Self-Care Like a Pro: How to Love Yourself Back for Valentine’s Day

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Self-Care Like a Pro: How to Love Yourself Back for Valentine’s Day

Mental Health.Stress
Jennifer Hadley
By Jennifer Hadley
Feb 13, 2020 - Updated Feb 05, 2021
Self-Care Like a Pro: How to Love Yourself Back for Valentine’s Day

Face masks. Bubble baths. “Wine o’clock.” For some, the concept of self-care has become synonymous with indulgence and pampering. But that’s not what self-care means.

Real self-care can lead to lasting positive changes in your physical and mental health, particularly during stressful times in your life, such as what we’ve experienced due to COVID-19. Here’s a look at how to self-care like a pro, even during a pandemic.

How to Start Self-Care

First, it’s important to understand what self-care is, and what it isn’t. Self-care doesn’t mean overindulging, or numbing your stress with behaviors like drinking alcohol or eating junk food. It’s also not about self-improvement, perfectionism, or pressuring yourself to be better. Rather, think of it as an ongoing process of taking stock of your physical and emotional needs, and taking steps to make sure that the basics are being met.

Think about what you need to function your best — things like good nutrition, exercise, and rest. Remind yourself that you’re not being selfish. Every person needs to take care of their mind and body, just like every car needs regular maintenance. Then (and this is the hard part!) set aside time during the week to actually work on it. Start small, but start somewhere.

Here are 5 tips for practicing self-care during a pandemic

Go to Bed a Bit Earlier

Thirty-five percent of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep a night, below the recommended minimum. If that sounds like you, sleep is a good place to start your self-care routine. Lack of sleep is linked to numerous health problems, including obesity, heart disease, and depression. Getting enough sleep is also vital for a healthy immune system, which is crucial during the coronavirus pandemic.

Move Your Body

We all know exercise is important for both physical and mental health. So get moving! A brisk walk, a bike ride, yoga, tai chi, are all healthy ways to practice self-care with exercise while still maintaining a safe social distance from others.

Make a Doctor’s Appointment

If you can’t remember the last time you had a check-up, or if you’ve been postponing preventative screenings, it is time to start scheduling those appointments. Health care providers have gone to great lengths to ensure safety during visits, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

While there, be sure to ask your health care provider questions about your current prescriptions and overall health. Questions may include things like:

  • Is there any medication you don’t need to be taking anymore?
  • Do you need a different dose than you did three years ago?
  • Are there vitamins that you should be taking?
  • How can you strengthen your immune system?
  • How can you improve or maintain wellness?

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Cook Something Fresh

Healthy food won’t feel like self-care if you hate eating it or feel deprived. So focus on having fun in the kitchen and discovering new dishes or styles of cooking you enjoy. If you usually eat processed food or convenience meals, try making a meal from fresh ingredients for a change. Look for recipes that feature the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark, indicating it is recommended for an overall healthy eating pattern. Heart-healthy foods include:

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans, lentils, and legumes
  • Fish, especially oily fish like salmon and sardines
  • Lean meats
  • Nuts and seeds

If cooking isn’t your thing, set out a veggie platter before dinner to take the edge off your appetite and get some of your recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

Give Your Mind a Break

Stress can be harmful to your health. Stress is known to play a role in many health conditions, from high blood pressure to arthritis. Stress can also weaken your immune system. During a pandemic, keeping a strong immune system is critical. So if you’re feeling under pressure, don’t just tough it out.

There are many techniques and strategies that can help you manage stress — find some that work for you:

  • Positive self-talk
  • Spending time with friends and loved ones--even if it is over a video call
  • Meditation or breathing exercises
  • Mindful movement like yoga or tai chi
  • Spending time outdoors
  • Taking advantage of free mental health resources during COVID-19
  • Talking with a psychologist or mental health professional
  • Cuddling or playing with a pet
  • Aromatherapy

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By taking a little time each week to practice self-care, you’ll be in the best position to manage the stress and the challenges of daily life during a pandemic. You will also be in the best position to show others how much you love them, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley

Jen Hadley is a freelance writer and journalist based in Los Angeles, who writes extensively about the medical, legal, health care, and consumer products industries. Jen is a regular contributor to RxSaver.

The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.