Poet, speaker and creative Arielle Estoria was nannying for a family friend when the reality of the pandemic really hit her.
The shelter-in-place orders had been just issued, she says, and "I received email after email of conference and performance cancellations. A single tear fell down my cheek as I held a sleeping baby."
Suddenly, it really hit home that the world was changing permanently, and like many of us, she started thinking about how she was going to survive all of this change.
"I remember feeling defeated, unprepared and overall just sad," she says.
Since March of 2020, our lives have changed dramatically because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Countries, states and cities all over the world have instituted lockdowns and issued shelter-in-place orders. Non-essential businesses have shut down, concerts and performances have been cancelled. Millions of us self-quarantined in our homes, often while trying to work from home and raise children with no daycare. Our day-to-day lives don't look the same anymore and it's easy to feel defeated, just like Arielle did that day.
"We are such tender beings, us humans," Arielle says, "and considering we are in a global pandemic, there are a lot of traumas and mental stresses that come with that reality, whether or not we realize it."
"Because of that," she continues, "I think it's so vital that we take care of ourselves mentally, spiritually and physically because our bodies are probably taking in more than we realize."
In other words, self-care has never been more important. Here are some of her self-care tips for these uncertain times:
1. Remember, it's okay to take time to do things for yourself.
"Finding moments to go on a walk, bake something that feels like comfort, dance in your kitchen, finding books that inspire your creativity is so important right now," she says.
"We all have time [for self-care], it's just about making it," she continues. "Pass the baton to your spouse if you have kids and take turns making sure you're not only taking care of others, but also yourself."
2. Find what brings you joy.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Arielle has stopped asking "how are you?" because it's a difficult question to answer with everything going on right now.
"I noticed that whenever I was asked," she says, "I never fully knew how to respond to the question and do so authentically."
So instead, she's starting to ask "What brings you joy?"
"While we were in this space where a lot has been taken away, disrupted, and paused, there was even more of a reason to find joy in life, especially in the smallest and most mundane aspects of life," she says.
"Currently what brings me joy is trips to home goods stores and finding trinkets for my home that my husband and I are physically building." She also loves doing face masks, painting her nails — "It's become a form of self care and therapy," she says — and finding new plants for her home.
3. Make your self-care routine consistent and intentional.
It's easy in the day-to-day of quarantine, with so much time spent at home, to put off taking care of yourself. That's why, Arielle says, "I have been very intentional about adopting self-care routines, not just weekly, but daily."
For example, she has decided to make working-out part of her self-care routine and while working out every day may vary in length or intensity, she fits it in no matter what.
"Some days, [self-care] looks like an online class of some sort, a dance video on YouTube, or a walk around the block at sunset."
4. Listen to your body and your own needs.
"If [your body] needs rest then rest," she says. "If you need to put down the phone and turn off the electronics and read a good book. then do so."
"But also listen for when it needs a whole season of Gilmore Girls and a glass of wine," she adds. "That's okay too."
5. Don't forget about your skin.
"The SK-II Pitera Essence is magical for me right now," Arielle says. "I felt like my skin was really needing something to boost its glow."
She says that it has helped boost her skin's natural moisture without making it too oily or causing build-up in her pores.
"It also feels amazing to apply and leaves my skin feeling refreshed and super soft," she continues. It has definitely been included in my skin care routines both in the morning and right before bed, to keep my skin feeling refreshed and nourished all day long."
6. Drink lots of water.
7. Find creative ways to adapt so you can still do the things you love.
"Find what brings you joy and do whatever it takes to engage with that joy as much as you can," Arielle says.
Before the pandemic, for example, she loved going to hot yoga. "When the pandemic started, I tried to work out with my floor heater instead to get the same vibe," she says. "Didn't really work, but that's okay!"
8. Make sure you go outside.
"As much as you can,go outside, be with nature," she says. "Get out of your house for a moment if you can. Read on your front lawn, loop around your block, walk to ice cream, find moments to get your body active, moving and in nature."
9. It's okay to take a break from social media and your phone.
"Take "time outs" from social media when you need to," she says.
Put away the phone. It will help you find more time for yourself.
"I dare you to look at your screen time," she says. "I bet that's where you'd find a lot of your time is going. That [time] could be used otherwise."
10. Remember, self-care doesn't have to take a lot of time.
Taking time for yourself doesn't have to be a whole day thing. It doesn't even need to take several hours. "Just small increments of 5, 10, 15 minutes could make a difference!"
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