Practice Self-Care During the Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all been stuck in the house, consuming new information, working from home, while also taking care of our loved ones. We have been practicing “social distancing” and staying indoors. This can take a toll on our mental health and it is important that we stop and take some time each day to practice self-care. 

image-from-rawpixel-id-2302332-originalWhat is Self Care? 

Self-care is an activity or practice that we do purposely to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. It is time we take for ourselves to recharge and feel good. By practicing self-care you choose a simple activity that makes you feel good and incorporate it into your daily or weekly routine. One way to practice self-care is to write it in a calendar and also tell others to help increase your commitment. An increase in self-care activities has been seen to improve one’s mood as well as reduce stress and anxiety. It also has positive effects on our self-esteem and self-awareness. 

How To Practice Self-Care? 

  • Take a Break from the News 

Different platforms such as social media, online news sources and websites, and the tv, have constantly been putting out information about COVID-19, and we are being bombarded by messaging, which can be stressful. One thing you can do each day to practice self-care is to take a break from those platforms, helping to decrease stress and anxiety. 

  • Eat Healthy 

image-from-rawpixel-id-435608-jpegNourishing your body during this time is very important because it is the foundation of health. You don’t have to “diet” but eating healthy fruits and vegetables daily can help you feel good throughout the day. Cooking a healthy delicious meal for yourself or your family can be a good practice of self-care because you’re taking your time to provide a well balanced and nourishing meal. 

  • Exercise

image-from-rawpixel-id-2317499-originalNot being able to go to the gym has taken a toll on many of us, but it shouldn’t stop you from exercising at home. Exercising is a good practice of self-care because it can improve your mood and also releases endorphins to make you feel good. It increases your energy and can help you maintain a healthy weight while at home. There are many different apps and videos online to help you work out right in the comfort of your living room. 

  • Do Stress-Reducing Meditation 

Mediation is one form of great self-care. It is a calming activity used to help you release stress and anxiety. Mediation can be done daily for about 10 minutes and it can help improve your health as well as sleep. Self-care must include taking time to get in touch with your thoughts and emotions. 

During these times we can easily feel worn-out and have a lack of energy but a little self-care each day can go a long way to helping you feel motivated and optimistic. 

This post written by River Philbert, Class of 2020, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland.


Make Time for Meditation 

Photo by Prasanth Inturi from Pexels

During the recent pandemic many of us have been anxious, worried, and stressed. News on television and social media is inundated with this dangerous virus, and to make matters worse, we are all on lockdown, away from our family and friends. With stress and isolation affecting many of us, our mental health can be impacted. One thing I have tried while being stuck at home is meditation.  

Meditation is a mental exercise used to practice mindfulness that helps to achieve a clear mind and emotional stability. It helps with stress reduction, controls anxiety, promotes emotional health and more. When one is mindful they can be engaged with the present moment. People who meditate usually have a clearer mind and it helps to increase constructive and positive thoughts. It has also been proven that meditation can make you happier. 

The best way to practice meditation is by setting aside time every day at the same time to get into a routine. Meditating when you first wake up is one of the best methods. It’s good to start your day off with a clear mind, and meditating can help set the tone and rhythm for your day. If you have trouble falling asleep, it might be better to mediate around your bedtime. There are several different apps to help guide you in mediation such as Headspace, which walks you through meditation sessions. 

Photo by madison lavern on UnsplashSome Physical Benefits of Mediation 

  • Stress Reduction 
    • When we are stressed, our body goes into a flight or fight response. When you meditate it automatically puts your body in a calm state and helps your body repair from stress. 
  • Improved Sleep 
    • During this time, a lot of our sleep schedules are out of whack or we are stressed and have trouble falling asleep. Meditation helps us sleep better because it can help increase melatonin and help you relax. 
  • Strengthens Immune System 
    • With a global pandemic, we are all trying to find ways to boost our immune systems and stay healthy. When we are stressed there can be an increase in bodily inflammation, which can impact our immune system negatively. Meditating can provide a positive mental environment that can boost our immune systems. 

Basic Meditation Steps For Beginners 

    1. Find a quiet comfortable space. Being in a quiet environment can help with practicing mindfulness and help with clearing your mind. Sit on the floor, in a chair, on your bed, or anywhere you feel comfortable with your legs crossed. 
    2. Set a time limit. For beginners, choosing a short time of 5-10 minutes may be easier. After about a week you should increase the time to what feels best and works for you. 
    3. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Find a tempo with your breathing and inhaling with your nose and exhaling from your mouth.
    4. Be aware. When you’re taking deep breaths your body will naturally calm itself. Focus on each breath when you’re inhaling and exhaling. Throughout the meditation try not to let your mind wander and if it does return your attention to your breathing. 
    5. End the Session. When your timer goes off, open your eyes and get up slowly. Stretch yourself and you did it!

Meditation does not always come naturally to everyone, so be patient. Meditating to relieve stress is a learned skill and developing new habits, much like exercising or eating right, takes practice.

This blog was written by FCS Extension intern River Philbert, Class of 2020, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland.