Filtered sunlight cast over a table with an open book, a stack of books, a plant, and a cup and saucer holding dark liquid

These are very challenging times we are living in right now. The last three months have been difficult, to say the least, with everyone on lockdown due to COVID-19 … the invisible enemy.

Our relationships changed overnight with social distancing, unable to physically visit family members unless they lived in your household. Hugs were a no-no unless you lived with the person. I imagine introvert personalities said ‘YES … I don’t have to deal with people anymore’. Extroverts on the other hand probably had a meltdown without human contact. I consider myself a combination of both.  My life for years has been extremely busy and productive, so the first month of lockdown, I was finally starting to feel rested and filling up my vessel.

I enjoyed my two coffees in the morning at home quietly. I read novels that had gathered dust for years. My interest in writing dwindled though. Groceries were ordered and delivered and picked up curbside. One tank of gas for my car lasted two months.

Family and friend visits were by telephone, email, text or FaceTime. Not quite the same, right?! But feeling grateful we had access to all this technology.

Into the ninth week I ventured out of my safe zone to grocery shop every two weeks with mask on and hand sanitizer in car.  The first time I ventured out I was a little nervous and anxious of leaving my safe zone. I experienced many emotions good and bad.  I couldn’t wait to get home and relax … and feel safe.

But I was very conscious of good self-care despite having to deal with so many losses associated with COVID-19.

There are four components that are important in self-care and I will highlight them here with the strategies I use to stay healthy during these troubling times:  Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual.

PHYSICAL
I wash my hands many times a day.
I walk up and down our long driveway every two days – foot issues restrict me from doing more activity.
I hug my spouse and my pet kids.
I practised social distancing when I finally went to grocery store and visited family.
I eat healthy and nutritious meals and drink lots of lemon water for hydration.
I developed a workout regime – yoga, weight training, walk.
I shower, get dressed, and put make-up on every day, as if I was going on an outing.
I get adequate sleep and the first six weeks, enjoyed a daily power nap.

MENTAL
I am reading lots of books – novels, autobiography, history.
I practise deep breathing and do ten minutes of meditation every day.
I am cognizant of the importance of sticking to a routine.
I learn something new, for example hydrating ginger, planting a herb garden.
I don’t spend much time on social media and limit myself in watching news.

EMOTIONAL
I call loved ones (family and friends).
I write in my journal (sporadically).
I watch YouTube funny videos and movies.
I make a gratitude list.
I hold space for my good and bad feelings.
I listen to music (genres that I wasn’t interested in pre-pandemic).

SPIRITUAL
I pray for my family and friends to stay healthy and safe.
I pray for a vaccine.
I smudge my home once a week to get rid of negative feelings.
I sit in nature.
I listen to my church service on YouTube.
I telephone a couple of ladies in their 90s.

I hope you all will make a conscious effort to practise good self-care and know to take one day at a time. You may tarry in the past …. Go to the future but don’t stay there…. For you will miss today.

Audrey Stringer

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