your spirits. Maybe start the day with a hot bath instead of a quick shower. Make breakfast for dinner. Make time for a phone call with a friend. Schedule in fifteen minutes to do whatever makes you happy. Feel free to mix things up while keeping a pattern in the day. Be creative as you think about ways you can care for your actual physical, flesh and blood self.
Take some time to ask yourself, “How are you doing?” Then listen carefully, the answer is probably right there just waiting to be heard.