Me: “How are you doing?”
Colleague: “I’m managing. I’m no longer saying ‘I’m doing well’ or ‘I’m good’ because that’s not the truth. I’m tired of pretending.”
This is how a casual conversation with a colleague, who I hadn’t spoken with since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, began this week. She told me that while she’s grateful that she and her husband are healthy, the lack of activity and human interaction due to the lockdown in Toronto have significantly impacted her well-being. Later on in our chat, she admitted that she wasn’t taking care of herself.
What is Self-Care?
According to verywellmind.com, “Self-care describes a conscious act one takes in order to promote their own physical, mental, and emotional health.” The authors describe five self-care practices that everyone can take to improve their lives. They include: Physical Self-Care, Social Self-Care, Mental Self-Care, Spiritual Self-Care and Emotional Self-Care.
Grading Myself: How committed am I to these five practices today?
Physical Self-Care: 6/10.
My exercise regimen is inconsistent. There are weeks when I work out for five consecutive days and there are weeks when I don’t do anything. I’ve also been much less motivated to take my dogs for the long walks they crave over the past two weeks. The only reason I didn’t grade myself lower is because I practice suspension yoga. I stretch daily to prevent my back and legs from tightening up, which is critical when I’m sitting at my desk for most of the day.
Social Self-Care: 4/10.
I don’t speak to my friends and family as often as I did prior to the pandemic. Part of this is due to the fact that I can’t see them, but if I’m being honest, I have not put in as much effort as I could. This is partly due to the fact that I spend most of my weekdays parked in front of a computer on video chats and am too tired to talk to anyone at the end of the day. Now that I just read what I wrote, I realize that I’m making excuses for myself!
Mental Self-Care: 8/10.
This is an area where I think I’m doing well. I really enjoy blogging and sharing my perspectives about emotional intelligence. I also went skiing this week for the first time since the ban on ski hills was lifted in Ontario. This was and still is my favourite activity. Nothing makes me feel as good as being on the slopes on a sunny winter day, or under the lights in the evening.
Spiritual Self-Care: 8/10
I meditate every day. Oftentimes, multiple times per day. I meditate to calm myself when I’m feeling stressed or anxious. I meditate to relax my mind prior to going to sleep at night. My only regret is that I only started meditating two years ago.
Emotional Self-Care: 7/10
This has been very hard for me during the pandemic, but I’m grateful for Dr. Andrew Howlett who has helped me cope through stressful moments in my life, particularly over the past two years. Having someone who constantly reminds me that it’s okay to feel how I feel has been extremely helpful.
Now over to you!
I’m curious to know how you would grade yourself across these five self-care practices. What are your strengths? What are your improvement areas? Will you make a plan to address those improvement areas? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My plan is to re-commit to taking my dogs for longer walks, add in at least two workouts per week and set consistent times in my calendar to phone my family and friends. Ideally, the next time someone asks how I’m doing, my response will be better than 6.6/10.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to call my mom.
I have depression and this pandemic is hard on it. I am a basic loner but when I was forced not to see anyone I had to rethink that one. I try and stay in touch with my loved ones but find there is really nothing to talk about. Losing both my pets was devastating especially when I couldn’t be with one of them at the end. I now have to new fur baby cats and that has helped me some. So I would say I’m a 4/10.
Thank you Donna for being vulnerable.
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