Sunday Quotes: Self Care

self-care

Another slightly more wordy than usual Sunday post, but I felt that it’s an important topic right now that deserves more than just a quote.

In these challenging times, taking care of yourself has become more important than ever, both in terms of your physical as well as your mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Remember that the old adage of putting your own oxygen mask on first is true for a reason: you can’t help others unless you’re in good enough shape to do so.

What does self care mean during this pandemic? Beyond the obvious, such as trying to eat healthy and getting plenty of exercise and sleep, it may mean different things for different people. We all have varying approaches to relieving stress, and short of resorting to numbing the anxiety with behaviors that are detrimental, such as overeating, drinking and using drugs, I feel that you should do whatever works for you right now. I thought I’d share what self care looks like for me right now.

Morning routine

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve altered my morning routine to allow more time for quiet contemplation at the start of the day rather than rushing to the computer to check email and Facebook. Instead, I sit down in my living room with my first cup of coffee (after feeding Allegra, of course!) and just let my thoughts drift. I get up while it’s still dark out. The only light in my living room is a string of colored lights I’ve attached to a tall plant. The soft yet cheerful lights lift my spirit at that time of the morning without being harsh. Some mornings, Allegra will join me on my lap, purring away, others, she’s off doing her own thing. Either way, this time is precious to me.

Once I head into my office, I start responding to emails and blog and Facebook comments. Unlike normal times, when I address business emails first, I am allowing myself the time to respond to personal emails first. Right now, it’s more important to me than ever to connect with friends, especially since I can’t see my local friends in person.

After breakfast, before I go back to work, I meditate for five to 15 minutes. I normally don’t use guided meditations, but these aren’t normal times. I have found the Ease Coronavirus Anxiety meditation by Katie Krimitsos exceedingly helpful, and find myself going back to it every time I find my anxiety spiraling out of control. She also offers a Let Go of the Fear meditation specifically focused on letting go of fears around the coronavirus.

What I don’t do in the morning: I don’t check any news. Not TV, not online. I don’t want to start my day with fear and negativity. There’s time  for that later in the day.

Self care during the day

I allow myself more time than normal to get my work done. Everything just seems to take longer. I’ve heard the same thing from other writer friends: our brains are just not as sharp as they would be under normal circumstances. I think the collective energy of fear that is surrounding us right now takes a toll on our mental capacity. Plus, it takes so much brain power to just get through each day! At the end of each day, I’m exhausted, and I haven’t even accomplished all that much, unless you count sterilizing my  mail and my grocery deliveries an accomplishment.

I go for at least one long walk each day, no matter what the weather. My state is under a stay home order, but we’re allowed to go for walks as long as we maintain social distance from others. Thankfully, that’s easy to do in my suburban neighborhood with its wide streets. Getting out in fresh air is critical for my mental and physical health.

I try to schedule at least one video or phone call with a friend each day, some days, I do more than one. I’m an introvert, and under normal circumstances, there are plenty of weeks where I may not leave my house except to go for a walk for two or three days in a row, but under normal circumstances, I also have at least three or four lunches and dinners with friends scheduled every week. It’s been hard to not have that, and while video calls are not the same as in person contact, they help a lot.

I check the news mid-day, once a day. I don’t spend a lot of time and only visit one or two trusted sites. I never watch TV news. I really can’t stress this enough: limit your news intake!

After my mid-day news update, I do my daily Reiki self treatment.

I visit Facebook two or three times a day. That’s a bit of a mixed blessing. I love the connection with others, and the funny memes provide much needed relief. At the same time, it’s inevitable that I also see pandemic related posts, but I’m getting better at not clicking through unless it’s something from a reputable source that I’m really interested in.

Self care in the evening

I unplug from everything before I make my dinner. My desktop computer gets turned off, my phone put out of reach. After dinner, I usually watch something on Netflix or Prime. Right now, I’m making my way through all ten seasons of Friends*. I loved that show when it ran, and I’d forgotten how funny it was. It’s still making me laugh, and that’s so important right now. Most evenings, Allegra will join me on my lap at least for a few minutes. That’s also the time I miss Ruby the most. She used to be on my lap for the entire evening, each evening.

Thankfully, I have not had any trouble falling asleep once I go to bed. I think exhaustion takes over. The challenge comes in when I wake up an hour or so before I usually get up, and if I’m not careful, my mind will start racing, sending me into a tailspin of panic. I try to head that off by trying to visit one of my happy places in my mind as soon as I wake up at 2 or 3am. Some nights it’s a friend’s weekend house, other night’s, it’s a friend’s beach house. I mentally go through all the steps to get there: loading the car, the drive there, arriving, unpacking the car. Most of the time, I don’t get much beyond getting into the car before I drift off to sleep again.

How are you taking care of yourself during this difficult time?

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*The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.  

10 Comments on Sunday Quotes: Self Care

  1. Marie
    April 7, 2020 at 8:26 am (2 months ago)

    I love that so many here welcome community (feral) cats and wildlife into their family. We do, too. It is uplifting to read about such compassion and generosity.

    Reply
  2. Sue Brandes
    April 5, 2020 at 3:18 pm (2 months ago)

    Thank you Ingrid. Have a wonderful week.

