Protect yourself at all costs: mind, body and soul guide
Text Elisheba Akalawu
Let’s not sugar coat it, these are scary and stressful times we are experiencing at the moment. With terms like quarantine, lock-down and self-isolation flying about, it’s understandable that people are panicking, stress-buying, feeling depressed and anxious about what’s to come. This is a pandemic. It’s unsettling and the hardest thing to do during this time, is to keep a level head without letting your thoughts run riot with theories about the unknown. We may not be able to control the situation but we can control how we respond to it.
It’s 100% acceptable to acknowledge the severity of the problem, to stay up to date with the news and plan ahead, however, please (please, please) do not allow yourself to get carried away with the wild claims flying around social media, what your friend heard from her friend’s grandmother’s gardener’s sister or mass stock-piling amenities unnecessarily, that might mean those in need may go without. It’s extremely harmful to your mental health and wellbeing when you stay focused on the things that are out of your control – it’s literally a recipe for self-imposed madness!
If we change our response to the situation it’s much easier to handle. A friend and I were talking about how we could approach and think about the situation – and though this may not apply to everyone – it feels this time of staying in is a way to initiate and encourage some much needed rest. Being part of generation burn-out it’s easy to think that being ‘booked and busy’ is a must – however this just ends up depleting all your creative resources. Let this be the time that you reconnect with yourself, spark your creativity or find something new to educate yourself about. Hey, at least we have the Internet.
In the midst of these uncertain times we want to give you back some control with a guide to just a few of the activities you should try whilst staying at home – give your mind, body and soul that much needed TLC it deserves. Social distancing and self-isolation can come to a shock to those used to being around people all the time, but it’s important to do if we want to slow down the rate of this virus spreading and protect the at risk groups. So be mindful, act in the best interest of your community and stay connected with those you love – pick up the phone, hell write a letter (or an e-mail) – wash your hands and stay safe!
Books are a great way to give yourself a break from the background noise of the news, social media and circling thoughts. It gives you a moment to concentrate on something that exists outside of the madness. Whether you choose a self-help book to help you deal with this time, a textbook on macroeconomics or even a cookbook; the childhood book you adored, that book you swore you would read or the many books you’ve started but never finished – reading is a sure way to provide some much needed solace.
There are so many things to be grateful for in this time of unease. Think about what you do have and write it down: a bed, food, clothes, family to support you, friends to call, good health, running water, heating… the list could go on, and put it in a gratitude bowl. Then whenever you’re feeling stressed, anxious or uneasy, pull something out of the bowl and muse on the importance of that thing that you have, and why it is that you’re grateful for it.
One of the most slept on ways to practice self-care and what women (& men) don’t talk about enough is masturbation. It’s okay sis, we all do it, and in this time where you may be apart from your significant other, or just going crazy… rub one out. There are apps such as Dipsea and Emjoy, that make masturbation a little less awkward and more intentional for your own pleasure! Before a much needed nap, after the mid-morning meltdown or during that late afternoon bath – do so at your own enjoyment! (tip: just remember to lock the door if you’re not living alone!)
Get your kitchen beauty cook on and make some homemade beauty products. It’s not necessarily the time to invest in fancy skincare products, but for me keeping up with my skincare is super important, and a great way to relax! Click here for some of our fave skincare recipes.
If working from home, or just spending a lot of time indoors is new to you, then creating a routine is an excellent start to moving with intention during this time. Whether it’s drinking 1l of water in the morning, meditating, journaling for 10 mins, making your bed first thing, or decluttering your space for 20 mins, each step is a step forward to having a more structured approach for staying inside for a long period of time.
Keep it moving. Being stuck inside shouldn’t mean laying around all day, although it is a great excuse, home workout dvds (I know you have one!), youtube workouts, instagram workouts, apps dedicated to workouts, it’s all there at the tip of your fingers. Even if you spend 5 minutes of intentional moving: squats, jumping jacks, burpees, press-ups, planks, pilates etc. it keeps your blood flowing and stops you from feeling stagnant and getting stiff! (P.s: this is a great time to start working on that summer body, if that’s your thing!)
A good ol’ binge didn’t ever hurt no body. If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a laptop, the internet and Netflix (or any other online streaming service) then find a new series or 3 to binge-watch! It may feel unproductive after a few hours, but it’s definitely a way to pass the time and now is not the time to feel guilty about being unproductive! Revel in it and enjoy. Also, rumour has it that developers have created a Google chrome extension ‘Netflix Party’ that allows a group of friends to watch Netflix remotely, at the same time, with a group chat!? Uh, self-isolation movie night sorted, am I right?
In the event that you get sick of watching shows, how about switching gears and doing some educational skills building via platforms such as Udemy, Skillshare, LinkedIn Learning or Google Garage. There’s a plethora of options out there for you to build on an existing skill, strengthen an old one, or learn an entirely new one.
Awaken the childlike curiosity and creative streak in you with arts and crafts. You might not be the next Picasso or Basquiat (or you might be!) but choosing the arts to express yourself is a good way to articulate your feelings without using words. There are hundreds of tutorials online on how to create different things using household items, and picking up a pencil and a sheet of paper has never failed the greats.
Call your grandparents/aunts/uncles, family that live overseas, group FaceTime/Skype/Zoom/Houseparty with your friends – the opportunities are there to stay connected without being in physical contact. If you’re at home with family then take this time to do more activities together, card games, board games and puzzles are just some fun engaging activities suitable for all ages.
Cover picture: Celine Tyson by Bennie Gay & Marie Haustein