By Nayantara Lamba, BA History and World Philosophies
The past year has brought instability to many of our lives, and has led to a growing number of conversations concerning mental health. Self-care is a term that has been thrown around and is used constantly – we are always being asked to take care of ourselves. However, I found that most methods that I used to rely on for self-care were also things that we are no longer allowed to do.
We, at the SOAS British Red Cross (BRC), have compiled a list of ten ways that we practise self-care during lockdown to give others who are struggling to break down what self-care is a place to start, whether that be for lockdown or afterwards.
- Taking time away from screens
We spend hours on our screens attending classes, doing our readings and assignments or socialising with friends and family. It is so important to take a break from that, for your eyes and for your mental health. Taking a few minutes away from your screen, even just to get a glass of water for yourself, throughout the day can help immensely.
- Getting out of the house at least once a day
While we are in lockdown, going out for a walk is ideal to ensure you are not completely isolating yourself from the outside world or depriving yourself of fresh air. Taking pictures can help to ground yourself in the moment, allowing you to cherish your environment. Walks are also great ways to romanticise your life and be your own main character, energy we should all aim to channel!
- Keeping in touch with friends and family
It is really easy to get overwhelmed with the screen time or notifications that pop up everywhere. We all need a break from social media from time to time, but ensure that you are not closing yourself off to socialisation in general. Make sure to reach out to friends or family to prevent feeling isolated or lonely.
Meditation is a wellbeing practice that can help you centre yourself. You can use tutorials or apps like Headspace if you struggle with meditation or are a beginner!
Taking a full day off
Try spending a day where you walk away from your work physically and mentally. This could give you space to re-energise and let you return to your work with a fresh perspective and newfound energy.
- Finding new hobbies or investing time in old ones
Some examples of hobbies we at the BRC have picked up are: cycling, growing herbs and playing chess. This is a great way to do something off your screen that might make you feel better at the same time. Hobbies are also a great way to make new friends or new spheres of socialising.
Finding motivation might be difficult right now, so be sure not to overload yourself with expectations of suddenly doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routines every day. Going for a walk or following YouTube tutorials is a great place to start exercising more often and perhaps integrating it into your weekly routine.
- Learning new ways of personal care
Whether this is by way of buying a body scrub, taking a bath or learning new skincare and makeup techniques, invest time in yourself. While self-care is intangible, physically taking care of your body is always a great place to start.
- Cleaning parts of the house that have been neglected
This could be doing the dishes, taking out the trash or rearranging your desk. Still, the idea behind this is that you can finish a task completely by cleaning a section of the house that you normally might not. It might make you feel better to be in a neater environment.
- Keeping a consistent routine
An integral part of avoiding any feelings of aimlessness is by structuring your day around healthy habits. Simple things such as eating and sleeping at regular intervals can make these practices so much more effective and make you feel in control of your time.
These tips may give you some ideas for things you could incorporate into your routine to take care of yourself. These are, of course, not substitutes for professional support if you are struggling with your mental health. We run projects such as ‘Phone a Friend’ to schedule calls with trained professionals or our Kindness packages program. Follow us @brcsoas on Instagram for more information and keep up to date with our projects and events!
Photo caption: My self-care accessories to get through lockdown. (Credit: Nayantara Lamba)