What the Coronavirus Pandemic Taught Me About Self-Care

Before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, I thought I had a pretty good self-care routine. I always aimed for a healthy diet, tried to exercise or at least get in my 10,000 steps, and have a good skincare routine. Then Coronavirus hit, I went home from university, and this routine went out the window. 

 

Along with many others I was both stressed and bored eating out of the fridge. I found a new love for biscuits which I didn’t know was possible and gave up on doing any sort of skin care routine. And in addition to eating more biscuits I was not exercising so inevitably became ‘a bit more cuddly’. 

 

Halfway through lockdown I decided I was going to get back into a routine, to fit with this weird new way of life. Creating this new routine was so important for me because it gave me structure when there was literally no structure to my day at all. I put a lot more time into improving my mindset and adding joy to my day when everything seemed pretty bleak. 

 

Step one is a slightly controversial one; I stopped watching the news. It made me so depressed and scared that one day I just decided that I wasn’t going to watch anymore. I still checked the news online and actively searched for happy or interesting stories which, had NOTHING to do with Coronavirus. 

 

I also started doing some more cooking. This became a huge mood booster for me. I find it incredibly therapeutic and satisfying. Granted, the cooking didn’t help my waistline, but it did make me and my parents happy! 

 

The third thing I did was exercise. I started simple with some 6-minute workouts I found online to kick start my endorphins. From there I started doing yoga which I used to love and, as it turns out, I still do. The mix of stretching and meditation made me so relaxed and helped put me in a better mindset for the rest of the day. 

 

With the possibility of heading back into another lockdown, if you’re in need of a self-care upgrade, here are my suggestions. 

 

  1. Get into a good sleep schedule. When you feel sleepy go to sleep. Try to make sure this is before midnight to ensure you get enough sleep without wasting the next day by sleeping in till midday.Waking up naturally between 8 – 9.30am is perfect because you still have enough time in the day to do what you want, while feeling rested and restored. 
  2. Have a decent sized breakfast. You’ve heard it before, but the more sustainable your breakfast, the less you will snack throughout the day. I really like having eggs on toast in the morning.  For a sustainable breakfast you want products high in fibre like oats, wholegrain cereals, wholegrain breads and dried fruits. Eggs also have a slow-release of energy which keeps you fuller for longer just like these high fibre products. 
  3. Get into exercising. Whether it’s going for a run, walk, cycle or doing some circuits, yoga or Zumba any exercise is better than none. I like to do my workouts in the morning so I can quickly hop in the shower because I hate that sweaty feeling. 
  4. Make sure you keep a good skincare routine. It seems obvious but as soon as you stop looking after your skin it can be more noticeable. During lockdown, I pretty much stopped looking after my skin and only washed it in the shower. After a week my skin looked dull and lifeless so I re-started my cleansing routine and around a week later my skin was getting back to normal. I like to wash my face every morning with a simple face wash before moisturizing. In the evening I use a cleanser and toner to clean before applying eye cream and night cream. Twice a week I also like to use a face scrub and a face mask to make sure my skin is looking its best. 
  5. Drink water, at least two liters a day. I have to admit that I am really bad at this, but I do try! Water is so good for your skin and makes you snack less. Often people think they are hungry, but in fact are just thirsty so drinking more will help reduce the amount you eat. 
  6. Set aside some ‘me time.’ I think this is the most important thing I learnt in lockdown. Giving yourself some alone time to relax and do whatever you want is fantastic. Whether you cuddle up with a good book, watch your favourite TV program, meditate or do some cooking, this time to yourself will make you feel more content, happier and calmer. 

 

Ultimately these are just suggestions and a self-care routine is always about doing what is best for you.