LAST MARCH AND APRIL, I woke up every morning trying to shake off a bad dream—something grey and heavy, something about a virus. Every morning, I’d realize it was, somehow, real. But even as I have integrated the “new normal” of lockdown and social distancing into my consciousness, the stress, fear and grief of the situation can still overwhelm me.
A difference-maker throughout this time, however, has been my self-care routine, a set of practices and habits that I’ve followed since my 20s, before I even knew there was a “self-care” movement.
While the term “self-care” might bring to mind Instagram hashtags and spa days, it has two legitimate origins. Before it went mainstream, “self-care was used to describe guidance on what sick people and their caretakers should do to support the work of getting healthy. And, women and Black people used the term to describe the kind of care not provided by a white, patriarchal medical establishment.
It’s fortunate that self-care is now more widespread, as people of any age can make use of the movement’s lessons during this pandemic. Here are some starting points.
Settle Your Mind
Even before COVID-19 arrived in Canada, we had been experiencing a mental health crisis. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, mental health challenges cause around 500,000 people to miss work each week. And in a recent Morneau Shepell survey, 36 per cent of Ontarians reported their mental health has suffered since the pandemic began.
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