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Time to put YOU back on the list.

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has officially ended, psychologists are still adjusting to a new normal. They're worried about the future, their patients, and they themselves. Whether you work as a psychologist, a researcher, or an educator, it's important to take the time to care for yourself.

Most people tend to talk about self-care in terms of doing it once a year or maybe just once a week. But neither of these are self-care. Instead, they’re simply ways to get busy. If someone talks about doing exercise occasionally, it’s not really what we mean by that. Instead, it should be something that they do consistently. Most people understand that they should do a few simple things to stay healthy.

Like physical health, self-care is also essential to our emotional health. They should also support our mental and emotional well-being. Most of the time, I get the idea that self-care is something that’s done for myself. If you haven’t helped yourself first, then you won’t be able to help your child very well. If you’re not taking enough care of yourself, it limits your ability to be helpful to others. How helpful can you be to someone who is constantly worried about their own shortcomings?

Self-care is about being kind to others. It is also widely believed that self-care is only for rich people. This is not true. Self-care is something everyone can do in their own way. It doesn't need to involve a lot of money or expertise. If you listen to self-care advice, it can be very upsetting or even ridiculous. It can be hard to manage when you have so many responsibilities and expectations.

For some people, self-care can be harder than others. For instance, being able to manage a job can be very challenging for people with limited time and energy. We know that women are expected to perform various tasks and responsibilities, such as domestic and parenting, at home and work. They are also paid less than men. This situation is made worse by the pandemic. Due to the various barriers that people face in taking care of themselves, they may not be able to improve their health. We can’t solve systemic issues in one go. Instead, we can acknowledge them and provide solutions that are both practical and emotional.

Despite the desire to prioritize our health and well-being, many people still feel like they can't do enough to take time for themselves. This is a frustrating paradox for people who try to take time for themselves. A lot of clients have benefited from our coaching sessions, and we’ve seen how people with the biggest obstacles can still thrive. Instead of getting a massage once a month, try these simple self-care tips.

  1. Having 5-10 minutes for yourself each day: It’s easy to get caught up in an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to finding time for yourself, and so many of us try to make it happen by doing a variety of simple yet effective activities. Five minutes a day can help you start showing up for yourself. It can also help you feel good about yourself. This can be anything that pushes you forward, from a simple five-minute meditation to a more transformative experience like having older kids help in the cooking. It can also be a way to improve a meal or a lifestyle. Make a list of five short actions that you can do each day to check the box. Then, pick one or two to try several times a week. Self-care is about more than just nutrition and exercise. It's about cultivating a healthy lifestyle and supporting those around you.

  2. Delete, Delegate, Do Less: You wake up at 6 a.m. and the alarm goes off. The kids need to be picked up, the dog has to be walked, and your boss is waiting for reports. Get clear about how you spend your time. Do you have obligations that are no longer necessary? Delete one or more activities. List your work and personal priorities. Then decide what can be postponed or delegated. For many researchers, a university shutdown doesn’t mean that their work is halted. It can allow them to pivot and work on other projects that were previously shelved. Some of us still pack our lunches and put on work clothes even if we don’t go to the office. Working from home can blur the lines between your personal and professional life. Create a separate workspace that fits in with your living space. Delegate whatever you can. Consider each task and Ask yourself, “Who else can do this?” If possible, ask others to do the same. Then, ask yourself, “What is the worst that could happen?” Do less, Challenge yourself

  3. Don't mix your Shoulds and Coulds: Sometimes, we get caught up in what we should do and think about what we could do instead of focusing on what we really want and need to do. If we take a closer look at our “shoulds,” we might find they are not all that necessary. While we could certainly do these things, should we really do them? There are plenty of things that we could do that we should not do. You hear that little voice in your mind saying, “you should do that...”? Notice it, Name it and Decide if you want to keep that “should,” or let it go. Duke it out, realistically! You can always use this template to help you pick out the activities that are most important to you. It will help you keep track of which ones are worth doing each day.

  4. Use technology wise: Being active and eating healthy are key to good health. While many people are worried about how much screen time they can get, technology is helping them stay connected. Having the news on in the background while you exercise is not only distracting but also causes unnecessary distress. This is a good time to brush up on your skills, says Susan Concepcion, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of California, San Diego. Online courses are a great way to develop new skills and learn something new that fits into your work life.

  5. Watch for signs of trouble in you and your mates: Even after a crisis has eased up, you may still be at risk of developing a mental health condition. Some of the most common symptoms of mental health disorders include uncontrollable feelings of anger, frustration, and guilt. Be aware of the reactions of your co-workers, too. They may be struggling as well.

You have the freedom to prioritize, and you can make any trade-offs that you desire. It’s time to put YOU back on the list.

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