Practicing self-care isn’t anything new, in fact it might be seen as more valuable now that the country has been under additional stress since the COVID-19 outbreak. The virus seems to have everyone on the move as many are working around the clock to learn as much as possible about it. “Self-care is associated with reduced burnout, enhanced self-esteem, resilience and strengthened relationships,” said Robyn L. Gobin, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, author and assistant professor at the University of Illinois. But how often should business owners and their employees practice personal care and what options are there?
“Self-care is important at all times because it helps us show up for our lives as the best version of ourselves,” said Gobin. Some are saying taking the time to invest in personal and self-care is more crucial now, as suicide and depression are also rising due to layoffs, uncertainties about the virus and more.
“People get tremendous anxiety and depression, and you have suicides over things like this when you have terrible economies,” President Trump said at recent a town hall.
According to Gobin, life depletes people of energy, motivation and desire to do our work or connect with loved ones. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has been encouraging everyone to engage in open honest discussions to demonstrate compassion and to practice self-care through the following: exercising, meditating and consuming the news in measured doses.
“We are amid an unprecedented public health crisis, yet we also have an extraordinary opportunity to come together within our families and our communities to reduce the stigma that often surrounds mental health,” reads the AFSP’s site on COVID-19.
“Self-care helps build us back up. You may have heard of the saying, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup.’ Many of us are running on empty, giving our employees, co-workers, partners, children and friends the left-over, depleted version of ourselves,” Gobin said. “Self-care helps us to give our partners, families, careers and friends the best version of us–not just what’s leftover.”
Some law enforcement agencies have even noted the need for helping oneself relieve stress. The human resources department of a metropolitan police department sent notices to all officers with options to relieve stress following the outbreak. The notice highlighted the importance of staying educated about new developments, keeping an eye on elderly friends and family, along with having a plan in place to occupy children’s time, while they are at home, so adults can have time for themselves.
Gobin challenges everyone to do something for their personal care daily.
“It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or extravagant,” said Gobin. “Self-care can be as simple as taking a walk or sitting outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air, pausing to just breathe, calling a friend, snuggling with your pet, listening to your favorite song, stretching or being kind to yourself when you make a mistake.”
A few options, according to Gobin and law enforcement human resources department include:
- Getting the recommended eight-hours of sleep per night, you can even set up a bedtime routine that will help alert your body that it is time for rest;
- Stop working at a reasonable hour so your body and mind can start to wind down for the evening;
- Take a brief walk or get some fresh air to help you stay focused; and
- Designate time to do things outside of working.
“Also, many of us have internalized the myth that self-care is selfish. This is not true, self-care is not selfish because when you take better care of yourself, the people in your life benefit from having a better, more aware, connected and available version of you,” Gobin added.
To learn more about mental illness support and suicide prevention, click here.