This is my favorite article about how to cope in the current situation:7 science-based strategies to cope with coronavirus anxiety. I wrote last Sunday about Item 1, Practice tolerating uncertainty, and Item 2, Tackle the anxiety paradox.
For the past week, I’ve been working with Item 6, Strengthen self-care. I made this sheet to keep on my desk, reminding me of what works to keep me calm, centered, and happy in the present moment.
My approach to self care is continual experimentation. Some things work for a few weeks but aren’t sustainable. Others become mainstays. The Morning Quiet Hour is the newest thing on the list — I started that in January. Exercise and salads are things that have been part of my self-care routine for a decade or more.
The difference, now, is the frequency. In normal times, if I do most of these on most days, I’m fine. In the time of coronavirus, it’s become clear that I want all of these on all the days.
I’ll write notes for some of the items on my list. Let me know in the comments if there’s something you’d like more information about. Also, I really want to hear what self-care activities work for you — I may want to try some of them, too.
Simple Blocker is a free browser extension that lets you block specific websites — I block Facebook and Google News when I want to use my computer for work and when I’m getting overwhelmed by current events.
I wrote about using the Head Office to process emotions, including anxiety, last week.
Did you know that YouTube has long videos that play calming instrumental music? I turn to YouTube for my relaxing music more than traditional music services because the commercials are less frequent and can, usually, be skipped. I play music during the day when I’m working at my computer.
For an online art class, I’m looking forward to Sketchbook Revival. It starts Monday and goes for two weeks with a couple of videos a day by different artists showing the ways they psyche themselves up for using their sketchbooks. I did it last year and it started me on a journey of daily doodling. This year, I have some other art things going on, so I know I won’t participate as much. But that’s okay — it was a little overwhelming last year. I’m going to feel more free to pick and choose this year.
Cabbage keeps longer in the fridge than lettuce, so it’s a good shelter-in-place food. Here’s the cabbage salad recipe that I’m using right now. And, here’s another recipe I like, plus some more great things about cabbage salad.
I use the Pomodoro Technique when I’m working. I work for 25 minutes and, then, take a 5-minute break. That 5-minute break is perfect for a little bit of exercise. Here are my favorite short exercises:
- March in place while tapping the knee with the opposite hand — a cross lateral move that is supposed to help your brain function better
- Perform a yoga vinyasa — reach up on in-breaths; on out-breaths cycle through side bend left and right, twist left and right, and a cactus arms back bend
YouTube also has guided sleep meditations. I’m a life-long insomniac. Some of my earliest memories are of laying in the dark, amusing myself with my own stories, sometimes for hours before I fell asleep. I discovered guided sleep meditations about a year ago. They made a significant difference in my ability to fall asleep at night. My favorite channels are Michelle’s Sanctuary and The Honest Guys.
Your turn! What’s helping you right now?