In the beginning, quarantine meant a brief escape from the nuisances of everyday life; cutting out commutes, a break from beauty routines, and a siesta from social obligations. However, as quarantine has dragged on and on we have found ourselves nostalgic for the good old days of rushing out the door to work and cramming into cramped bars. Between missing the way things used to be and worrying over what they might look like in the future, it is easy to let something as seemingly trivial as self-care fall by the wayside. However, studies have shown that engaging in self-care not only reduces stress but improves our overall quality of life. It is more important than ever to put yourself first and nail down your perfect quarantine self-care routine.
The Science Behind Self-Care
Self-care is not just charcuterie boards and lavender lotions. Self-care digs deeper and affects our mental and physical well-being.
When we do not practice self-care, the constant barrage of stress starts to accumulate. Instead of dealing with it head-on, we sweep the stress under the rug to deal with it “when we have time”. Unfortunately, if we do not make time to deal with our stress it will start to manifest in other ways. Studies have shown just how detrimental stress can be to our bodies. Chronic high levels of stress can lead to:
- Atrophy of the brain
- Debilitated cognition and learning
- Impaired memory
- Compromised immune system
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Rapid heart rate
- Changes in appetite
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Menstrual problems
- Trouble with libido
Skin and hair problems
Developing a self-care routine helps us work out and release that stress. Furthermore, we can give extra doses of TLC to the parts of our bodies that need it the most. Puzzles and word games can stretch your overworked brain. Home workout videos get you up off the couch and get those endorphins pumping. A skincare routine from your favorite beauty guru can clear up those bumps before your next Zoom call. When you take care of your body, your body can take care of you.
If you have been struggling with your mental health in quarantine, just know that you are not alone. In May 2020, The Washington Post reported that nearly half of Americans had reported that coronavirus was harming their mental health. Our routines were interrupted. We were cut off from our friends, families, and coworkers. We are living in constant uncertainty.
In our work-obsessed society, taking a break feels taboo or lazy. We have conditioned ourselves to believe “these five minutes have to be spent doing one of the million things on my to-do list!” When we are constantly pushing and pushing to deliver instead of taking a break when we need it, we can actually be doing ourselves a disservice. We are perpetuating our own burnout and delivering lackluster work. Instead, that quick break can give us space and clarity to reignite and perform. We cannot take care of others if we are not taking care of ourselves. We cannot give 100% when our tanks are running on empty.
Self-care can help us reclaim our minds. Starting each day with a mindful practice such as meditation can help us recenter and reconnect our bodies and minds. Unplugging and getting enough sleep gives our minds time to recover from the challenges of the day. Even just creating a routine to follow helps us regain a sense of normalcy.
Ten Things You Can Do to Promote Self-Care
Now that you know why you should be practicing self-care, let’s dive into how we can do it. Customize your self-care routine to what you need. Listen to your body, tap into your mind, and really put some thought into what you want to gain. The beauty of self-care is there is no shortage of benefits to reap. Your self-care routine can deliver peace of mind, body positivity, new skills, and even your dream space. Some of our favorite ways to practice self-care include:
- Investing in quality loungewear: Wearing sweats during our work calls was fun at first, but our stained college sweatshirts were in desperate need of some upgrading. That is why we keep grabbing for our Crescentt loungewear and pajama sets. These sets are made from high-quality materials and come in a variety of colors and cuts to suit all body types. The best part? Besides being decadently comfortable, they are made out of feel-good sustainable materials. That gives an entirely new meaning to the phrase “look good, feel good!”
- Adopt a new hobby: You know that list of things you always wanted to try “once you had time?” Well, quarantine has given us more time than we probably want! This is the time to find a new hobby or even hobbies. Try them all - bake, knit, paint, anything your little heart desires! The American Institute of Stress suggests that some of the best hobbies for de-stressing include puzzles, dancing, and doodling! Taking up new hobbies helps us unwind, develop new skills, and create a routine for ourselves.