It is now a well-known fact that we’re stuck at home. The pandemic has changed our routines, habits and our motivation to the opposite end of the spectrum. Every dimension of our life, be it physical, mental, financial or social has taken a massive toll!
Everyone has been directly hit by the lockdown. For women nevertheless, the lockdown has created additional challenges with little coping resources left. Some physical challenges that women are facing are weight gain, irregular menstrual cycle and sleep disturbances. Renzo (2020) found that 48.6% of women have reported weight gain during the coronavirus pandemic. Another study by University of Essex found that young women (19-30-year-old) are more likely to face lockdown loneliness, depression and anxiety than men 2 . Here are some self-care strategies that’ll help women take care of themselves while at home.
1. Nutrition and Exercise
No matter how much we’re craving it, we should stay away from a fried and unhealthy food and incorporate essential vitamins, proteins in our diet. If you’re suffering from a deficiency, this is the right time to take additional supplements. Further, we need to move our bodies every single day to feel alive and give ourselves those rush of endorphins. Physical activity also helps in better sleep and is linked to regular menstrual cycles and reducing stress. It can be difficult to motivate yourself to workout, specially if there is less space in your house. At those times, make an energizing playlist and try to do different types of workouts every day. Some good options are yoga, skipping, cardio, dancing or simply a brisk walk in the park. You can even workout on video call with your bestfriend for some added gossip!
2. Reclaiming Hobbies
We are all working from home and it’s tough to find time to carry out a hobby. But we need to take out at least one hour in our day where we are not connected to the internet and learn a new hobby or pick up an old one. These could be cooking, gardening, playing an instrument, painting, etc. In the long run, these hobbies become a part of ourselves and enhances our skillset.
3. Taking a Timeout
This is the most important tip! People assume that since we’re all sitting at home, we are free all the time and hence our work load has multiplied exponentially. We get work related calls, emails and texts at odd hours causing unnecessary stress and no place for solitude. This is where we need to remind ourselves to take a timeout, switch off our phones and just be with ourselves. Reducing our exposure to unsettling news and happenings is imperative as well.
4. Strengthen Bonds
Usually we’re so caught up in our work that we hardly get time to spend with our family and friends. Use the lockdown to your advantage and bond with your parents and siblings through games, movies, etc. Reconnecting with old friends, seeing old pictures and discussing memories is also a wonderful stress buster. Here, it’s important that we move beyond the surface level and ask our friends and family about their feelings of distress and anxiety due to the lockdown and help them seek help if they are not able to cope up!
5. Stop Comparing
See another person’s achievements on social media can make you feel like you’re not good enough or make you realise that you spent the whole day watching Netflix while other people are attending workshops and learning new things. We need to realise that we’re in the middle of a pandemic and nobody shares their insecurities on social media. Further, stop comparing our ‘down days’ to others and stop being so hard on ourselves.
6. Pamper Yourself
Use this time to contemplate, to write what you’re grateful for or to meditate and breathe deep. You can also organize and declutter things around you to relieve stress. Another great way to reduce anxiety is to take a long bath and indulge in skincare. Writing down positive affirmations to remind yourself that this time will pass!
Lastly, if none of these strategies seem to work and you’re demotivated to do anything for yourself, it’s best to out professional help via. counsellors, therapists and other mental health professionals. Let’s pledge to make mental health and self-care our priority!
- Renzo, L. D. & Gualitieri, P. (2020) Eating habits and lifestyle changes during COVID- 19 lockdown: an Italian survey, Journal of Translational Medicine, 18, 229. Retrieved from- https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12967-020-02399-5
- Oppenheim, M. (2020) Young women ‘most likely to suffer depression, anxiety and loneliness in lockdown’. Independent.co.uk Retrieved from- https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/lockdown-young-women-mental-health-coronavirus-depression-anxiety-a9657981.html
- Nieman, D. (2019) The compelling link between physical activity and the body's defense system. Journal of Sports and Health Science, Volume 8 (3), 201-217. Retrieved from- https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254618301005