These days, we might tend to think of self-care as an indulgence in some pleasure that takes our minds off the daily grind. Many of our more public forms of relaxation (going out with friends, seeing a movie, going to the salon) have been limited because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There also might be less money to go toward self-care as unemployment keeps rising and business are still shuttered in some places. Although the glow-up of a fresh set of nails is undefeated, self-care doesn’t have to be limited to goods or services you can buy.
With the stress of a pandemic raging all around us and an uncertain future, it is more important than ever to take care of ourselves. And you can still practice self-care regardless of how many coins you have in your account, without even leaving your house. Care is a type of labor, so don’t feel bad if at first it’s hard to spend that energy and time on yourself. You’re totally worth it, though. Poet and feminist Audre Lorde said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” You’ve gotta be fierce in preserving yourself from burn out.
Because we love it when you show yourself some love, here are seven essential self-care habits to start (or keep up) during quarantine.
1. Stay hydrated
We don’t mean to sound like your mom here, but she’s got a point: water is life! Your body is made up of mostly water and keeping your situation adequately hydrated is key. If the taste of plain old H2O is a deterrent for you, try drinking sparkling water or decaf tea, or add some cut-up fruit your water bottle (as a bonus, fruit is a source of “gel water”). Water helps keep your skin, hair, and nails healthy in addition to giving you energy throughout the day. Not to mention that dehydration can cause fever, which can cause you to think you have COVID-19, which we can say from experience isn’t fun for anyone.
2. Get some rest
You don’t need a bedtime because you’re grown AF, right? Mmm, not exactly. Lack of adequate sleep can affect your health and your mood. We know it’s tempting to stay up at least until Netflix asks, “Are you still watching this?” But if you can, try to get between six and nine hours of sleep a night. You’ll feel better for it.
3. Eat something!
It happens to the best of us. We get so busy grinding and then before we realize it, we’ve skipped breakfast and lunch. Sometimes we don’t even realize it until we suddenly feel lightheaded. Be kind to that beautiful body of yours and feed it something yummy.
4. Give your eyes and mind a break
So much is happening in the world right now, it can be hard to step away from the screens that keep us up to date with news. But remember to rest your eyes periodically. Your brain will also thank you for a break from the 24-hour news cycle.
5. Rub one out (seriously!)
Sorry, not sorry: we’re big fans of masturbation around here. One great way to practice self-care is by giving yourself the Big O. Orgasms are great stress and tension relievers.
6. Connect with your body
Times of crisis take a toll on people in different ways. And whatever you’re feeling emotionally can work its way into your body, manifesting as headaches, tight muscles, and/or other disruptions. Try working out your frustrations physically. Take a jog in place at home or outside. Fight the air. Do some energizing stretches. Yoga poses are also good prep work for sex, if you’re in the mood to get freaky.
7. Reach out to some humans
This pandemic is robbing us of human connection in both public and private spaces. We miss our BFFs in the worst way! Even though we need to be cautious about hanging out, especially to protect immunocompromised loved ones, we still need to hear from our people. So be sure to get those FaceTimes, Zoom calls, and phone calls in when loneliness strikes. If you have some extra time on your hands, write a snail mail letter to someone and have them video chat you when they receive it. The smile on their face will put one on yours.
P.S. Here’s one more as a bonus: laugh as often as you can. Laughter is a kind of medicine we all need during quarantine—just don’t do it around people who aren’t in your household unless you have a mask on, k?