Written by: Lauri Doepke, MS, LPC, NCC
Now more than ever, it’s important to take care of yourself. It’s not selfish to “fill your energy cup” before you fill that of others. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The better you care for yourself, the more energy, patience, and compassion you’ll have for others.
Tips for self-care include, but are not limited to:
- Eat a properly balanced diet– seek to maintain a diet that is high in vitamins and nutrients and low in processed sugars. Healthier food options such as vegetables, meats, and dairy are often found in the outer perimeter of all grocery stores. Check out this article by Johns Hopkins on tips for healthy grocery shopping.
- Maintain a regular sleep routine – when we’re under high stress, especially for extended periods of time, it’s not uncommon for sleep cycles to become disrupted. It’s best to try to maintain a regular routine of standard bed and awake times. As you work to regulate an off-balance sleep routine, make it a point to get adequate rest; taking time to lay still allows your body and mind to rejuvenate. Other sleep hygiene techniques can be found at the following websites: CDC, The Sleep Foundation, and The Division for Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
- Keep up with or begin exercising – if you’re new to exercise, begin with manageable goals and build from there. If your used to a regular exercise regimen, consider trying something new, push yourself a bit harder, plan you’re exercise times weekly as a way to hold yourself accountable to follow through. Remember that any exercise should be conducted at your current level of fitness. Check out these tips for beginning a fitness regimen from Mayo Clinic or if you’re already a regimented fitness fanatic, check out these free at home workouts on Fitness Blender.
- Talk about and express your feelings – Keeping thoughts and feelings in and not expressing them often leads to unhealthy results. Stuffing emotion can result in symptoms of anxiety, depression, heightened stress, irritability, and troubled relationships. It can also result in a drinking, drugging, or other unhealthy problematic behaviors. If you’re having difficulty identifying and/or expressing your emotions, check out this article with tips on how to express emotion.
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol and avoid illegal substances/drugs – alcohol and drugs are a way of masking stress and sometimes used as a means to avoid coping with reality. They may make you feel good temporarily, but you can’t run from reality. Working from home with no social outlets during this pandemic puts many at risk of developing a drinking problem. If you have concerns, talk frankly with the person you’re concerned about. Set ground rules for yourself (i.e. not drinking alone, setting a drink limit, certainly not drinking during work hours). If you need support, AA is accessible through online meetings at the following link.
- Look for humor – Humor can be a coping skill. We should look to have a good chuckle in situations wherever you can. Follow the basic rules of keeping humor in good taste, and know your audience! Check out this article on coping through humor.
- Identify viable resources/support systems – Remember to use your support system. Part of our self-care is to utilize the supportive people in our lives as people to vent to, a shoulder to cry on (even if it’s by skype), or someone to laugh with. If you’re in need to resource assistance, check out the 2-1-1 website which offers information on a variety of resources. The Wausau Area Coronavirus Needs Connection is also an excellent resource where community members are working together to help connect one another. You can follow them on Facebook.
I hope you found these tips helpful! Check out some of the links in this article to get started with various self-care resources. Check out The Behavioral Health Clinic of Wausau website for helpful blogs at https://www.bhcwausau.com/blog/ and follow us on Facebook where you can see a variety of vlogs under the video section.
If looking for additional support for self-care or other concerns, we are currently offering services via telehealth counseling. Many insurance companies are covering online services with the same benefits as if you were to come into the clinic. Worried that telehealth may not be for you? We recently posted an article about the Benefits of Telehealth which will help to clarify your concerns. Still not sure? Inquire with us and we will help to ease your uncertainty about the telehealth process.
Take care! Self-care!
Lauri Doepke, MS, LC, NCC