Is self care even possible during a pandemic?

This pandemic is turning out to more than any of us could have imagined!  It is also beyond pervasive as it affects all of humanity. This Covid -19 virus will change our external and internal worlds in some way forever.  When we get to the other side, I hope we are left with a kinder,  more grounded world  for everyone to inhabit.

Yes, it is important to acknowledge the pain, and for some, it is more devastating than for others!  We are all affected  in different ways and are managing the best we can.  Just know there is no right or wrong way to do this.  Perhaps the following suggestions can bring some sort of comfort to the struggles of this challenging time.

Recognize and name your feelings

It is important to identify or name your feelings with kindness and curiosity. This helps in various ways, one important aspect is that it guides us to identify what we need now! If I am feeling lonely, my needs will be different than if I am feeling overwhelmed. Even if we are unable to meet our needs all of the time, it is still helpful to name them.  Remember no judgment, just notice what feelings are there for you with gentle awareness.

Identify your needs

If we are feeling angry, we could go scream in a towel. If I feel overwhelmed,  maybe I can go sit in the sun for a few minutes— or in the bathroom by my self if I am a mom trying to work and homeschool my kids— I can ask for help or limit news exposure?  Nonetheless, it will be different for all of us depending on our personal situation.   Sometimes we look to food for comfort or, don’t eat at all. This is ok too, as we are all human!

Be kind and curious of how you react or respond to what is happening. If you are hungry, a snack or meal will meet your need for nourishment. Likewise, if you feel tired, rest is a good fit. For those stuck at home, there may be a bit more space to connect with ourselves.  As we check in,  we have a better chance of giving ourselves what we truly need or at least give ourselves lots of TLC if we can’t — this is self care!

Lets open our hearts to ourselves and others

Some of my clients, friends and family are surprised by their experience —less stress due to less running around which allows time for reading, cooking, time with kids. For others, the stress and anxiety are unbearable,  leading to heightened and unwelcome coping behaviors.  However, no matter where you land, know that you are doing the best you can with what you have at the time.  And remember, that among all the chaos and suffering, there are ways to soothe ourselves and others,  even if for a few minutes a day.

In his book Resilient  Rick Hanson, Ph.D, teaches us to meet our 3 basic needs, which are: safety, satisfaction and connection. It is easier than you think. This could be a hug to help a child feel safe or buying groceries for an elderly neighbor. Having a satisfying meal or finishing a task.  Playing with a pet or calling a long lost friend for connection. It is in the small daily actions that we will find or give comfort.  Be kind to yourself and others, acknowledge where you are and allow yourself to be human, we are all in this together!

Stay safe,

Silvina

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Hi, I’m Silvina Cox, M.P.H, R.D.N. As a Registered Dietitian and Intuitive Eating Coach, I combine the science of nutrition with weight-neutral best practices that honor you and your body’s wisdom. It is my joy to help you find vibrant health, your natural weight, and lasting peace with food and your body.