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Approaches to Self-Care As We Gradually Emerge Out of Shelter-in-Place

We are heading in a direction where cities, counties, and states across the nation are thinking about how to gradually open up once again, while taking the proper precautions to curb the outbreak of COVID-19. All of the persistent unknowns and changes to our routine during this time naturally can take a toll on our mental health. This article will outline a few approaches to self-care to keep in mind, as we gradually emerge out of sheltering-in-place. Different areas are pursuing their own unique plans, but the underlying similarity in most cases is a phased and cautious approach to opening up.

Check in with yourself often.

Given the stark disruptions and changes to our everyday lifestyles, create time and space for yourself to check in and reflect on how you are feeling. Some questions to ask yourself or discuss with your loved ones include:

What has changed in your routine since COVID-19? Which change has caused you the greatest distress? Which change has possibly led to some form of relief or comfort, if any? How have you helped your community or loved ones during this time, or how can you begin doing this? As the country is beginning to open up, what are you most worried about and what are you looking forward to?

Shift your expectations of “normal”.

Pre-pandemic life may have been what we defined as “normal,” however, it is essential to let go of that expectation in order to best move forward. Use your experiences and your community’s experiences throughout the pandemic to create your own vision for post-pandemic life. Envision this as an opportunity for personal and community growth, shifting the status quo of “normal”. Channel the adversity you and your community have faced into pressing for an improved post-pandemic quality of life. Overall, letting go of the ominous label of “normal” will uplift your wellbeing, allow you to grow, and help you adapt better to the given circumstances.

Stick with positive elements of your routine.

To help yourself maintain some consistency, reflect on the positive elements––if any––of your new COVID-19 routine. This could be potentially realizing that you enjoy having more time and space to yourself to reflect, or enjoying a newfound connection you have made with nature and the outdoors, or really any small or big change that you have come to appreciate during this time.

Build a self-care foundation.

Regardless of external factors––whether COVID-19 or something else––come up with a few set elements of your own self-care. These can be flexible to your needs but can include: sleeping and waking up around the same time consistently, eating three meals per day, going outside at least once per day, checking in with a loved one at least once per day, and others that you set for yourself. This way, you can have full control over your self-care foundation.

Self-care is a very personal and unique experience, and it must be cultivated by the person who knows you best––you! Amidst these constant unknowns in our world, it is more important than ever to build your relationship with your own self-care. Learn what works best for you, check in with yourself often, and establish your own self-care foundation to apply and adapt to any situation you face.

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