Can we just rest? A guide to self-care during isolation in a global crisis
18. marts 2020
This is a weird period in our lives. Most of us have not been taught to prepare for a global crisis before, leaving us to ponder on how to approach situations like this. “Stay inside? For two weeks? Easy, I am an introvert, I will thrive!” many of you said. But it’s getting to day 4-5 of the quarantine period in Denmark, and I am getting restless. I have so many tasks and ideas I want to pursue, but I end up just scrolling vacantly through my feed looking for the next catchy headline to fixate on…
Self-care. That old chestnut. A term that is so pertinent to our current political climate, yet, very misunderstood. For me, self-care is about survival. It is about doing the things that will help you be a functional human being. Since our future is uncertain, we need self-care more than ever. A lot of us have no structure and routine nowadays, which can allow our general wellbeing to breakdown and experience burnout. So, how can we use self-care whilst we’re isolating?*
Alright, this is the most important one in my opinion. You *can* treat this period to master your side-hustle and do yoga like 52 times a day. But you have to ask yourself, is this what you really need right now? Some people have no choice and have to work from home, I totally get that. However, Capitalism has that pesky tendency to make you feel useless and lazy when you’re not working on something that can produce a profit. Why do we have to be on the grind 24/7? Can we not just rest? So, deeply reflect on what you really need right now, because it will make a huge difference to your wellbeing in a couple of weeks.
Make sure they are safe and are according to the governmental guidelines of the country you are in. And if they’re not, think of some substitutes. For self-care, I would usually go to the sauna I volunteer at and attend a yoga class. I can’t do that right now (and rightly so, thank you Mette Frederikson for laying down the law unlike some political leaders *cough* Boris Johnson). So, I instead have replaced sauna time with DIY steaming facials and yoga class with at home yin-yoga. These substitutions make sure there isn’t too much change in your usual routine.
I do this a lot. I wake up, roll over and check Sky News, DR Nyheder, Twitter and Facebook. That’s a lot of information at 8 am, sis. It can be overwhelming, so try and revolve your morning routine around how you want to start the day. Meditation? Cool. A hot shower whilst rapping Rico Nasty? Valid. After you’ve done these things, then check the news (if you even want to). Your day shouldn’t start with anxiety about what’s happening outside. Focus on what’s happening internally first, this way you prioritize yourself and your own energy.
I’ve been trying to focus on these 3 things to keep me healthy and sane. They might not work for you, but the main message is to have a plan for yourself. Here is a list of things I am currently doing.
Knitting. Oh my god, why haven’t I done this before! I am currently knitting a scarf that I want to be done by the end of this quarantine period. So then when I wear it, I can tell the story of why I started knitting and feel proud of learning a new skill during this stressful time.
Dipping into little niche interests I don’t usually have time for like astrology! I bought a couple of books on astrology and lunar cycles, so I am working on learning how to read birth charts (btw, I don’t care about your ‘hot take’ on how astrology is useless, don’t try me).
Walking outside. This sounds simple, but honestly; being outside changes your perspective a bit on life. Right now, I like to walk around the Lakes in Copenhagen. I like to look at the swans and the ducks. And call my mum.
Calling people you never talk to! I called my lovely school chum, David, the other day. It was really nice to reminisce (read: bitch) about our school times and catch up on our weird lives. It can help you escape a bit from your current situation and perhaps even remind you how much you’ve grown from the past ‘you’ they knew before. So meta, I know.
Journal. Journalling can be really boring sometimes. But maybe you want to show your kids some ‘archives’ of this period in history! Your thoughts don’t have to be profound (calm down, Socrates) but even if it’s just some notes like “I’m scared and hungry. I binge-watched 7 episodes of ‘Love is Blind’ today. I miss my friends”, that’s still insightful and will give ‘future you’ a chuckle or two when you read it.
I will end this article with this quote by Audre Lorde. I use this quote a lot, but I think it’s the most important sentiment we can take away from this situation. Read it, set it as your phone background, make it a daily mantra. It will refocus the way you think about self-care during this time and actually, for the rest of your life.
Bella Neergaard is a 22-year-old activist, comedian and curve model. She is trying to work out this ‘self-love’ thing and is documenting her journey through online ramblings (like the one you just read) and probably-futile Instagram posts.