Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish: 5 Tips for Self-Care During a Pandemic

self care during a pandemic

Written by: Jessica West, September 2020

The pandemic has brought a lot of stress, fear, and anxiety into our lives. Not to mention quarantining at home isn’t always the most fun or interesting thing to do! Many of us have experienced increased feelings of boredom, loneliness, and isolation in the past few months. But we have the perfect solution: self-care. Here are a few things you can do to take care of yourself and relax, all while staying at home.


Cooking:
If you find yourself having extra time on your hands during quarantine or you don’t want to spend another fortune on an uber-eats meal, you may want to try your hand at cooking. There are many online cooking platforms and webinars available for free that you can look at. Never cooked before? No problem! Many websites such as More than Gourmet (1) and Cookipedia (2) sort their recipes based on the level of difficulty. This means that whether you’re a beginner or a full-on experienced chef, you can find recipes that are suited to your level of skill. 


Did you know that Bean Bark can be added to many different products to create different healthy meals and snacks? Check out the Remix nutrition blog for many of these great recipes. 


The benefits of learning to cook go way beyond making a tasty meal and using up the food in the back of the fridge before it expires. Cooking for yourself is seen as a form of self-care since you are in the act of nourishing and providing food for your own health and well-being (3). Additionally, cooking is also an act of mindfulness as it shifts your focus to the preparation of food, which helps you to distance yourself from other distractions (3). If you are interested in finding out more about mindfulness and self-care, then check out Remix’s mindful snacking movement and follow along with the journey. 


Aromatherapy:
Not in the mood to cook? That’s fine as there are many other forms of self-care, some of which simply require you to take a deep breath. 


Aromatherapy involves using aromatic (scented) plant compounds to help improve your mental well-being, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve emotional health (4). The plant compounds can be incorporated into essential oils which can be placed into a variety of products. 


The amazing thing about aromatherapy is that you can choose which scents you want and what product you want to get it from. If you’re into stronger more powerful scents you can choose options like apple, pumpkin spice, or vanilla scented products. If you’re into lighter scents you can go for lavender, eucalyptus, or tea scented products. Some of the products which can be used for aromatherapy include creams, hand soaps, candles, and diffusers. As with all products, it is important that you read any health and safety product information before trying it out. To learn more about aromatherapy check out this article (4) to determine if it's right for you. Another important thing to note is that some essential oils are toxic to our pets, so make sure to check out this article before buying any essential oils!


Reaching Out to a Friend:
Due to the pandemic, we are not able to visit or gather with our friends and families as we often used to. This has increased feelings of loneliness, fear, and isolation. For those of us living alone or away from our families, this can cause added stress. The good news is that we are not alone and there is always someone to reach out to. Thanks to our modern technology this has been easier than before. 


Reaching out to a friend or loved one is actually a form of self-care. The phrase good friends are good for the soul is more than just an expression. Research has found that friendships can increase your happiness, give you a stronger sense of belonging, and reduce your risk of certain health problems such as depression and stress (5). There are many social media apps which you can use to reach out to others and even join groups of people online who share similar interests as you. One of these great groups you can join is Remix’s Mindful Snacking Community on Facebook (paste group link please). Simply click on the link and join the group where you can chat and interact with others who are a part of this movement. 


Exercise:  
Gyms still closed? No problem. Home workouts are the new trend. A great way to pass the time is by getting up and getting active. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on buying gym equipment for your home. Everyday household items and spaces can be transformed into ideal workout space. Empty detergent bottles can be filled with water and used as weights. Towels can be rolled up to form yoga mats, and stairs can be used for great cardio workouts. If you need a change of scenery, going for a jog or taking your pet out for a walk in the park is a great way to stay active as well. 


Exercise can be seen as a major form of self-care as it brings many benefits to a person’s health and well-being. Some of these include improved mood, better sleep, and increased energy (6). Always remember to warm up before starting any kind of physical activity, and keep some water or a sports drink nearby to ensure you stay hydrated. If you’re wondering what you can eat before exercising in order to have enough energy, check out Remix’s article on why our chocolates are a great pre-work snack


DIY’s: 
DIY’s or do it yourself, are small activities that can be done at home to create something that would normally be bought in a store. DIY’s can range from gardening, to knitting, to cooking and so much more. There are many networks such as DIYs.com (7) and diysnetwork (8) which offer a variety of DIY home projects ranging from fashion design, interior decorating, recipes, beauty and many other categories. Simply choose which category interests you and follow the steps to get started on your own mini projects


While you may think that starting a new project will just give you extra work to do, these DIY’s are actually a great way to indulge in some self-care. DIY’s can help minimize the distractions of the world and stress from the pandemic by encouraging us to focus on the project in front of us. DIY’s are also a great way to encourage bonding among family members, reduce time spent on technology, and stimulate brain activity (9). Need some inspiration for your next DIY home project? Why not check out this Remix Blog about composting. 


All of the activities mentioned above are only a few of the many ways you can indulge in some much-needed self-care. The world can be a stressful place so remember to take time to kick your feet up, relax, be safe and have some Remix chocolate while at it. 

References:
  1. More than Gourmet. (2020). Degree of difficulty. Retrieved from: https://www.morethangourmet.com/degree-of-difficulty
  2. Cookipedia. (2020). Welcome to Cookipedia. Retrieved from: https://www.cookipedia.co.uk/recipes_wiki/Welcome_to_Cookipedia 
  3. McCoy, G. (2020). Opinion: Cooking can benefit your mental health. Retrieved from: https://www.leeclarion.com/2020/the-mental-health-benefits-of-cooking
  4. Wilson, D. (2019). Aromatherapy uses and benefits. Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-aromatherapy#how-does-it-work
  5. MayoClinic (2019). Friendships: enrich your life and improve your health. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/friendships/art-20044860 
  6. MayoClinic (2020). Exercise. Amherst college. Retrieved from: https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/health-safety-wellness/counseling/self_care/exercise 
  7. DIY’s.com. (2020). Tap into the worlds largest DIY community. Retrieved from: https://www.diys.com/ 
  8. DIY network. (2020). Retrieved from: https://www.diynetwork.com/ 
  9. Heath, O. (2016). 5 Reasons why DIY is good for you. House beautiful. Retrieved from: https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/renovate/diy/tips/a1131/why-diy-is-good-for-your-wellbeing/