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!

Platform

 

I never thought I could do it. For years, I watched other women go to exercise class, get in great shape and enjoy the camaraderie of being with other women. Finding enough time for myself with two kids and a job that required regular travel made it an impossible feat. When a job transition occurred in December of 2015, I challenged myself to think differently to make this career phase include more of the things that were important to me.

Thanks to my sister-in-law Dawn, who is always onto the best ideas, I signed up for Pure Barre, a high intensity exercise class that uses a ballet bar, bands and isometric moves. I knew it was going to be a hard-like really hard. On the surface, this was not a good idea. The studio was twenty minutes away, I couldn’t touch my toes much less survive 55 minutes of torture, but it was now or never and I was determined.

The studio owner Brynn Hanson and instructors were positive and supportive, which made me feel like I was meant to be there. The classes were as hard as I expected, but in time, a funny thing happened. Torture turned to challenge and with each step that I made it became a little more bearable. I managed my time better to ensure I could go and my strength improved. I started to look forward to the stretch and deep breaths at the end, which gave such a great start to my day and made me feel better about myself.

When they introduced Platform classes, it was clear from the chatter at the classes that this was not something I could do. Pure Barre class meets cardio for an even higher intensity level and calorie burn. I avoided it like the plague for months on end until January came and I was in desperate need to shake off a few holiday pounds. I admitted to several women at the class that I was afraid to try it as it seemed too hard. They encouraged me and gave me the boost I needed to put myself out there. I gave myself permission to fail, as long as I tried. I could always leave, step in the bathroom for a fake restroom break or just leave early for an “appointment” mid class.

It turns out I loved it, even though it was hard. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone was exactly what I needed to shake up my game. The women alongside me in class were sweating and suffering just like I was, but we were all in it together and here to support each other.

As women, striving to be our best personally and professionally, the fear of the unknown can be crippling. Focusing on the limiting factors can take away from our ability to grow in ways we never knew we could. With the support of other women and admitting our vulnerabilities in a safe place, we can push and be pushed to try.

Platform became another platform for me to take my game to the next level. No, I haven’t shook those holiday pounds yet, but more importantly I am reminded of what I can do if I put myself out there and engage the support of others. A special thank you Dawn, Brynn, Kat, Pure Barre and many others in class. You’ve helped me more than you know.