Updated: Sep 4
2020 is shaping up to be the year that took our breath away.
Masks stifle and save and the internet informs and enrages. What should have been a year of perfect vision is leaving us yearning for it to be in our hindsight. Record unemployment rates, phases that go backward and forwards, confirmed spikes and drops. All this uncertainty is more than many can handle.
However, that’s why self-care is of the utmost importance right now. The following is a guideline for positive changes during a difficult time, something to focus on when the world feels too chaotic, using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory as the framework.
Your body is your temple. There’s a reason this old adage still rings true today. You get one body, take care of it. First, make sure you’re staying hydrated. How much water one should drink a day has no one-size-fits-all answer, but the Mayo Clinic does a really good job of explaining the different variants to consider when figuring out your magic number.
Once you’ve got that down, start looking at what you’re eating. Don’t let yourself get bogged down with ever-changing fads. Whole People compiled a great list of healthy food blogs you can check out. Suggestions cover cooking on a budget, vegan diets, and more. Start with small changes and more will follow naturally.
Lastly, set your internal clock with a regular bedtime and rise time. Locking down your sleep-wake cycle is a serious game-changer. See what Healthline has to say about the importance of good sleep.
2. Safe and sound. The next thing to consider is personal, emotional, and financial security.
We learn about money long before we realize it and bad money habits can last a lifetime. Dave Ramsey is one of the foremost experts in financial health. If you’re drowning in debt or living paycheck to paycheck, check out the programs that have turned so many people into debt-free, steady-saving moneymakers!
Personal and emotional security is a bit more complex. Taking time to meditate, go for a walk, or journal are just some of the things one can do to feel more centered and work through an array of feelings. BetterHelp, an online therapy platform, is a great place to quickly find a counselor and start talking to someone who is trained to listen actively and deeply. Sometimes, just talking to someone makes all the difference. If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
3. Love is all you need. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how innate our need for each other is. We are social beings and need meaningful relationships. Though you may be sheltering in, it doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Use video communication platforms like Zoom and Google Meet to your advantage and make virtual dates with your friends and family. You can get creative and have movie nights, wine downs, and cooking parties in the comfort of your jammies!
Now that many states are in advanced phases of economic reopening, many people are able to enjoy various activities while practicing social distancing. If you’re up for it, The Washington Post has created a comprehensive list of state reopenings for easy reference. Whatever you do, stay connected and be safe!
4. Stay curious. Learning does not, nor should not, end after high school or college. The transitions that were forced upon many of us due to layoffs and furloughs caused stress and anxiety but also created room for new beginnings. Maybe now is the perfect time to learn that new skill your previous 50-hour workweek didn’t leave room or energy for. Coursera is an excellent online resource for earning certifications and degrees from world-renowned universities and companies. Many courses they offer are free, so there’s really no excuse to not invest in yourself and your dreams!
5. Sky’s the limit. Once we’ve mastered our bodies, emotions, relationships, and skills, we become unstoppable. We’re not saying things we don’t mean nor doing things we don’t believe in. At this place, we are imperfect and whole, authentic, and sincere. There are no shortcuts to get here, but it’s worth the effort. When we build this pyramid brick by brick, neither personal crisis nor global pandemic can overtake us.
Maybe 2020 isn’t looking like what you envisioned, but it may just be the change you needed. No one knows just how long things will be this way, nor what the long-lasting effects will be, but we have today and we can choose what we do with it. Let’s choose to start the climb towards who we were meant to be.
by Joanne Louis-Paul