Why it is important to take time out for yourself during lockdown

Self care in lockdown

Taking care of yourself is even more important in stressful situations. Image by Adobe Stock.

Taking time out for self-care is always important but even more so when in a stressful situation. As we are amidst a global pandemic that may go on for some time and our country is back into lockdown, we are again trying to adjust to our new normal of staying at home, working from home and facilitating school from home. Circumstances will make this easier for some and harder for others, but the uncertainty of our new normal has us collectively feeling uneasy at the very least. Often, during times of stress, self-care gets sacrificed, as people tend to think that taking time out for yourself is indulgent, especially when the world is in such a bad state. But studies have shown that self-care can help to reduce stress and anxiety and improve your ability to cope with difficult situations. But what exactly does self-care mean? And how can we utilise it during lockdown?

Self-care is actively participating in activities we enjoy doing on a regular basis, that will enhance our mental wellbeing. Self-care doesn’t just mean to pamper yourself with a face mask or a hot bubble bath – even though those are great ways forms of self-care. Self-care and taking time out for yourself can just be simple steps that you incorporate into your daily routine while at home, such as:

Staying active
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed being stuck at home with a house full of people (can I get an amen, mums?!) pop on a pair of walking shoes and go for a long walk, by yourself. Explore your neighbourhood, or just listen to the sounds of nature, the birds chirping, the wind blowing. Take your shoes off and ground yourself in your local park. Try to make this a part of your daily routine, whether it be first thing in the morning, on a lunch break or after dinner.

Create a routine
Being stuck at home can send your daily routine out of whack. It can be so easy to sleep in, stay up late, drink too much alcohol and binge-watch programmes – not saying that those things are bad, but if you create a routine and allocate time slots for activities, you might find that having your day structured will help you mentally feel structured too. Humans tend to thrive with structure and routine, it helps us to feel accomplished and gives us a feeling of security and purpose.

Take days off
For someone who isn’t used to working from home, it can take a bit of getting used to, especially with a house full of people. It’s important not to push yourself too hard and if you can, take a mental health day off every now and then. Whether that be to snuggle up in bed with your laptop for a Netflix binge or to take some time off to play with your kids.

Allow yourself to have fun
It is very easy to put pressure on ourselves to do it all during lockdown. Juggling work, helping kids with school work and keeping our surroundings clean and tidy can be enough to send you round the bend. Allowing yourself to have fun is one of the best ways to take time out for yourself. Whatever it is that makes you happy, whether it be going for a run, baking, painting, dancing or just having a wine or two.

Rest
Take this time to rest when you can. Whether that’s a sleep in, having a lie-down on the couch with a book or just doing nothing at all. Rest, relax and reset. If you have a busy and active job out of lockdown, utilise this time at home to rest as much as you can before you go back into your normal working routine.

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