Prioritizing your own well-being is hard.
It was already hard, but with COVID on our hands, it feels as though prioritizing wellness has become even more difficult. Adapting to remote learning and working, maintaining healthy relationships with friends and family who may be far away, and focusing on our own health add to the everyday stresses of life. However, despite how difficult it may be, we do need to prioritize our own wellness. If we aren’t well, we can’t do all the things we've been stressing about to begin with.
Here are a few ways to prioritize wellness even during stressful times:
It can be hard to get to your work on time, but rest assured, if all of it is left until the last minute, you’re going to struggle. Plan in advance what you want to work on when. By setting time aside to get your work done, you can almost guarantee it will come out at a much higher quality, and you can hopefully enjoy some downtime too. One way to prevent procrastination is to use the Reminders or Alarms features on your phone. This way, you can set a schedule for yourself, and even if you forget, your phone will remember.
Yes, sleep. That’s it. Yes, there's a lot to do, but don’t let it keep you up all night. Catch up on the sleep that your body needs. Set goals for yourself on what time you want to be in bed by and what time you hope to wake up by.
If you have sleeping problems, there are options! Talk with your doctor to find the best option for you. Sometimes taking melatonin or drinking a glass of cherry juice or chamomile tea before bed can help. Remember, with a refreshed body comes a refreshed mind.
Do What You Enjoy
Make sure your hobbies and interests don’t get pushed aside when trying to get all of your work done. Although it may seem like it, work is not the most important thing in the world. Your well-being comes first. Do things that feed your mind, body, and soul. If you’re working on a paper and experiencing writer’s block, go for a walk or watch an episode of your favorite show. Enjoy a much-needed break.
If the hobbies that you are used to doing are unavailable due to COVID restrictions, you can find an online support group or forum of people with the same interest. This way, you can feel that same camaraderie of being on a team again. Or, take this opportunity to find a new hobby. Order a craft kit online or some new sports equipment—whatever new activity you want to try!
Focus on You
This might just be the most important step to maintaining wellness, especially in trying times. Focus on you. Stop comparing yourself. If reading comics is what makes you happy even though no one else seems to be reading them, who cares? Do what makes you happy. Do what makes you feel well. Understand that everyone is built differently and require different needs to maintain their wellness. Keep pushing on, focus on your goals, and find ways to get there that are healthy for you.
I know this might sound a little cliche, but schedule wellness hours for yourself. Designate an amount of time that works for you based off of your schedule, and be committed to setting that time aside for relaxation. Your brain and body can't properly function under prolongated amounts of stress, and you don't deserve it. Making time for yourself can feel nearly impossible. Whether you have children who constantly need your attention, a simply hectic schedule, or whatever it may be—scheduling time for relaxation is not easy. It can even make you feel selfish.
Let me first and foremost remind you that self-care is not selfish. You are allowed to hire a babysitter or ask for someone else to clean the house. You don't deserve to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Technology can be quite the helping hand when it comes to managing stress and keeping track of that never-ending to-do list. Smartwatches are useful tools for managing bodily functions such as sleep and exercise, as well as reminding you when you need to stand up to stretch and move. The Alarms app that comes on your smartphone can come in handy to prevent oversleeping and missing important meetings or events. Similarly, a Reminders app can alert you when it's time to drink more water, take your medication, give your eyes a 20-second screen break, or whatever it is that you need to accomplish that day.
There are many wellness apps out there as well. They can range from meditation, pre-made workouts, keeping track of your water and/or food intake, mindfulness, and so many more! Check your device's store to see which apps might work the best for your lifestyle.
Don't let life's stress take control of you. You take control of your life. And that starts with keeping control of your wellness first!