As we find ourselves living an uncertain and challenging time, self-care has never been so important. Before the outbreak of COVID-19, self-care was something many of us pushed to the back burner. There would always be time for it tomorrow. For most, tomorrow never came. Now, as we are being asked to slow down and change the way we live, it seems that tomorrow may be today.
There are plenty of benefits to creating a self-care routine. Feeling better about yourself, living a more present life and focusing on your own goals are all important examples. Self-care is one of the best ways to stave off the physical and emotional impact of stress and worry.
When you experience a stressor in your life, big or small, your brain and body react with the fight or flight reflex. Your brain releases chemical messengers into your bloodstream. Your pulse and blood pressure quicken. While this is great if there is a real threat to you, it can be damaging to your mental and physical health if you experience it for an extended period of time.
This is where self-care plays an important role. By taking a little time every day to focus on your emotional well-being, you can start to change the way you react to stress. No matter how badly we would like to, it’s really hard to eliminate stress from our lives. Especially now, during this difficult time. Stress is a constant in most of our lives.
What we can change is the way we react to stress.
Daily self-care is a mechanism to do this. Let’s say you decide that 3 times a day you will perform a self-check-in. So each morning, afternoon and evening you will spend 2-3 minutes checking in with yourself and thinking about how you feel both physically and emotionally.
During these few minutes, you will think about any pain or discomfort you have, anything that has been silently nagging at your attention, anything that might be impacting your mood. By just taking notice of it you actually can start to change how you react to it. If you were to do this every day for 3-4 weeks you will quickly find that you become much more aware of when your body is reacting to stress and you will even start to reduce your body’s automatic stress response.
There has never been a better time to begin a self-care regimen. Stress is at an all-time high. People are dealing with everything from loss of loved ones to extreme loneliness and even the exacerbation of psychological disorders. Life isn’t easy. Since you can’t do anything to remove stress from your life, there is something you can do to change its impact on you.