Coronavirus has swept across the globe leaving chaos and death in its wake. We are consumed with fear of catching it while being consumed with grief over those we’ve lost to it. The stress and worry, if we or a loved will be this virus’ next victim, is so thick in the air that you can cut it with a knife. We know what needs to be done to help prevent the spread of this virus but what about the mental and emotional health as a result of this prevention? Here are some Coronavirus self-care tips to help all of us get through this scary time.
Turn Off The News
I don’t know about you but I’m sick to death of the news. So much so that I cannot bring myself to watch it all day long. Between 45’s stupidity coupled with how quickly this virus is spreading across NYC, for my sanity, I turn it off. Yes, it’s important to stay informed especially with ever-changing information but taking in too much or even excessive information will add to my stress, worry, and anxiety.
Now, this is not to say that I’m not following the news. I’m just doing so in moderation and using Twitter for up to the minute news and Google breaking news notifications. This allows me to stay informed while also holding on to what little bit of sanity I have left.
Block Social Media Negativity and Misinformation
Speaking of social media, I follow a lot of different people resulting in a diverse timeline of news, memes, religious, family fun, and work from other bloggers. But what you won’t see on my timeline is negativity or people who have beliefs and values that differ from mine. There was a time when I would just scroll past their posts and act as though I don’t see it but we no longer live in a time where that is an option. Hence the reason why I use my mute button to hide posts from people I don’t want to unfriend and my block button for those who cross the line.
This is the beauty of social media, I control what I see on my timeline. During times like this, I’m only interested in people who are interested in sharing lifesaving misinformation, uplifting words of wisdom and comfort, and yes a meme to or two cause a little bit of laughter can go a long way.
Yeah, I know the last thing you wanna hear is doing a deep clean but I swear to gawd it’ll make you feel better. I’m a total clutter bug so trashing old shit I don’t need is the best thing for me, and you too. I mean, what else have you got to do while the kids are in Google classroom? You don’t have to start large just pick a room, then an area, and get started. Do a little bit of decluttering every day and by the end of the week, you’ll see that room in a whole new light. I finally shredded a stack of junk mail that I’ve had for the past year. Seeing that small edge of my desk for the first time in months felt great!
But see the thing with ditching your shit is struggling to really ditch it. This why you should ask yourself when was the last time you’ve seen it or used it? If it’s been more than several months or covered in dust throw it out. If you haven’t used it yet, you won’t. Trust me.
Oh, don’t forget your upbeat music.
You Don’t Have To Start A Side Hustle
I don’t care what LLC Twitter says I am NOT undisciplined because I didn’t use my time home to start a business, write an e-book or pick up a third language. It’s utter bullshit to think that I have to be overly productive during this time. Everyone’s stress and anxiety are at an all-time high so if I don’t want to do anything, I won’t. I have no intention of overexerting myself. I’m keeping to the bare minimum with the goal of relaxing my mind and spirit. Now if something comes to me then it comes to me then I’ll marinate on it but I’m not going to force it in the name of saying I did this while you did nothing.
Open Your Curtains & Windows
Since it looks like we’re all gonna spend spring indoors why not open your curtains and windows to bring the outside in. My bedroom is where I spend most of my time. My little office is here and it also the sunniest room in the house. This means curtains each morning is a must. Letting the sun’s rays wash over me and the room will give me an energy boost to get through the day. It’s more than just opening the curtains, it’s also about letting the morning air into my space. I need open windows because if they’re closed for too long I’ll find myself suffering from mysterious headaches. If my head hurts despite eating, drank water, had a stress-free day, and gave my eyes plenty of screen rest I’ll check the windows to make sure enough air is circulating.
Open curtains and windows is crucial to helping me maintain a mood throughout the day that’s light and upbeat. I find that I get more done with the sun beaming in than I do when I choose to keep it blocked out. Closed curtains make me want to take afternoon naps. Don’t get me wrong I love a good nap but that was when the kids were in school. They’re home now and I need to be awake to help them with their schoolwork. When they go back to school I’ll resume my ritual afternoon catnap.
Put Your Kids To Bed Early
When homeschooling started these kids, were going to bed super late. It wasn’t a big deal since we had nowhere to go but then one night they got extra loud and that’s when I realized they needed to get back on schedule. This has a two-fold effect, 1. it keeps me from having to parent after 9:30p and 2. it gives me the opportunity to do something for me at the end of the night. You see, what I hadn’t realized was I was running non-stop all day so by the time the kids dozed off at 11p I was asleep by 11:15. It meant I had no time for me which made me frustrated. But once they got back on school sleep times I’ve been able to put my feet up at night and add something new to my nighttime routine.
In addition to my nightly routine, I’ve started to get into listening to audiobooks at night. I listen while I wash the dishes at the end of the night. I hate doing the dishes so listening to books makes the time go by while I clean the kitchen. I’ve gone through 2 books recently and I know I would’ve been able to if the kids went to sleep when they wanted. (By the way, I’m currently listening to The Last Tudor.)
I’ve found that journaling is really great way to release whatever is plaguing me. I keep two. One where I jot shit and doodle. It’s very lighthearted. But the other is emotional and darker. It’s where I let out everything I’m feeling. This one is not pretty and it’s not supposed to be. I just scribble wildly until I feel everything I feel is released. I’m not one for talking about my feelings but I also know I need an outlet to get that shit out.
If you’re like me and you lack the ability to share your innermost feelings with anyone, even your own partner then you should consider journaling as a private release. Getting those thoughts and feelings out during times like this will help keep you calm.
Call your family and friends
This virus has really shown how precious our relationships are. I haven’t seen my mother in two months. Now in the past, I may have gone this long without seeing her due to schedules or seasonal weather conditions but this hits different because I’m prevented from seeing her. She’s older and works in a hospital, and I have the kids so neither one of us can risk being close. This is why it’s imperative to call, text, or video our loved ones. Check on them and see how they’re holding up, especially if they live alone. Use your group chat to easily connect with loved ones and friends.
If you want to see your loved one do a drive-by wave or park in the driveway and they chat from the porch. Do not get out of your car and don’t let them come too close to your car. Love on your family from a distance – oh, and bring them some groceries one less trip to the market they have to make.
Host An Online Gathering
I’ve been thinking about hosting a happy hour with some of my girlfriends on Zoom on Friday night. We get dressed up from the waist up and just shoot the shit online for an hour sipping our favorite cocktail. Or we can have a game night where we play Bingo or Pictionary. We can also watch a movie on Netflix Party and chill. The goal of the activity is to have participants release themselves from the homeschooling and other stressors of the day and connect with other adults.
Find An Online Therapist
Sometimes journaling your thoughts down just isn’t enough and you need a little bit more. During difficult times there is nothing wrong with seeking out someone who can safely guide you through these difficult times. Let me just get this out of the way and say, there is nothing wrong with seeing a therapist. The stigma of seeing one whether seldom or on a regular basis is no more. Now more than ever people are openly, and happily admitting that they at one time or another have visited a therapist.
There are a number of online platforms that you can use to find a therapist with many offering free consultations. Very Well Mind published a list of the best online therapy programs. It features the pros and cons of each platform giving you a thorough breakdown of each. While some people may not have a preference on what their therapist looks like, I, on the other hand, I prefer therapists who look like me. If this is the same for you then you’ll want to check out Black Female Therapists. It’s a directory of exclusively Black women therapists.
Whichever route you go make sure you’re comfortable with them and the moment you stop feeling that way then choose another. Therapy is intimate and the last thing you need is to not feel connected to the person helping you.