Isolation, illness and a total disruption to daily routine can understandably have a devastating effect on ones mental health, so it’s no wonder that 69% of UK adults report feeling worried about the effect Covid-19 is having on their life.
Whilst we have little control over rules and regulations that can leave us feeling isolated, hopeless, withdrawn or worried (to name a few), you can achieve some control over the way in which you practise self love.
‘Self love’ in short means taking care of your own needs and happiness, forgiving yourself and basically treating your mind and body with kindness. It in no way means that you’re totally in love with yourself or that you have a big ego, it’s about compassion and patience and above all else it is something you practise and develop over time.
Here are some ways in which you can practise self-love during the pandemic:
Give yourself space to feel emotions
Although feelings can be painful, it’s important to feel them and sit with them. Often we escape from emotions in different ways, with everything from binging to drinking to overworking serving as a distraction for us.
During this time in particular, it’s crucial that we recognise complex feelings brought on by the current situation and acknowledge them so we don’t disconnect, burn out or feel everything ‘all at once’ and become overwhelmed.
When the urge to escape kicks in, try reconnecting with your feelings instead. Over time, these small acts of recognition will help you feel more self aware and in turn encourage you to recognise your true emotional needs.
Take a little time for yourself each day
The desire to fill each moment of the day with work and activities and Zoom calls during this time can be strong, since keeping busy, socialising and staying productive are often portrayed as remedies to ‘lockdown fatigue’.
While those things have their own unique benefits, to embrace self-love, moments alone with yourself are necessary. These moments might include sitting and taking a few deep breaths to feel grounded, some light or guided meditation or journaling- take your pick!
Often holding onto feelings like guilt or shame can hold us back from loving ourselves in a positive and authentic way; therapist and wellness expert, Sharnade George says “Forgiving yourself is showing yourself compassion and accepting that you are not perfect, your emotions are valid and there to support you not hold you back.”
During this time when we are living alongside widespread sickness and an incessant cycle of troubling news, it’s easier than usual to feel drained, tired and perhaps less motivated and that is okay. Treating yourself with the same compassion you afford to your family and friends is essential to personal growth and that all important inner peace that we often hear about.
Forgiving yourself and being gentle when you make a mistake, spend the morning watching Netflix or have potato smileys for dinner is crucial because if we criticise ourselves for such things, moving forward and starting fresh the next day will be twice as difficult.
Commit to ‘self-love’
Phrases like ‘self-love’, ‘self-care’ and ‘wellbeing’ have come into our everyday vocabulary and they can feel a bit overwhelming when trying to commit to taking care of your mental health.
The reality is that such phrases shouldn’t portray a kind of ‘zeitgeist’ or a buzzword to be forgotten about, instead try to think of self-love and self-care as a commitment to your own health, something that you work at everyday to help build resilience and weather storms as turbulent as Covid-19.
Credit: Charly Brown