By Tanya Jansen and Alexis Ramirez
Community members are fighting to maintain their self-care rituals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not implementing tactics for self care, especially during quarantine, can lead to higher levels of anxiety and depression and may cause irritability with people in one’s life, according to licensed mental health counselor Karin Brackebusch.
During quarantine, certain levels of self-care can be lost, since going out with friends, getting out of the house, running errands, and exercising freedom to go outside are some of what constitutes self-care.
There are many different ways in which a person can implement tactics of self-care, according to Brackebusch.
“Just 30 minutes of exercise is so good for our brains and so good for our ability to focus on what we need to do,” Brackebusch said.
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Camille Small, a physical therapist’s assistant and power-lifting competitor, says that not moving around consistently enough will take a toll on your body.
During the virus, many are forced to sit in a confined space all day and forget to stand up and move around.
“Especially during quarantine if you’re not doing anything, try to do something every day and switch it up. Walk one day, and then you could do stretches another day, and you could do some body-weight exercises,” Small said. “Physical activity can be so many things. It can be working in your yard, it can be walking, yoga, swimming, biking, weightlifting, there’s so many things you can do.”
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The best thing for your body is a combination of strength training, cardiovascular training, and stretching.
According to Small, working out is more than just for the sake of looking good.
“There’s plenty of studies to show that it boosts your mood because we hold onto stress and tension in our bodies so when we move, you’re releasing that,” said Small. “So that’s a reason why you’re more cheerful, and if you’re more cheerful then you’re naturally going to have better relationships.”
[su_quote cite=”Camille Small”] Do it for making yourself feel better and for the physical part of it but I think it’s more motivation when you know that you’re going to feel better to get out and exercise.[/su_quote]
In addition to working out as a means of self-care, counselor Brackebusch says that meditation can be beneficial.
“Especially with this crisis we’re in, we’re gonna future trip and we’re gonna worry. But when we take time to be mindful to quiet ourselves and just be aware of ourselves in the present moment, it sets aside all that distraction and worry and angst it helps us come to a place of peace when you realize what is,” Brackebusch said.
Summer Jones, who practices meditation daily, stated, “I love meditating, because it keeps me balanced throughout my day. I try to get my fiance to meditate with me as much as possible because he doesn’t tend to focus much on self-care.”
Sometimes finding the motivation to meditate every day can be difficult when you have a busy schedule. Often times, people struggle to balance both work and school.
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Jones’ fiance, Joshua Hendrickson stated, “I struggle with finding the time to meditate everyday. I work long hours and when I come home, I usually just want to eat dinner and go to sleep, but Summer’s passion for meditating motivates me to get up and do it.”
Meditating can help put your body and mind at ease.
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“I usually light candles and dim the lights when I meditate. This helps me feel relaxed and allows me to alleviate any stress I accumulated throughout my day,” said Jones
With concerns surrounding COVID-19, work environments have become extremely stressful. A lot of companies have had major layoffs causing their current employees to be stressed out from having to take on more work load.
“My work cut the size of our crew in half causing me to have a larger workload than I normally do. This puts a lot of stress not only on my body, but also my mind,” said Jones.
Sometimes people are so busy working, they forget about taking care of our self care needs. Therefore, taking time during the day to sit down and breathe could be extremely helpful while at work.
“On my breaks and at lunch I try and take a moment to breathe, and I will usually finish it off with a bit of stretching before returning back to work,” said Jones.
Some people can find it hard to remember to focus on self-care during these times.
“Taking time to focus on self care has been important, especially during the whole COVID-19 outbreak. Meditation allows my mind to go blank and redirects my focus onto something more positive instead of focusing on all the negative things happening in the world,” said Jones.
“A lot of students, I’ve noticed, are playing more video games,” said Brackesbusch. “In fact, they’re staying up all night playing video games and they’re sleeping all day. And then they only have two to three hours of daylight and then it comes to night again. They stay up all night playing their video games, so they’ve really gotten into this system of checking out and not being present and not doing self-care at all.”
While traditional means of self-care are no longer possible, new opportunities are now available. Most businesses and practices such as counseling are offering virtual services, making it easier than ever before to get help.
“I think counseling is a gift you give to yourself because you get one hour where it gets to be all about you. No questions asked,” Brackebusch said. “So I go to counseling because I need an hour where it’s all about me. It’s not if you have ‘issues’ but it’s if you want to be growing and taking care of yourself and being all that you were meant to be.”