    Reply
  3. Nancy
    April 5, 2020 at 3:10 pm (2 months ago)

    Like Lisa, I spend too much time on my computer and have an immense amount of emails piled up. I am working on that. I did just receive an email yesterday with videos of 7 train rides, mostly in Europe, which look fantastic and I am anxious to watch them as I am a train lover. My cats give me so much pleasure and I play with them with an interactive toy every night around the same time so they expect it. And I interact with them a lot all the time. Like you, Ingrid, I watch a show every night and I am currently working my way through Grey’s Anatomy which I absolutely love and never watched when I was young. I am nearing the end as I am on Season 15 (the show is currently on Season 16), so I may try Friends next as I never watched that either and laughter is so important. I watch very little TV but I tape the Chicago shows as I grew up in that area, and I enjoy watching those. I miss Curves and my friends there and lunches with other friends. I read and right now am in the middle of a great mystery, and I listen to music. I go for walks sometimes and exercise at home a bit. I talk on the phone with friends at times also and occasionally with a cousin or two but I don’t have family living anywhere near me. I am stocking up with a 2 week supply of groceries so I shop less often and this Tuesday will be my next trip. I will have to say I feel a bit apprehensive like someone else mentioned. I am not sure why as I have always shopped every week and enjoy it but in these strange times, I feel nervous. When the weather is nice, I do some work in my backyard and when it warms up, I will spend about a half hour each day reading in the sun. I feed the birds and squirrels out back as well and enjoy watching them. Like you, Ingrid, I am learning, for the most part, to calm my mind at night so I can get to sleep and I’m getting better at it.

    Reply
  4. Petra Harkins
    April 5, 2020 at 1:27 pm (2 months ago)

    Your comments on taking care of “ME” first are so true. I worry about my cat Sally, who would take care of her if something happened to me. Planning ahead makes all the difference in the world. It brings Peace and Joy, we have to learn to think positively. As a retired flight attendant I fully understand cover your nose and mouth first, then assist others. So true, ever so true. Thanks Jackson for all you do for so many of us going through this virus thing, our furry little friends feel it too, don’t think they don’t. Blessings to you and all your family, stay safe and well.

    Reply
  5. Janine
    April 5, 2020 at 7:41 am (2 months ago)

    My routines really haven’t changed at all except for the not leaving the house part. I have been getting bad anxiety when it comes to just leaving for grocery shopping. I make my husband go with me on weekends when he is off work because he helps me stay calmer. I like the advice you gave here. Thank you for sharing it with us! I even tried the meditation and it really did seem relaxing. I made my husband put the ipad down so he could do it too. But it cut off right as I was starting to relax. I need to download the app and try it again. I often wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning so I will try what you said about going some place in my mind.

    Reply
  6. Suzan
    April 5, 2020 at 7:32 am (2 months ago)

    I find great comfort in our cats, two indoor, Vanya and Valentine (11 yr old Siberian/Maine Coon litter mates) and one outdoor semi-converted feral, Jack, big black beauty that has lived on our deck for 5 years. Quiet time feeling them purr, seeing their peace and sense of enjoying the moment is highly therapeutic. At bedtime, I pray speaking quietly for our world and Valentine who sleeps by my side purrs along with me. Jack loves to be brushed, so time spent outdoors with him after a long walk in the woods is good for my body and soul as well as his.
    Painting also calms my thoughts and mind; a group that has been together for classes is sharing paintings through a group email organized by a wonderful artist and instructor.
    Since my husband is immune compromised, we are very conscious of the critical need to stay in, so I am the only one that takes care of the essentials we need limiting exposure to covid19 as best I can with mask, disposal gloves and social distancing whenever prescriptions or groceries are needed.
    Even though this feels like forever, we all need to keep telling ourselves it will not be forever and we will get through this.

    Reply
  7. Darlene
    April 5, 2020 at 6:59 am (2 months ago)

    My daily routine hasn’t really changed except can’t go to the gym which motivated me in the morning. I would go exercise 5am for 1 hr then I will go to my sister house too take care of her dog. When i wake up make the bed, spend at least an hour with my fur babies and too make sure my strays have food and water and make sure the raccoon is fed for if not he bothers the cats so he has his food and they have theirs.

    Reply
  8. Lisa Hornbeck
    April 5, 2020 at 6:03 am (2 months ago)

    I’m spending too much time on the computer :'( checking both US and German sites. I am training myself to cut back. I, too am following a guided meditation program (offered by Oprah and Deepak Chopra) and found it helps to calm the mind. Trying to do my yoga more religiously and keeping up routines around the house. I am actively taking short Vitamin D sunbaths daily and tending the garden also gives purpose and keeps my mind occupied. Daily walks with my husband has helped us both combat stress; yesterday we rode bikes for the first time this year. Kitties have always been a focul point, so not much change for them 😉 Husband has to work 2 times a week, otherwise is here, tele-working. It’s an adjustment for me. Happy that daughter is also staying with us (turns 20 this month!). Wish I could do more for my elderly parents, but they are almost an hour and a half (by car) away. Made a big grocery trip 8 days ago (and developed car trouble on the way home). Along with practicing kindness to everyone, staying hopeful and disconnecting more from the negativity in the net and news is my plan at the moment. That, and painting more (I have been in a slump)

    Reply
  9. Lisa Hornbeck
    April 5, 2020 at 5:53 am (2 months ago)

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