Self-care is more important than ever as the coronavirus spreads around the country and the globe. One of the strategies to limit its reach is social distancing. This means stopping all unnecessary movement and it’s a key solution to preventing the spread of the coronavirus. It limits the number of people you come into contact with on a daily basis.
Social distancing can feel isolating, or it can be overwhelming because you suddenly face limited personal space in a crowded household. Of course, it’s for a good reason: keeping at-risk people safe from losing their lives to the disease.
Practicing self-care at this time can ease your anxieties and improve your chance of coping with difficulties related to restricted movement, cancellations and work disruptions. Read on for a huge list of self-care tips for almost every type of person. Whether you’re itching to socialize, working from home with kids, or you’ve become a nervous wreck, we’re here to help.
Why we need to take social distancing seriously
You’ve probably heard the phrase “flatten the curve” in the media. Early distancing action ensures that we can prevent the disease from spreading exponentially, showing a graph that skyrockets. By limiting contact with others, the graph’s curve will flatten out and the number of new cases will level off.
Many states and cities have already implemented measures to ensure we keep our distance. These include travel restrictions, school closures, cancellations of major sporting events and performances, limits to the number of people that can gather in a crowd and closures of other popular social meeting places like movie theaters, cafes, bars and restaurants. This will not only protect people’s lives, it will also lessen strain on hospital and healthcare facility resources.
How to prevent the spread of COVID-19
The other key ways to prevent the spread of the virus include washing your hands regularly, avoiding shaking hands and keeping about six feet of distance from others, especially if you show symptoms. Check regularly on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
Monitor your daily health to see if you show symptoms and need to get tested, especially if you’ve been in close contact with others. It is also important to keep in mind that people carrying the Coronavirus may not show symptoms for two to fourteen days after they’ve been exposed to the virus. That means even if you’re not feeling ill and you’re not in a high-risk category, you could still pass the disease to someone who is at risk.
If you show symptoms, you should self-quarantine by remaining at home for a fourteen day period. Use a separate bedroom and bathroom from your family members and roommates, if possible. Also watch out for other points of contact like door handles, dishes, devices and appliances.
If you start to show shortness of breath or if you show symptoms and you’re in a high-risk category because you have respiratory issues, a weakened immune system or you’re over age 65, contact your doctor immediately.
Quick tip: Hydration is key to preventing illness. Learn more about your daily hydration needs in our guide.
Get the guide: How to Rehydrate
Tips for staying at home without stress
You might feel trapped or stuck right now because of an area-wide quarantine for the coronavirus. Here are some ways to make it more bearable.
- Stock-up. But don’t stockpile unnecessarily. Take only what you need for two weeks.
- Use delivery services for supplies, food and meals. It’s a safer way for businesses to operate, and it’s convenient.
- Plan healthy meals. This will help you both ration food and meet your nutritional needs.
- Stay hydrated. Meet your daily consumption by keeping a Healthy Human water bottle at your side.
- Schedule your day. Create routines if you’re working from home. When you have a plan and you stick to it, you’ll feel you accomplished something and the hours won’t all run together.
- Take planned breaks. Use the Pomodoro Technique for keeping your productivity high.
- Do at home workouts. Staying active and fit can be tough at home, but it will help keep you from feeling sluggish and anxious.
- Schedule in time for the chores. The dishes will build up and so will the laundry. Don’t let the clutter take over your space.
- Maintain a healthy dose of news. Don’t overdo it.
Self-care tips when you feel isolated
If you live alone, you might feel overwhelmingly lonely as different areas start to lock down. Here are some strategies for handsfree intimacy.
- Reach out to distant friends and family. You don’t have to have a reason to check in on people you haven't talked to in a while.
- Spend quality time with pets. Our animal friends are great companions. Enjoy your extra time with them.
- Journal your thoughts. Sometimes we need a sounding board and there’s no one around to talk to. Put your pen to the page and do a brain dump.
- Share your daily accomplishments on social media. Milestones and benchmarks are always worth sharing. And they inspire others. Did you learn a new trick for cleaning your refrigerator? Tell someone about it.
- Date the old-fashioned way. If the coronavirus has put a damper on your dating life, just take it slow. Get to know the person you’re dating better through long conversations in chat or on the phone.
Self-care tips for staying at home with family or roommates
Yes, you love them, but suddenly you're spending time with them much more often. Here are ways to keep the household free of drama.
- Respect each other’s boundaries. If you’re sharing a small apartment or home, be mindful of the level of noise you produce and the times when others might need or want to use the bathroom, shower, laundry machine, kitchen or television.
