Practical Self-Care Tips for Election Week 2020
A helpful and simple guide to taking care of yourself during election week
With tensions in the air and higher than usual levels of stress, I wanted to share with you some effective and simple self-care practices you can implement into your lives for this election week (and beyond).
Journal and acknowledge your feelings: One of the most fundamental steps in practicing wellness and self-care is to acknowledge what emotions you are experiencing. Emotions can be intense and overwhelming, so it is important to recognize how you are feeling and then reflect on exactly what triggered those emotions. One of the best ways of doing this is to journal. Journaling is a private, judgement free zone to write about whatever you want. This is one of the most freeing ways to explore your thoughts and feelings so take advantage of a pen and paper!
Sleep and rest: There's nothing new about the need to sleep for at least 7-9 hours per day in order to function properly. Now more than ever, the need for sleep and rest should be prioritized. Set schedule for your desired bedtime and wake up time that satisfies the 7-9 hour sleep minimum. For example, go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 7am (total of 9 hours). In terms of rest throughout the day, there are different ways to implement small forms of this that can suit your daily life demands. The following are a few examples: finding ways to stretch while on the go, practice breathing and silencing your mind, take cat naps, etcetera. Lastly, Caravan Wellness is a digital wellness and fitness platform offering a diverse array of exercise and meditation videos to follow. Try out the first 3 months with my 10% off discount code: VALENTINAS
Yoga and exercise: Moving your body is fundamental to a healthy life as it stimulates blood circulation, controls weight, improves cognitive function and mood, boosts energy, and promotes better sleep. It is generally recommended to move your body for at least 30 minutes per day. According to the Mayo Clinic, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends "at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity." The following are some ways to get your body moving amidst the pandemic: utilizing gym equipment, taking a walk around your neighborhood or at a nearby park, facetiming your friends and doing at home exercises together, and practicing yoga with a virtual instructor.
Reduce caffeine, alcohol and tobacco consumption: Those who consume caffeine, alcohol or tobacco have probably been doing so for quite some time, and, thus, may have grown a slight addiction to these substances. Let's clarify: when I say "reduce", I do not mean to cut these out completely. However, I do recommend to reduce the amount of daily consumption or replace these substances with healthier, better quality alternatives. In terms of caffeine: let's say you normally drink one cup of coffee per day. As a form of reducing, you may decide to drink half a cup or an espresso shot instead. As a form of replacing, you may decide to drink green tea, a matcha latte, or hot lemon water instead. Ultimately, it's all about reflecting on your consumption habits and setting realistic goals on how you can reduce/replace commonly consumed goods, such as, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.
Practice meditation and deep breathing: Meditation is a classic way to attempt to calm the body and silence the mind. There are many forms of meditation and deep breathing. It is important to understand that meditation and deep breathing are not exactly the same, but that that you can engage in practicing the two simultaneously (if you'd like). For beginners, I'd recommend sitting cross legged, closing your eyes and simply breathing for 10 minutes. If you feel up for it, set your time for 20 or 30 minutes and do the same. Remember that there is no end destination or specific way to practice mediation so this should be a freeing and exploratory self-practice.
Looking beyond yourself: 2020 has been a year of turmoil but also a year to deeply connect with your community. One way of instilling hope and optimism, is to do things for others. It doesn't matter how small or big the act is. The only thing that truly matters is the intention behind it. Here are some things you can do for your community: participate in clean ups, promote recycling and composting, engage in local activist groups, sign petitions, donate to reputable nonprofits, connect with your local government, staying informed and educating yourself via diverse sources, listening/hearing/conversing with people about important topics, etcetera.
Speaking with a therapist: If you have the time and desire to look for the right therapist for you, I'd definitely recommend doing so as their are many benefits to speaking with a mental health professional. Therapists are licensed professionals whose aim is to listen and provide effective feedback/advice on how to deal with various situations you may be experiencing in life. They are trained to be judgment free listeners who can play a vital role in your wellbeing as they are not part of your inner circle. Ways to virtually connect with therapists: Better Help, Talkspace, Online-Therapy and checking in with your healthcare provider.
Connect with your community and support system: The pandemic, alongside this current election week, provides no better time to connect with your community and loved ones. As a community, you inevitably want to hear from each other and provide emotional support. Here are some simple ways to do this: send random texts to people you haven't spoken to in a while and wish them well, post supportive and inspirational content on social media, allocate time to facetiming different people in your inner circle, send a letter to someone special, so on and so forth.
Spend time in nature: For city dwellers, this can be a tricky one but not necessarily impossible! First of all, despite our highly industrial ways of living nowadays, nature still serves as a fundamental way of grounding ourselves spiritually and calming our emotions. Here are various examples of how you can connect with nature: spend time at the park or beach, consider growing a small garden or buying some plants, take a stroll outside or open up the window for some fresh air, and aim to get at least 20-30 minutes of natural sunlight per day.
Take breaks from the news, social media and technology: This highly connects with the previous point on connecting with nature. Although we are all grateful for some aspects of our advanced technological and industrial world, it is understandable that it oftentimes drains and consumes us as well! Technology has taken over almost all aspects of our lives, especially if you are living in a city or town, so it is helpful to figure out how you can take a detox from it every now and then. Here are some examples: turning off and putting away your phone/computers for an allotted amount of time, logging off of all social media for a few days (or however long you want), and turning off sounds/notifications.
Do things you genuinely enjoy: As humans it is normal to have many interests, so consider taking time to do a few of those things that elicit joy and good vibes. This may be: dancing to your favorite music, practicing that new language you've been learning, hosting facetime painting sessions with your friends, playing games, binge watching your favorite show, reading a new book, having a picnic at the park, cooking a special recipe, etcetera.
Practice both clean eating while also allowing yourself to indulge: The best way to consume food is to balance what you eat. This is nothing new and we should be trying to implement this mentality throughout this week and the rest of the holiday season. Drinking lots of water and eating fresh produce will satisfy your body's needed nutrients, boost energy, and provide an overall feel good energy. However, it's also okay to want to indulge in some treats you enjoy. These may be nutritious treats but they also may be snacks and sweets that may be deemed as "unhealthy". If you are truly craving it, I'd recommend purchasing a limited amount of those indulging treats and eating them at special moments throughout the week. Perhaps, aim for an 80/20 food schedule - 80% nutritious foods and 20% indulging treats.
Read a book, watch a movie, or play a game that is not related to the election: We have to remember that the polls have been closed and now all we can do is be patient and wait for the results. Thus, in the meantime, engage in activity that is unrelated to politics and the election as means of doing something enjoyable, decreasing stress, and allowing time to pass naturally.
I hope you found this helpful and I'm sending you love and light!
Love always and forever,