Written By: Reneé Racioppi
As we are approaching the one year mark since the start of life’s restrictions due to COVID-19, it is clear that our homes have become a multitude of spaces. With most of us working remotely and our children learning over Zoom, ‘home’ is often being pushed aside. In certain circumstances, coming home is supposed to be the time when we relax and unwind, however, when we are integrating work and school into our homes, we often are unable to separate the two. Especially in a home filled with kids or pets, the walls may feel a little too small from time to time when we are not able to leave at our luxury anymore.
During a time when stress is heightened, those at risk for or struggling with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues (obsessive-compulsive disorder [OCD], anger control issues, family system issues, etc.), may have a more difficult time recharging and allowing themselves to hit the reset button when they really need it. It may seem impossible to get some alone time, which everyone needs every now and then.
Let’s not discredit the fact that this time at home has allowed parents to really bond with their kids or in their marriage, but we are all human and we need some time to ourselves added to the mix. People often have the misconception that being home means they need to prove themselves harder in work or in their role as a parent and tend to push themselves beyond limits that they normally would. As far from normal as we are in our society, we do still need to consider a routine that includes taking care of ourselves and putting ourselves first when we find that we really need it.
Our team came up with a list of ideas that will hopefully help you find some ways to connect with yourself during a time when you may feel needed by everyone else. We hope to encourage you to create that space and find even the smallest amounts of time to care for yourself and continue being the best version of you that you can be (even if your “best” looks different from time to time)!
- Opening a good book. Remember that book you bought and have been itching to start? Start it! You may not be able to sit down and read the entire thing in one sitting, but set aside at least 20 minutes when you can to read some pages. If you are unable to focus when you first start, try beginning with an audible book. This will allow you to do other things your mind may be running off to, but at least you are still doing something for you by listening along.
- Exercising. When some people see this word, they automatically feel pressured into doing the most exhausting routine and find they are unable to commit because it does not fit into their lifestyle, which is completely OK! Exercise can be anywhere from yoga to a walk around your neighborhood to cross fit to kickboxing. Whatever your body feels comfortable with is good enough. Taking this time to release some stress and get your blood flowing will not only create more energy for you throughout the day, but also make you feel better too.
- Taking a drive. With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus still upon us, some of us may not be as comfortable in public places. This results in us feeling like we are not able to leave our homes. When you feel like you need space and you have the luxury of doing so, get in your car and take a drive. You can listen to the radio or a podcast or a book or anything that eases your mind and even see some scenic routes along the way. This is a great way for people to still feel safe, but also getting out and enjoying the world around us.
- Being honest. Sometimes when we talk to our partners or our families about needing space, they will be more than happy to respect it. Not everyone is able to simply go inside a room of their home and shut the door. Rooms can be shared and our time could be interrupted. When we are honest with the people around us that we just need some time to ourselves, we are much more likely to be granted that.
- Writing. While for some, writing brings them back to their college essay days, for others, it can be very therapeutic. It has the opportunity to bring you to another world for a little while and can even release any pent up stress or anger you may have about your current situation. Sitting down and writing on a notepad or a computer or your phone or even a piece of a napkin can allow yourself to take a break and see new perspectives or create new realities as well.
- Face Mask. No, not the face masks that we have been wearing in public for so long, but a rejuvenating one. One that takes about 10-20 minutes and has all kinds of purposes to leave you feeling brighter or cleaner or healthier in any way.
There is the possibility that you may have either thought of these ideas or tried them already and found them to be unsuccessful. The main aspect to consider is that this space and time for yourself does not have to be hours (although, I am sure we would adore that), but just trying to set aside even a few minutes will make a world of a difference. Some of us need to take baby steps into a self-care routine, simply because our minds are too active and we need to train them to slow down and relax. Those increments of relaxation time will increase over time as long as we give effort as well. You may even find yourself creating a routine that lasts when this is all over!
For some, this may be easier said than done. If you’re struggling with overwhelming anxiety, depression, obsessive thoughts, bothersome behaviors, or anything that is making you uncomfortable, please reach out to us for a free consultation to see if we can be of help to you. Call us or text us at (908) 914-2624 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.