January 14, 2021
Monu Khanna, MD, ABIM, ABOM
The calendar has flipped, and we have started the New Year. As we all hope for a better year ahead of us, we continue to face the reality of COVID-19. Good thing the vaccine is here, and as it gets rolled out to the general population, we will hopefully be heading towards a more normal 2021. But we are not there yet, and with the recent holiday gatherings and news of a more infectious strain, we cannot let our guard down as the concern of numbers rising lingers on.
If you are stuck indoors due to work/school from home or must self-isolate after exposure, these are a few suggestions to help you practice self-care strategies during quarantine. Self-care prioritizes taking better care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Keep it simple, easy and practice it daily before the quarantine fifteen get to you.
- Invest in yourself – Easier said than done, yes, but there is no better time to act on this. Enlist the thoughts that make you happy, the things on your wish list that you have always postponed due to lack of time. Maybe it was reading a book, listening to a podcast, learning a new skill, pursuing a hobby. Think no further, you have the time now and use it wisely.
- Zone out – Put a pause to the endless chatter going on around you. It’s okay to take a break for your sanity. It’s ok if you want to detoxify your social media accounts to focus on your inner thoughts about what matters to you and your family. Believe in the power of a catnap and indulge yourself and notice how refreshed you will feel.
- Exercise to stay happy – We all know how exercising can help elevate our mood by the release of happy hormones, use it to your benefit to drive away those quarantine blues. Jump roping, free weights, jogging on the spot are all options that you can be creative with even when confined to a room.
- Remember your WHY – Try and spend some time trying to self-reflect and go deeper into the quest of your WHY. Think about why it is important for you to keep your mind strong and body healthy, explore your purpose, try to connect with your inner self and dig further into questions that matter to you.
- Declutter and organize your space – Those stuffed closets that have been calling for your attention and the piling stacks of paper that needs to be sorted and shredded, try and get to it. It is therapeutic…letting go sets the mind free and opens space for more thoughtthink power. If nothing else is possible, clean up your email inbox and unsubscribe from all those mailing lists that do not interest you anymore.
- Indulge in some self-care – Be it taking care of your skin, that neck massage with aromatic oils to help melt away the stress that you are clinging on to in your upper back and shoulders. Practice some tai-chi or stretching exercise on the mat, the options are limitless
- Cook up a storm – Whether you are a beginner or an acclaimed chef, sharpen and build up on your cooking skills, try that healthy recipe, bring it to the table, who knows…maybe there is an undiscovered master chef or great baker hiding in you. Word of caution here, focus on the quality of the foods that you are indulging in…you don’t want to dig into junk food which may taste good initially but will leave you farther from your goals of improved health. Keep it real: real food made with real nourishing ingredients.
- Choose a positive attitude – We cannot direct the wind, but we can easily adjust the sails, focus on the solutions, not the problems. Look for the silver lining, journaling helps. Make it a habit to read or listen to inspiring and motivational content that keeps you uplifted.
- Highlight gratitude – Make it a daily practice to reflect on the things that are going well, be thankful for the friend who calls and checks on you, for the family that provides for you while you stay away from them. More importantly, honor your mind and body that are your closest companions with you as you self-isolate from others.
As you go through your day, know that your wellness is sacred. Take those 20 minutes a day to breathe, to talk to someone, to listen, laugh, and live as you continue to mask.
Remember the goal in 2021 is to start strong and stay strong.