Self-care in a world that's falling apart
I won’t lie. When classes were cancelled as the pandemic started panning out in the United States, I wasn’t mad. No more pointless meetings. I didn’t even have to flake on all the commitments I’d managed to rack up throughout the semester. It was another semester where I failed to practice self care, to say no to extra commitments, to prioritize my physical and mental well-being. Seemed like this viral microbe that seized the globe by its literal neck was doing the job for me.
Don't get me wrong - by no means do I think this pandemic is 'a good thing'. The world is grieving large-scale death and loss, something I don't really think anyone was expecting. And in America, it is disproportionately affecting Black and of-color communities. When the severity of the pandemic took hold, this started to change fast - real fast. An entire college campus deserted, left empty in a matter of a few days. Work was cancelled. Friends started leaving. Hurried hugs and quick goodbyes in the elevator, because who knew when we’d see each other again. It started to hit me hard. And now, more than a month into extensive quarantining and social distancing, I’m hit with the question again, and this time, it demands to be answered.
There's literally no routine for me anymore. Although it feels kind of luxurious to be able to wake up at 2 p.m., I know it isn’t helping my mental or physical health. Taking a shower, changing my clothes, seems like such a heavy task on my shoulders at times. And so here’s a few things I’ve been doing that makes my days a little easier to get through, to feel human when all you want to do is lay under the blankets a litttttttle longer.
1.) Sunbathing. I don’t know about y’all, but I’m pretty sure I have seasonal affective disorder. And the impact of the sun - the feel of that good good vitamin D on my skin - is enough to make me feel like some sort of goddess. And so I’ve made it a routine to just sit by my window, on my love seat, as the sun pours into every crevice of my room. I love to just close my eyes and turn on some tunes as I close my eyes and relax. You'd be surprised what these twenty-or-so minutes could do to your day.
2.) Exercise, but outside. Even if I get out of bed at 3 p.m. (unfortunately, that was my week last week) I try to get some exercise outside, as long as it isn’t too cold. Whether it’s a walk or a run or just a breath of fresh air, I think it’s so important to get out of the house and to breathe in some fresh air.
I don’t think humans were completely, wholly meant for the indoors. Feel the wind breeze through your hair. Let the sunlight warm your skin. Let your feet feel the earth. But please, six feet apart. 3.) Break out of your bad habits! With Ramadan, a holy Islamic month of fasting and abstinence from anything that can cause harm to your body, I’m trying to give up all my bad habits - whether it be junk food, smoking, or anything of that sort. This takes an immense amount of self discipline, and I do think that’s what I’ve been lacking these days. It’s so easy to just justify any bad habits by saying, the world’s falling apart, but I think it’s so important even for yourself to just make the effort to better your body, even if it isn't the most fun. Self discipline is something I want to work on, and what better time to do it, than now.