Selfcare in the Time of COVID

In only a few short weeks, our homes have transformed from living spaces into classrooms, gyms, offices, and even sanctuaries. The reality of navigating daily life during a global pandemic means we are being tasked with fulfilling our many roles from the confines of the same four walls that were formerly reserved for restoring and recharging our souls. It’s necessary, and of course we will do what’s right for our communities, but it also feels a little invasive and can throw us off our selfcare game.

It will be so easy over the coming months to sacrifice selfcare time; a truth that especially applies to anyone who still has moments of giving in to the old thinking that practicing selfcare is a luxury instead of a priority. Challenge yourself to not give in to those moments. Remember, it is impossible to be the best version of you unless you take care of yourself.

The question then becomes how do we practice good selfcare in the time of coronavirus and isolation? How do we carve out time for ourselves when every inch of our homes has been taken over bit by bit by the rest of our lives?

The short answer: intentionally.

The easiest and best way to begin, as always, is with the breath. Two short minutes of a practice called box breathing can lower your blood pressure and provide an almost immediate sense of calm. Sometimes referred to as four-part or square breathing, box breathing allows you to disconnect from the chaos and noise around you to calm your thoughts, slow your heart rate, and regulate your autonomic nervous system. It is a simple, but meaningful practice that will allow you to reconnect to you.

Start by sitting up straight with your feet on the floor and eyes closed.

1. Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose while counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.
2. Hold your breath inside while counting slowly to four.
3. Begin to slowly exhale for 4 seconds. Feel the air leave your lungs.
4. Count slowly to four before taking your next inhale.

Repeat at least three times for 2 – 4 minutes, until a sense of calm returns.

You can work on your breathing anywhere – the couch, the kitchen table, or even on the bathroom floor if that’s the only place you can find two minutes of solitude. Wherever you can, however you can, carve a few moments out of each day to be present for you so you are better able to be there for everyone else.