With all the chaos that has been ensuing over the past year, it is more important than ever that we are truly taking care of ourselves. Conversations surrounding mental health and self-care have skyrocketed, with 1 in 4 adults reporting symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder in 2020 as opposed to 1 in 10 adults pre-pandemic. Unfortunately, these statistics do not come as a surprise – with social distancing, job loss, political issues and a recession all on top of life’s everyday struggles, it more than makes sense that we are feeling this way.
So, what can we do?
What can we do to maintain a healthy mental state of mind when some days it feels like the world is falling apart around us? I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard the term “self-care” about a million times since last March. I think I’ve heard it often enough that I have forgotten the basics of self-care and that simple things like going on walks really do wonders for the brain. It’s so easy to have self-care go out the window when you feel like you barely have a second to breathe each day, but incorporating self-care into your daily routine can be monumental for your mental health.
What even is self-care?
Self-care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular, during periods of stress. Here at Community Reach Center, we have more than 500 employees who each work day in and day out to enhance the health of our community – whether that’s providing therapy services at our outpatient offices, working in our detox or residential facilities, obtaining grants to ensure our doors remain open or spending their days in schools to be accessible to students. I couldn’t think of a better group of people to pick their brains on self-care tips during a pandemic. I enjoyed these tips so much in fact, I had to share with you! Regardless of your age, gender, career, relationship status, etc. – there’s something for everyone on this list. I really hope you find these useful and can implement some of them in your weekly, if not daily, routines. And remember, you are not alone. We are always here to help!
Let’s hear the tips!
Jenna B., Program Manager
- “I do a lot of puzzles and am currently working on a 4,000 piece one! It completely takes the stress away and helps me focus 100% on something other than work. I think of puzzles as my meditation.”
- “Video games are a fun way to relax for me! My current favorite is Zelda: Breathe of the Wild. Zelda in particular is nostalgic for me as well, so going back to that franchise over and over brings happiness and good memories.”
Michele W., Therapist
- “I enjoy yoga, tai chai and hiking. I also spend quality time with my husband and talk to my family and friends.”
- “I bring a compassionate view toward myself and others. I also read inspiring books, look at history for hope and learn from other hard periods to help with our shared difficulties.”
Ryan B., Program Manager
- “I do nightly meditation cards with my kids. It keeps it short and light but they are pretty effective.”
- “I play guitar and just try to focus on the moment.”
- “I do HIIT workouts. Being in your body makes such a huge difference to my stress levels.”
- “I practice gratitude and service to others.”
Cameron C., Program Manager
- “I’m a religious person who enjoys pondering the mysteries of the universe from a Christian perspective. I lean into this often to help me cope stressors, recognizing that I both am part of an amazing redemptive story about love and reconciliation that is bigger than me while also embracing that my role in life is to help that story unfold. It feels cheesy to talk about with people who aren’t also on the religious/spiritual side, but it’s a hugely important aspect of my life and gives me an amazing amount of fuel to push into difficult situations.”
- “I am constantly trying to get my wife, kids and friends to be more into pc gaming, mountain biking, science fiction or anything that has to do with psychology. Basically, embracing my hobbies while connecting with meaningful people is the best way I cope.”
Andrea P., Law Clerk
- “My favorite things to do for self-care are yoga and watching cheesy reality shows in my pajamas.”
Vanessa A., Therapist
- “I set a strong boundary during my lunch hour to not work or check emails to help me disconnect.”
- “On Sundays, I pick a masterclass (this website where celebrities and well-known thinkers share their specialty) and listen to the entire thing while I meal prep, clean and get ready for the week. It’s a fun way for me to start my week by learning something new about random topics. A few favorites have been voice acting, how to negotiate, economics, writing for television and how to write a film score!”
Jason L., Communication and Design Specialist
- “I love to work around my house – doing remodeling, landscaping projects, gardening or just going outside and playing ball with my dogs. Any way to refocus my mind and have some mental downtime.”
- “I love to roller/ice skate to clear my mind and get some physical activity in.”
Evan N., Event and Outreach Specialist
- “I stretch several times per week.”
- “When I get stressed, I like to listen to my favorite music (Grateful Dead, Classic Rock, etc.).”
Alexandra P., Marketing Specialist
- “I like to FaceTime my friends and watch romantic comedies or Friends!”