10 Ways to Practice Self-care During the Quarantine.

I don’t know about you, but 2020 has sure become one heck of a year! If anyone had told me on January 1st that by April I would be on quarantine with not only my family but the entire universe, I would never have believed it!

When I look back at how “well” the year began, and all the promises that the new year brought with it, I honestly don’t know if I should continue to shake my head in disbelief, if I will wake up and it is all over, or if I should simply smile and wait a bit more, knowing that “this too shall pass”. I wish I knew for sure that this too shall indeed pass. No one knows.

As a parent and a spouse, I am grateful that my children are a bit older in age, and it is a bit easier to explain this whole thing. Luckily, they have each other to keep company, while I try my very best to stay sane.

So, what have you all been doing to stay sane this period of uncertainty? I know, the word self-care is now the buzz word and for good reason. Never has there been a better time to practice what I am calling “the three pillars of self-care”: self-compassion, self-kindness, and self-love, than now.

For me, I am pretty carefree, I don’t dance to anyone’s tune, I simply go with my flow, but for those who would like to share with me, below are 10 ways I have come up with that might interest you as far as practicing self-care goes. You are probably already doing most of these things, but it is always a good idea to share with each other and learn and grow together.

1/ Prayer and Meditation: Whether you see prayer as a way of talking to God, the universe, your personal chi, or simply communing with nature, I strongly recommend some form of the practice daily. I have found that it often goes best, hand in hand with meditation. Both are best practiced in the morning, but, frankly, it could be at any other time of the day, as you wish. Since this whole quarantine thing started I have been joining Jay Shetty and about 30K other people around the world, daily for a 20 minute guided meditation at 1130hrs CST daily. It has been so rejuvenating and invigorating and has fast become the best 20 minutes of my day.

2/ Yoga: One of my personal favorites. I used to be a major “yoga groupy” several years ago when I was younger. But I am finding my way back now since the quarantine. These days, my fibromyalgia is flaring up, the pain in my lower back is sometimes unbearable, and my neck arthritis is worse. I actually started to practice daily sun salutations, and it’s yet early to call, but, so far so good. Down Dog My eldest son recommended it to me. He saw a YouTube video of Kita Liss, who had similar issues with her neck and back and reportedly did sun salutations for 2months and presto! Her aches and pains were gone! I might sound a bit gullible, but, the way I see it, there is no medication use involved, and it’s actually great for you and your joints, so why not?

3/ Walking: The ultimate exercise if you ask me. This is especially if you are a little bit older like I am, but generally, most people will tell you that your knees will thank you if you walk. Whether brisk walking or slow strolling, walking beats running for your knees any time. For me, I use my morning walks to commune with nature, exercise the dog, and take phone calls in my telemedicine practice. Sometimes, I simply walk alone, lost in my thoughts. I have also recently started using it as a tool to meet my neighbors (thanks to the recent lockdown in San Antonio, Texas), we pass each other, 6ft apart, say hello, make small talk about Covid-19, the weather, homeschooling or whatever else.

4/ Reading: Ha! This is one of my “favoritest” things to do! I. Love. Reading. My go-to genre is fiction, and my place to be is romance. Since starting my own business though, it has been a bit tough getting my romance reading on. Thankfully, this quarantine has given us all permission to #slowdown and “smell all the roses” and other accompanying smells that make us smile. What about you? Do you like reading? What is your favorite genre? Are you in need of some good non-fiction this quarantine season? If so, I beg to suggest one of my two books. The parenting book: How to Raise Well-Rounded Children, is my favorite pick for now since many of us parents are all “stuck” at home with our kids.

5/ Write: Yessss! Next to reading, writing is one activity that I enjoy. I find so much joy when I write that I recommend writing to every single patient of mine. Furthermore, studies have shown that writing can be therapeutic. You can start simple, like writing in your (gratitude) journal, or simply writing about your day. You can also start writing a book, start a blog or write poetry. Just start writing… You will be so glad you did. If you do decide to go on to write something, please let me know. One of the things I also do on the side is to help people write their bestseller. Yes. I am a writing coach and I will be glad to chat with you and explore the possibility of working together. Click here to schedule an appointment if you’d like to explore this.

6/ Practice Gratitude: This is a natural successor of writing. The gratitude journal is a recurrent theme when we speak about writing. So, to write about gratitude then means to practice it. To practice it means to be intentional about it. To be intentional about it means to be present in each moment, acknowledge each moment, and be thankful for them. We must try to find something new each day to be grateful for. These times might not appear to be teaching us anything positive, but if we look for the lessons, we will surely find them. This year started on such a positive note, that I refuse to believe there is no silver lining to all of this. We are told we grow from pain, so let’s lead with grateful hearts in order to allow for said growth.

7/ Learn a New Hobby: I love this because time is one thing we all have on our hands now. We might as well learn something new with our adult brains, which I am told we only really use less than 10% of. A new hobby can be anything from playing cards like bridge or poker, to photography, sketching, piano or any other musical instruments, bowling, etc. Studies have shown that learning a new hobby not only keeps your brain young by creating new synaptic connections, it also helps to de-stress, and helps to keep you busy. I know, many of us claim we are busy, but… 🙂 Let’s just agree that enough of us are “busy doing nothing aka mismanaging our time”. A new hobby would certainly take care of that.

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8/ Pamper Yourself: Yes, this quarantine period has done the unthinkable…our hairdressers, nail places and massage parlors are all on furlough! Time to learn how to do it ourselves. One click to YouTube should help. I have always been a #doityourselfer in this department, and I am riding easily at this point. Yes, it is possible to learn how to self-pamper. It can range from a manicure to a nice cup of your favorite coffee (sorry, no Starbucks), to a good book, to a home facial, to simply washing or coloring your hair. Pretty much anything you can do at the beauty shop, you can do at home by yourself, for yourself. It might need a slight learning curve, but you got this. During one of Jay Shetty’s meditations last week, he actually guided us through a self-massage! I had never done that before that day, and it felt so good!

