Photo Credit: Sajal Mohsin, The Mike Photographer
Some tips to help you in developing a self-care routine
Nicole Gordon, The Mike Contributor
Many students are staying home in isolation and taking online courses in the middle of a global pandemic. Amidst the great stresses of the pandemic and school, we tend to forget to step back once in a while and take care of ourselves.
These days, it has been very easy to crawl out of bed and open my laptop 10 minutes before my lectures start. Then, I’ll stay in my pajamas all day while attending online lectures. This routine made me feel like I was less productive since I was always tempted to crawl back into bed. So, I decided to change my daily routine and prioritize self-care.
The concept of self-care is widely known on the internet, especially on YouTube. Creators share their self-care routines to encourage people to take some time out of their day to destress. Self-care is any activity that helps you take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. It is important for everyone to incorporate self-care into their lives, especially during COVID, because these are definitely overwhelming times.
Here are some tips to help you practice the art of self-care:
Get ready in the morning.
At the beginning of the day, get out of your sleepwear and change into a different outfit. Even though you may not be physically leaving your house and attending class, it is important to get ready for the day.
Get 8 hours of sleep each night.
It is important to have a good rest because your brain and body will function better when you are fully rested. Since school is online this year, I don’t have to wake up early and commute to Toronto. Consequently, I find myself staying up until 4 a.m., which alters my sleep schedule. This is not a good routine because when I attend classes in the morning, I feel exhausted and rely on coffee to stay awake. Coffee has side effects such as headaches, disrupted sleep, dehydration and irritability. Also, research has shown that consuming caffeine up to 6 hours before bedtime can reduce your amount of sleep.
Substitute junk food for healthy snacks.
I have been snacking almost every hour while doing work. When I am stressed, I usually cope by stress eating, which isn’t the healthiest option. I decided to substitute my chips and cookies for vegetables and fruits. One of my favourite snacks is sliced apples with peanut butter.
Drink more water.
Substitute juice, pop, and caffeine for water, and over time, it will be easier to drink water regularly. Increasing your water intake prevents dehydration, clears your skin, regulates your body temperature, and is overall a healthier option. It is important to keep hydrated at all times!
Physical activity increases your energy, reduces insomnia, and wakes you up. Even after a quick workout, I feel more energized and ready to have a productive day. I would recommend working out in the morning for 20-30 minutes after waking up. During quarantine, I found a lot of workout routines on YouTube from Chloe Ting, Pamela Reif, and SELF.
Spend some time outdoors.
I enjoy taking short walks around trails or paths around my neighbourhood. Taking walks or going on a run can give you time to clear your mind and reflect on your day.
Designate social time (from a distance, of course).
Due to the lack of face-to-face interaction these days, it is important to stay connected with others. It can feel quite lonesome to be stuck inside all day so it’s good to schedule some time to video chat with friends and family. I find myself calling my friends and studying together since we cannot go to libraries. Finding activities to do with friends while being productive is a great way to communicate and feel less isolated.
Whether it be taking an extra-long bubble bath and reading your favourite book or lighting a fancy candle, take some time out of your day to do something that sparks joy in your life. Maybe you’re taking up a new hobby that really excites you. Blocking out time in the week to do things that ease your mind will serve you mentally and emotionally!
Being stuck at home every day can take a toll on your mental health, since we are used to socializing and going out. Although life can be stressful this year, I believe these self-care tips can help reduce your stress and improve your health. Good luck with your self-care journey!