Facing adversity such as a pandemic, illness or financial uncertainty, while challenging, offers us the opportunity to grow resilience. We pull from our inner resources to cope, and bounce back from sudden, unexpected change. We find fresh ways to respond, emerging stronger as we support our health and well-being.
Resilience empowers us to remain present, flexible and adaptable, to move forward and find creative solutions while supporting the health of our family, community and the planet. At-home self-care has become essential to maintaining health during social-distancing. Here are five practical tips to help build resilience through self-care:
1. Design your day to include pause breaks
Take 10- to 15-minute pause breaks often. Enjoy a cup of chamomile tea to relax, gaze at nature, turn off technology or listen to relaxing music. Such breaks help you gain a new perspective and lead to more restful sleep.
2. Exercise for fun
Embrace some form of movement that you enjoy for 30 minutes a day, even in 10-minute intervals. Take pleasure in the movement, which decreases tension and increases serotonin levels, improving mood and well-being. Find creative ways to exercise, like walking in your home or in nature, taking stairs or joining an online class. When movement brings you some level of joy, it helps clear your mind and energizes you.
3. Eat a mostly plant-based diet
Experiment with a variety of fruits and vegetables or “colors of the rainbow,” preferably organic, adding high-quality protein, such as broccoli, lentils or chickpeas. Cold water wild-caught salmon, organic chicken or turkey, grass-fed beef in small amounts helps satiation and stabilizes blood sugar, calming the nervous system.
4. Take time for meditation
Meditation, contemplation or prayer helps you access inner resources for calm and clarity. Regular meditation helps rewire the brain and boosts the immune system. Even 10 minutes of meditation facilitates accessing different parts of the brain to increase insight, reduce stress, and reset your system for a more positive outlook.
5. Give yourself permission to relax
Experiment with various relaxation strategies. Taking hot baths with lavender or rose essential oil relaxes both your body and mind, and can also help insomnia. Apply naturally fragrant hand lotion to restore skin hydration after frequent hand-washing. Self-massage using a nurturing body oil to increase circulation. Reading inspirational articles helps calm anxiety.
Above all, self-love and appreciation for who you are and what you bring to your family, community and the world will fortify your resilience for coping with the challenges of the day and life’s ever-changing new normal. As we emerge from these unprecedented times with a foundation of self-care, we move forward with increased agility to create a more joyful life. In this way you may find treasures within yourself for sustained health, radiance and even greater resilience.
Gayle Myers, MD is a board-certified Integrative Medicine physician, speaker and wellness expert. In private practice in Vermont for over thirty years, Dr. Myers integrates the wholeness of mind, body and spirit to help her patients restore and maintain their optimum health. Her own healing journey and resilience empowered her full recovery from a serious car accident in 2011. Dr. Myers is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Intuitive Awareness Center in Georgia, VT.