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5 Ways to Practice Self-Care During the Pandemic

It’s a strange time. A pandemic has completely changed people’s everyday lives, and the end is nowhere in sight. At a time where the world seems to be out of your control, practicing self-care and protecting your mental health is even more essential. Here are five ways to incorporate self-care into your everyday routine during quarantine. 

Take a break from the bad news

Spending your free time glued to your phone just to read about the latest problematic tweets, rising COVID-19 cases, or other troubling stories has become the new normal. And while we should be be aware of important issues, it’s also important to give yourself a break if the endlessness of those issues affects your mental health.

Take a second away from the news. Take a day or even a few days if you need to. A constant stream of negative news will inevitably lead to you feeling more burned out. Recognize that it is okay to take time for yourself now and then without worrying about the rest of the world. 

Do activities outdoors

Whether it be a socially distanced picnic or a hike through your local state park, there are plenty of activities you can do while keeping yourself and others safe. Think of the activities that you usually enjoy, like reading or listening to podcasts, and take it outside. If your schedule is busy, try to take your work outside instead.

A change in scenery is nice when the majority of us often stay indoors these days. And with that extra Vitamin D you’ll be absorbing from the sun, your mental health will get a well-needed boost. 

Check in with your loved ones 

While we may not be able to be physically together with loved ones these days, we have plenty of apps to choose from when calling others—Facetime, Skype, and even Zoom if you’re feeling extra professional. 

Make an effort to check in with your closest friends and family every week or two weeks. These routine calls will give you something to look forward to during the week and remind you that you’re in this together with the people you love, especially as the autumn and winter holidays roll in.

Get consistent exercise 

Exercising consistently has been shown in studies to increase endorphins and boost your mental health. And if running or doing push-ups isn’t your cup of tea, other kinds of movement, like yoga or Pilates, are great ways to get into the habit of moving your body. 

Having trouble motivating yourself to exercise consistently? Call up your S/O or a friend to be your fitness buddy! Now you guys can keep each other accountable and work up a sweat together. Attempting a fitness challenge together (Chloe Ting’s 2-week shred anyone?) is a great way to keep both social and active. 

Write down what you’re grateful for

Whether it’s in a gratitude journal or on a piece of paper you have lying around the house, the process of physically writing down the things in your life that you show thanks toward is a great way to put yourself in a more positive headspace. 

Once you sit down and start brainstorming, you’ll find that there are more positive things in your life than you realize. It’s easy to take these things for granted when the world outside is so messy. But jotting down what you’re grateful for can be an easy way to shift from focusing on the negative to the positive. 

Start by trying one of these steps and see how a little sunshine, human connection, and introspection goes a long way. Self-care is never selfish, and it’s more important now than ever. 


Photo by Laura Chouette

Elisa Xu

Elisa is a student at Washington University in St. Louis with a passion for highlighting social issues and the importance of mental health and wellness. When not writing, she enjoys playing with her corgi, taking photos, and eating good food with friends.