- Practice gratitude. Even if someone seems to be impinging on your space, remember why you appreciate that person.
- Divide chores and housework evenly.
- Be understanding of each other’s feelings. We are not living through normal situations. This can trigger all kinds of emotions. Empathize with others.
- Communication is key. Talk through your feelings, your preferences and your general attitudes toward the changes all around us. Make sure everyone’s perspective gets acknowledged.
Self-care strategies for working from home with kids
Kids: they’re your pride and joy, but oh so needy. So when you have to juggle work, having the kids at home and your sanity, it can create a challenge. Here are some ways to make it through this.
- Tell your boss. Make sure your employer understands your situation.
- Write out a schedule. Stick to achievable goals. Track your kids’ progress on a creative achievement board.
- Plan activities that last at least 25 minutes. Use this amazing list of activities for ideas.
- Keep your focus on education. School closures mean a lot of kids might fall behind on important lessons. Frame activities around learning goals.
- Delegate responsibility. If your kids are old enough to help out around the house, get them involved.
- Preserve time to yourself. After the kids fall to sleep or go down for a nap, take a self-care break by doing something enjoyable. Don’t go the “all work and no play” route.
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Self-care strategies when you’re worried about money
The coronavirus is hitting people in the gig, service, arts and entertainment industries hard. Here are some ways for you to seek help and stretch your dollars when you need it most.
- Apply for unemployment. The federal government in the U.S. has made benefit packages during the coronavirus through unemployment. Research how to apply for unemployment in your state.
- Research the aid in your area. Check this resource guide for financial support resources.
- Create a personal budget. By understanding exactly where every penny you spend goes, you’ll be able to smartly distribute your funds.
- Consider crowdfunding. Reach out to others by raising money through crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe, Patreon and Kickstarter.
- Find community resources. If you’re an artist or a freelancer, brows this great list of helpful resources.
Self-care tactics for dealing with anxiety and depression
Living through situations with uncertain outcomes can heighten our anxiety, and that’s OK. It’s best to acknowledge these feelings using mindfulness strategies, so you don't feel overwhelmed.
- Practice mindful breathing. Use this 3-minute mindful breathing activity.
- Ground yourself. Stay present in the moment with these grounding techniques.
- Try to get enough sleep. Unwind for half an hour before bed by meditating or reading a book. But if you can’t fall asleep, don’t lie in bed awake. Get up and do something until you feel tired.
- Draw away your stress. Pick up a pen and sketch pad for some meditative drawing.
- Surround yourself with the things you love. This is especially true on social media. Seek out the inspiring, positive messages.
- Connect with others on a deeper level. Try these deep conversation prompts.
- Take excellent care of your health. Avoid drugs and alcohol. Follow your doctor’s guidelines if you need to take medication or practice routine exercises.
Self-care tips when you feel bored and restless
Too much time on your hands? Craving attention? For extroverts and A-type personalities, the coronavirus outbreak might be especially hard to cope with. Here are some ideas and challenges for you to keep moving and shaking.
- Host online talent events. So maybe you work in the entertainment world or you love public speaking and all of your events got cancelled. Put that great material online! Invite people and make it live. While you’re at it, set up a Patreon account to earn some money for your brilliant work.
- Host online meet-ups in Zoom. Invite a bunch of your friends. Make it a karaoke night.
- Network online and meet new people. Search for active Facebook groups and other online communities where you can vent, chat, connect and even land new business deals.
- Form an online group. Choose your topic, lead the way and keep the convos flowing.
- Do something helpful for others. We feel more productive when we’re helping others. If you sew, there is a call to make medical masks for healthcare workers.
- Tackle big projects. You know, the ones that have sat on the back burner for years. Write that novel. Do a NaNoWriMo.
- Deep clean around the house. It's just in time for spring cleaning. Share the results online.
- Pick up a new hobby. Do it really well. There are loads of instructional videos online.
- Take online courses. Find Moocs available on Udemy, Coursera, Lynda, and more! Use this time to upgrade your skills.
- Get creative. Think outside of the box and create a collection of recipes, a painting, a collage or a new invention. Stretch your imagination.
- Get outside to the National Parks. See how you like socially distant hiking. The National Park Service just suspended entry fees during the coronavirus lockdown.
Now it's your turn.
Tell us how you cope!
We're living through very unexpected challenges. But together, we'll stay strong and survive this. Tell us what #selfcare strategies you're using while #socialdistancing on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
The first step to self-care is to make sure you've had enough food, water and sleep. We can help with hydration.