This blog is part of our on-going 100% Remote Operations: Working From Home series.

100% Remote Operations: Self-Care Part OneIn times of so much uncertainty, it is common to feel helpless or out of control. Reading the news and scrolling through social media can seem like an endless circle of despair. Weathering at home during the shelter-in-place orders is inherently isolating, having the potential to elicit feelings of anxiety and stress. With the odds seemingly not in your favor, existing amongst the chaos can be overwhelming. During these challenging times, engaging in self-care has become more necessary than ever.

In this blog, Part 1 of Self-Care, we will discuss self-care measures you can take to help you better adjust to sheltering in place.

1.     Recognize How You Are Feeling

As we are in the middle of an unprecedented crisis, you may be experiencing a change in emotions. The COVID outbreak has caused upheaval and uncertainty for many across the world. As the world’s population has been forced to adapt to the new temporary normal, many have had to deal with varying degrees of loss. Of course, loss elicits a different reaction from each individual, whether it is angst, anger, sadness, etc. In times of difficulty, everyone behaves and emotes differently.

Although done virtually, speaking with a professional is encouraged if you feel that outside help would be a benefit to you. Trained professionals can lead you toward coping and processing stress, which not only works to improve your own well-being but that of your family and community as well. Several resources, such as Talkspace, BetterHelp, and Amwell serve to help you process and work through your challenges.

2.     Take A Break To Regroup

On top of juggling competing aspects of your own life, tuning into the news provides a flood of upsetting information. Distancing yourself from the negativity of current events can be highly beneficial. A good start would be shutting off the news or putting down your phone for a while.

Designating an amount of time to rest or any activity you enjoy is essential, as taking a break allows you to regroup and refresh. Engaging in distraction activities helps to take your mind off of stressors and anxious thoughts. These sorts of activities could be reading, cooking, going for a walk, playing a game, etc., helping you to prioritize your needs while actively reducing stress.

Various calming exercises work to slow down the rapid pace of your mind and gain insight and perspective. Meditating, deep-breathing, and stretching can provide you with better peace of mind and a more objective view of the situation at hand. In our 100% Remote Operations: Tools For Better Home-Working, we provide useful recommendations of meditation and mindfulness platforms.

Additionally, exercising and getting an adequate amount of sleep each night is hugely important – especially with the greater temptation to stay “up-to-date” on the latest developments well into the night. Mental, physical health, and rest are all closely intertwined. On the one hand, getting enough sleep serves as the foundation of how you will feel when you are awake. On the other, routine exercise helps regulate your sleep cycle at night and energy levels throughout the day.

Finally, it is highly recommended to eat nutritious, well-balanced meals, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods can improve your overall cognition, mood, and health.

3.     Organize and Simplify

After you have taken an ample break, it is time to continue with daily life. As taking care of your well-being has become a priority, there are ways to work self-care into your daily routines. It is helpful to introduce more simplicity and structure in your life, to avoid the same stressful pitfalls as before.

Clutter and disorganization can be subtle factors leading to feelings of being overwhelmed. Tidying up your living space helps to remove distractions, and promote better relaxation. Further, the repetitive action of cleaning can actually reduce feelings of anxiety. In a study done by Princeton University, researchers found that clutter makes the action of focusing on and completing tasks more difficult. The visual presence of “task-irrelevant” objects serve to take the mind’s focus away from the relevant task at hand.

Actively simplifying and structuring your daily schedule also has the potential to put your mind more at ease. Instead of trying to accomplish a hundred tasks at once, make a to-do list, and complete it item by item. This tactic not only makes your tasks at hand more straightforward but also allows you to track your progress better.

Self-Care Is For The Short and Long-Run

Unfortunately, a common misconception is that self-care is selfish. On the contrary, when you “fill your glass” first, you can turn around and help others fill their glasses too. Self-care serves to check in on yourself mentally and ensure a healthy relationship with yourself. Focusing on your needs at the present moment validates your feelings and allows you to work around them until you can better cope.

As confinement is the reality for the foreseeable future, self-care can help you continuously adapt to transition and uncertainty. Focusing on your own well-being helps you to adapt to whatever life throws at you in the short-term, while ultimately giving you tools to prosper in the long-term. And it all begins with recognizing and acknowledging your feelings. Although there is no one correct way to perform self-care, there are definitely activities that help promote it. It may help you to keep simplicity and organization in mind as a goal, as Psychology Today put it best — “neatness and order support health — and oppose chaos.”