Three-Steps to Better Self-Care During Covid-19

I’m a big believer in the power of self-care.  I think it’s one of the most important tools that we have in our toolbox to be our best version of ourselves at work and at home.  In a time where we feel rocked by the Covid-19 pandemic on so many levels, we need self-care more than ever to stay resilient and power through.

The challenge to figure out how to manage work, family life, online learning, finances and keeping ourselves and our loved ones healthy is not an easy one.  It’s stressful and worrisome.  It’s complicated. It requires a plan to navigate and adjust constantly in this changing environment.  As an HR consultant, I’ve talked to company after company about how they are responding to keep their employees safe with Covid and they have shared their step-by-step plans, all backed by actions and well thought out processes to respond to every situation.  As a work life balance blogger for years, I have written articles and coached women on steps they can take with self-care to thrive.  The combination of self-care with a structured plan is powerful, especially in a time where we feel overwhelmed without a playbook to follow.

The truth of it is, we have it in us to figure this out.  We are smart, we are resourceful and we are problem solvers.  However, we can’t tap into our true capabilities if we are overwhelmed and stressed out.  That’s where self-care comes in.  Just like we are pivoting to quickly develop a plan to adjust at work, we need to adjust our self-care plan at home to help us get through this time in a healthy way. 

Committing to a self-care plan that addresses your current needs will help you to be your best for yourself and others. Putting your plan in writing helps to ensure that you think through and commit to the actions that will make a difference.  The added step of acknowledging your worries and recognizing what you actually have control over can help to focus on what you can do something about, not what you can’t.  Here are three simple and quick tools to rock your self-care plan and get through this challenging time:

1. Develop a Self-Care Plan. Use the below chart to define your needs and actions you will take to care for yourself physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually and professionally.  Each of these 5 areas are important to consider to develop a well- rounded plan to care for you.  Keep it simple with no more than 3 actions you can take in each area. Print it out and put it in a noticeable place like your bathroom mirror so you can keep it top of mind.

2. Do a Pandemic Brain Dump – A brain dump is a tool that psychologists have used for years to help people get worries out of your head and in writing so that they can be acknowledged and addressed.  Check out the blog https://www.morningcoffeewithdee.com/brain-dump-exercise/ for a great overview of brain dumps and how they can plan an important part of self-care.   Attached is a pandemic brain dump that I created to define and address your worries that you actually have control over.

3. Check in on your progress and adjust your plan. Check in on yourself every week, like you would with a best friend or family member.  Ask “How’s it going? How are you feeling? How can I reset the plan and get back on track?”  Update your Pandemic Brain Dump to get it cleared out of your head so you can focus.  Publish your revised self-care plan and give yourself a positive affirmation that you are doing the best you can and are committed to managing through this.

Someday, we will look back on this time and see how much stronger we became in 2020.  Until then, stay healthy and reach out to me at amy@shesoneofus.com  if you have any questions that I can help with in using these tools!

The Reset

It was finally Friday and I was exhausted from the week. I was suffering from the classic symptoms, a demanding work schedule, pushing myself too hard and lack of sleep. Once again, I turned down plans with friends feeling too wiped out and guilty taking time for me when there was so much to do and not enough time for the kids. My kids could see it too, as I was getting crabby and inpatient. They could see the crash coming before I could. I resorted to a 30-minute power nap, hoping I would feel better. What I woke up to surprised me.

My 10-year-old daughter Olivia was standing by my phone as the alarm blared. She had a sly smile on her face. There were several post-it notes plastered all over my bathroom, each part of an important message.  A plea for me to not miss out on a night out with my girlfriends. Ideas on who they could stay with for a last-minute plan. An outfit was hanging on the rack ready to put on, all the way down to the shoes and purse. Olivia looked at me and said “Mom, your friends are going to start calling you waterfall because of how many rain checks you take.” Feeling a little refreshed, I realized how much I had put off friend plans and time for myself. It was time to take her advice.

That night as I sat with my other girls, the fabulous friends who I could relate to and laugh with, I remembered the advice that I’ve shared with so many before. We all need a reset sometimes to get our balance back on track. Getting to the bottom of what we need requires us to remember a few important things. Activities that reduce our stress don’t always make us feel fulfilled or recharged. For instance, exercise reduces my stress, but being creative designing handbags makes me feel recharged. Spending quality time with my family makes me feel fulfilled. Recognizing what each of these activities does for us is important to ensure that we do more of what we need at the time to get ourselves back on track.

The next morning, I made a commitment to myself to work on my reset. I pulled out a chart that I had prepared for a woman I was coaching to restore her balance. I remembered that resets don’t happen by osmosis. We have to be thoughtful on what is needed at the time to make it happen. We have to care as much about ourselves as we do for our families and our careers. We’re worth it and we deserve it.

Most importantly, we have to work to make it happen. Creating structure and a plan gives us more opportunity to be successful to get the results we want. When we do, the payoff is huge. We start to feel like the person we want to be and our motivation to be our best is restored.
Here is my Reset Tool for you to use and share with others:

resetchart