AspenPointe Blog

How to Practice Self-Care During COVID-19

May 5, 2020, 15:01 PM by Clara Cirks


How to Practice Self-Care During COVID-19

Now more than ever, it’s important to put your mental health first. Take a moment each day to practice self-care to boost your well-being and lower your stress. Not sure how to start? Our mental health experts share some self-care tips below.



Practice gratitude

Practicing gratitude comes in many forms and can help you feel more positive emotions and gain perspective. Forms of gratitude can include journaling, writing notes or letters to loved ones, or filling out daily prompts such as “today I am grateful for…” Gratitude can build resilience as well as increase our ability to combat stress. It also serves to improve our personal and professional relationships, improve empathy, and build emotional awareness.



Give yourself grace

With social media and news at the forefront of our attention during quarantine, it’s easy to notice others diving into their hobbies, picking up new skills, or cleaning and renovating their home. However, it’s okay to not do those things. Our Director of Psychological Services, Dr. Lindsay Gries, says, “If the time you take for yourself is bringing you peace and relaxation, then pressuring yourself to pick up a new hobby can be counterproductive in reducing stress.”

It’s okay to not have all the right answers right now for yourself or your family. It’s also okay to make the wrong decisions with the right intentions. These times are new for everyone; give yourself grace.



Set your intentions for the day or week

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Setting intentions is a mindfulness practice to help you define self-care goals and be present in your day-to-day routines. These intentions are typically centered around personal development and emotional intelligence. Set your intentions as attainable goals that will help you increase your wellness during these times. Examples could include “I intend to lead by example” or “I intend to listen to my body.”



Writing down your intentions can help you to follow through and hold yourself accountable. Try journaling or keeping notes at your desk or around your home for reminders. Reflecting on your intentions at the end of the day or week can also help you to increase your self-awareness and personal growth.



Define boundaries

Boundaries can look different for everyone, but a good place to start is by communicating what you need and drawing lines to protect your mental health. If COVID-19 media coverage is overwhelming, try to set a time limit on your screen time and news consumption. Communicate with those you live with to create physical areas that separate work and play. Block out time in your calendar or schedule for self-care and wellness activities.



It may be challenging to communicate what you need, but it’s important to be transparent about your boundaries. Remember to be kind and compassionate in expressing your boundaries as your family and friends are also experiencing change.



Keep healthy habits

Although life is currently abnormal, healthy habits will help to instill a sense of normalcy and help you maintain a routine. Kids aren’t the only ones who benefit from regular meals and bedtimes. Adults can benefit physically and mentally from maintaining healthy habits and structure in their lives including regular sleep schedules, exercise, staying hydrated, and getting outside for fresh air.

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“Structure your daily routine as much as possible, doing things that make you feel in control. It’s important to direct your energy in a healthy way,” comments Dr. Gries.



Dr. Gries also says that some anxiety right now can be a good thing. “Some anxiety can be useful and adaptive if it helps you increase more healthy behaviors, like consistent hand washing and other hygiene habits. Once you’ve reached the limits of what you can reasonably control with your own behaviors, then it’s time to shift toward implementing coping skills to manage or reduce the anxiety that is no longer helpful to you.”



Allow yourself to feel

Pleasant and unpleasant emotions are all natural and healthy parts of the human experience. While it can be tempting to avoid painful or uncomfortable emotions, some research indicates that this can actually increase our experience of suffering. Others experience a numbing of emotions through avoidance, but the result is often a numbing of positive emotions such as joy and happiness, too. Observing our emotions mindfully, letting ourselves feel the emotions as they arise, and processing them in healthy ways (e.g., journaling, with a trusted friend or professional) will ultimately lead to more effective coping and overall improved mental health.



It is normal for you to experience anxiety and stress during these times, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed or your feelings escalate and disrupt your daily life, it may be a good idea to reach out to one of our trusted professionals. Learn more about how we can help by filling out our contact form or call us at (719) 572-6100 to get started today.



For more information on how you can cope with stress surrounding COVID-19 and take care of your emotional health, please visit the Center for Disease Control website.

For more COVID-19 resources for you or your family, please visit our resource webpage.

Are you or someone you know in crisis and need immediate and confidential help? Call Colorado Crisis Services at 844-493-TALK (8255), or text TALK to 38255. Colorado Crisis Services provides immediate and confidential help, 24/7/365. For more information, or to find a crisis services walk-in center, visit ColoradoCrisisServices.org.