What Self-Care Looks Like in 2020 - And Why We Need it Now More Than Ever
“2020 is going to be my best year yet!”
Anyone else laughing at their January 2020 selves?
As much as 2020 has been a doozie, we’re excited to turn the corner into Q4 2020. (2021, we see you!) These last three months of the year are always busy, both personally and professionally. And though we’re not sure what to expect during these last few months of the few this year Q4, we’ll be ready for it.
Biteline has always been driven to match dental pros with open job opportunities; equally important to us is serving as a strong stand for personal and professional development. And we absolutely place self-care in that category.
Because before you show up for anyone else - family, friends, work opportunities - you must show up for yourself first.
We know that’s a hard commitment. (This year, especially.) Most of us are probably still not intentionally pausing from the chaos to engage in some self-care. Maybe it’s because we think we don’t deserve it.
But self-care is about much more than bubble baths and pedicures. True self-care means taking care of yourself, so that you’ll be a better friend, family member, professional, and healthier and happier human.
Here are some simple ideas to get you started.
Create and stick to a routine: This is a great first step to setting yourself up for self-care success. How many times have you had to ask Siri what day it is? That’s because it feels like they’re all running together.
When we’re spending most of our time at home, it’s easy to resist setting any kind of structure. But even starting and ending our days with a few consistent, small habits helps us mentally and physically prepare for what’s ahead, and wind down from what’s behind.
It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Start small by setting your alarm just a few minutes earlier than you have been, and use the time to go for a walk or journal or read. Something that brings you joy and gives you time to yourself before the busyness of the day kicks in.
Move your body: We’re certainly not the first to tout this advice, and that’s because the benefits of exercise are undeniable. Physical exercise, even a simple walk, has been noted to increase neurotransmitters that are associated with improving mood and cognitive function. Exercise also allows an outlet for reducing stress and managing difficult emotions, which is key in self-care.
Without regular gym access, exercise can be harder to incorporate into a routine. But even if it’s just a short walk between meetings or a wake-up dance before your first sip of coffee (looking at you, JVN), movement can have notable benefits.
If you like guided workout classes, there's no shortage of apps out there to get you moving. Many are free or pretty low cost.
Limit news consumption: This might be the hardest one for many of us. With everything going on in the world, how can we NOT be constantly checking the news to see what else has gone up in flames?
But checking the news and social media constantly keeps our bodies on alert. Our brains literally can’t chill if we’re always feeding them negative headlines and mentally bracing ourselves.
Try deciding how much time you’re going to devote to checking reliable sources, and then stick to that limit. Even if you have to ask a friend to serve as an accountability partner. It doesn’t mean you’ll never look at what’s going on in the world, and in fact, you can still check each day But maybe shoot for a goal of spending five minutes scanning the news in the morning and another five minutes before your evening routine.
Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness exercises are life’s rich little secrets, that if tapped into, can help you find calm and peace no matter what’s going on around you. Meditation, yoga, even mindful breathing are ways to slow things down.
Engaging in a simple mindfulness meditation — the practice of focusing on the breath, and training our brains to remain entirely present in our thoughts and in the space we’re occupying — is a good place to start. Here’s a list of effective breathing techniques to try.
Acts of kindness: Caring for others can act as a form of self-care too. It helps us to help others.
Supporting others not only puts our own stressors into perspective, but there’s nothing that brings the heart as much joy as making someone’s day or life better through even a small act of kindness.
Right now, that might mean volunteering for folks having trouble meeting their basic needs while the effects of COVID-19 linger, showing up to protests, or donating money worthy causes. It might also mean being an especially present friend or family member to the people in your life. Just be sure you know where your boundaries are and when you need to take a step back.
Remember: In order to show up for others, you must show up for yourself first.
Ready, set, self-care.
Read more fun facts, expert advice, and dental industry news on the Biteline blog.