Today’s post is not about coronavirus, because—let’s face it—aren’t we all sick of being bombarded with news and info about it all day, every day? The situation is getting worse, and will be for a while before it gets better. Duly noted.
However, I do want to give people something in this crisis time, so I’m writing today about self-care for people working from home…especially my fellow creative types.
I started fighting a sinus infection around February 24th and was sick for a solid month. My wife was in bed for six days with the regular old flu. And I have an aging parent in assisted living who needs some assistance from me, so there’s that. In other words, if there was ever such a thing as a “good” time for us to be dealing with a pandemic, this wasn’t it.
Thus far, we’re doing okay. Whether you call it social distancing or self-quarantining, we’re practicing all of it now. With that, may I present five things you can do to take good care of yourself and make sure you’re okay too.
1) Exercise – This is a bit of a no-brainer, but may sound counter-intuitive. How am I supposed to exercise if I’m stuck indoors, Mike? But actually, I’m suggesting something easy and simple, like a walk around the block, not going to the gym. Go outside, look at some trees, enjoy nature, and move your body. Too much sitting and lying around is bad for the body and the brain.
2) Meditate – I’m a big proponent of meditation, and if your idea of exercise is yoga, you might not want to meditate on top of that. Yoga is not only exercise but also very meditative, so that’s cool. If you do regular non-yoga stuff for exercise, though, I highly suggest taking some time during the day to sit and quietly meditate. Meditation is an amazing stress-reducer, and can also help immensely with creativity. David Lynch is a huge fan of meditation. Check out his comments on it.
3) Get the proper amount of sleep – Notice I didn’t just list “sleep” as an item. You want to get enough sleep, but don’t sleep all day. Too much of a good thing, and it can make you feel sluggish for a long while. I’m a good seven- to eight-hour guy, and it shows if I don’t get enough for multiple days in a row. Bonus feature of regular meditation and exercise: both tend to help improve sleep quality.
4) Eat right – This is a biggie for me, because I’m a vegetarian and a bit of a health nut…but I also love sweets and junk food, so the first things I wanted to stock up on this month were ice cream, cookies, chips, and salsa! I always have foods like garlic and ginger high on my priority list, though, so I can balance things well. It’s okay if I have dessert or a little junk food snack, if that’s balanced out with fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and so on. Like the points above, eating right tends to benefit sleep and make it easier to exercise, maintain enough energy, and feel okay overall.
5) Practice healthy self-talk – And finally, speaking of feeling okay, most of us are not feeling 100% right now, are we? Heck, I found myself on Twitter talking to someone who was contemplating suicide last night! It’s a tough time for almost everyone, I think, so it may be easy to get into negative thinking and unhealthy self-talk. Maybe not I’m no good level stuff, but This sucks, When will it ever end, and on and on.
Give yourself some positive messages every day, check on friends and relatives, and remember, if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be able to do much for anyone else!