9/ Call Your Girlfriends: Call, text, or Zoom with your girlfriends for a nice virtual reunion! Virtual parties are now commonplace since the quarantine. I actually had a Zoom party with a couple of my girlfriends from high school just last week, and am planning one for my family members this very weekend. I got the idea from a friend who had a virtual family lunch party at home, and I am sold on it. I have even started a habit of calling as many of my longtime friends as possible daily, which is helping me a lot with reconnecting. I am reaching out to cousins, Facebook friends, and so on. Many of my friends and I are paying it forward and actually enjoying it… You should try it.

10/ Be creative! Yes, be creative, be you. Get in your car and drive, watch reruns of your favorite TV series, pig out on a bowl of ice-cream, dance to oldies songs from the 80s, or simply sleep until noon! As long as you are at peace with yourself, and you are intentional with your self-care, it’s all good. Just remember, we must make the best of every situation we find ourselves; learn to find silver linings in grey clouds, and grow from all pain…#this too shall pass.

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BB

“Remember your Mantra…”

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Dear Blog,

Hi, welcome back! Thanks for stopping by once again. How have you been? Me? Oh, I have been doing kinda fine… Why? you wonder, well, it’s because I kinda did the bravest thing I have pretty much done in a looooong time. Two days ago, I turned in my resignation at my place of work. Yes, I thought long and hard about it before I did it, and I did it.

 

Did you read my welcome blog? If you did, then you know that I am on a quest to re-brand myself in this 49th space, as I usher in my 50th anniversary. No, quitting was not really on the menu, at least not like this, not this early, but, one thing I am learning, is when you fall in the river, you either quickly learn to swim…or you sink.

 

I have worked with my current employer for about 2 years now. Basically since I left the U.S Air Force in 2016. I am one of the top producers in my clinic, if not the top producer. I have given them my very best, and then some… Have I also asked for favors? yes, indeed, I have. I told them I needed time to go to school, during my intake interview, they obliged. I switched from four 10 hour days to five 8 hour days, with no resistance. I work from 10 a.m to 7 p.m daily to allow me study in the mornings, which has been a blessing. But I have also given ALL of me to them. I see my patients sans drama, I see more patients sans drama. My patients and I have a wonderful relationship. I will surely miss them, but… this call is greater than the sum of them and I. I know I bring a splash of “rainbow goodness” daily to work. I carry my unique African pride around the office with me, and my #blackgurlmagic?… oh yea! that’s a given! All this is because, I absolutely LOVE what I do. So, it’s not work, it’s my life.

However, there comes a time when one has to grow up and grow out. I believe that time has come. So, in the spirit of transparency and full disclosure, I informed my superiors  of my plans to pursue my dreams of entrepreneurship. I simply need more time on the weekdays to do so. I asked to work part time. A request which they denied. So, I did the only other thing one should do when they have vision, while those around them only have sight, I quit.

To my surprise, the elation did not last too long, when my arch nemeses, “Self Doubt” and its best friend, “Fear” came-a-calling. I started experiencing palpitations and other expressions of my autonomic nervous system, to the point that I believe I had a partial panic attack last night. I heard them in my head “What have you done, girl? Are you for real?  You done lost your mind, Chile? What about your bills? Don’t you have a son going off to college next month? Blah, blah, blah…” I even had a terrible headache from no where. I craved carbs like mad, and unfortunately, I let my cravings win, and ate half a container of gummy bears, some pop corn and a spicy chicken patty before I could stop myself (yea, I know my Beloved is going to read that last line, shake her head, and roll her eyes. Pero, es verdad).

I went to bed early, and woke up around 2am with tachycardia and warm sweat. I said a prayer to Jesus, and luckily, I was able to fall back to sleep. Woke up early, and started my morning Yoga Retreat exercises (by Beach Body) When my Beloved came out to leave for work, I was just finishing up. I told her about my panic episode, and asked her if she thought I had made a mistake. She calmly took a deep breath, looked me in the eye and said “No you didn’t”. “Remember your Mantra, she chided, If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough…” “Think about all those people who are routing for you, but most of all, focus on all those doctors, and teens who are waiting for your help, all those whose lives you will touch, who will benefit from your business(es), and stick with your plan. It is very normal for you to feel this way”.

I shed easy tears after she left for work. I was so touched by her words. I said a quiet thank you as the door closed behind her, and folded up my mat. And right then it became crystal clear to me that I had made the right decision, no matter what “Self Doubt” and “Fear” have to say about it. I also remember now, that about this time 2 years ago, I felt similar emotions when I decided not to renew my contract with the Air Force, but look how far I have come since then. I shall therefore, go forth with my Vision in one hand, and my Faith in the other. I figure Self Doubt and Fear, are no match for Vision and Faith. “No Retreat, No Regret…”

In closing, I will say a big thank you, to you again for stopping by. An even bigger thank you to God for making us possible, I did tell you, this, is about our relationship, didn’t I? I thank Him for making dreams. For creating bravado (of huge proportions) and giving me a slice of it. For beautiful supportive spouses. For Faith, Vision and  for Love, the greatest gift there ever was.

img_1945Until we meet again, I will echo M.J, in saying, “you keep dreaming…”

Peace Still.

BB

“Little girls with dreams become women with vision.”  Anonymous

 

PS: My website dedicated to fighting teen depression and teen suicide, teenalive.com is LIVE, click the link to check it out!