Get Back Into the Swing of Things with These Self-Care Tips
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Parris Kidd
As we continue to make headway against the global pandemic, many have seen the loosening of restrictions and the gradual return to “normal” life. This has produced a wide array of reactions and emotions, ranging from excitement to worry.
Those in the latter camp may be struggling with how to get back into the flow of everyday life and may have lingering concerns over their personal health and safety. Others may be eager to return to their previous routines and have embraced the change with open arms.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum, it’s normal to feel a certain amount of uncertainty or uneasiness as you enter a new phase of life.
Here’s how people with different personalities might be reacting to their new normal:
Extroversion is usually linked to higher coping skills, which can translate to better resilience and less stress. Lockdowns and social distancing may be a source of frustration to extroverts, who typically thrive in social situations. As a result, many extroverts may be less likely to comply with social distancing guidelines, which might place them at a greater risk to their health.
Returning to a pre-pandemic state might be a breath of fresh air for many extroverts. Since they typically savor personal interactions with others, many extroverts will be thrilled by the opportunity to spend more in-person time with friends and family.
Introverts may need time to recharge their batteries after socializing with others. This doesn’t necessarily mean they dislike people, just that they need their space.
Adhering to distancing recommendations and working from home naturally come easier to introverts. Many introverts thrived during the early days of the pandemic, which may have allowed them to work from home and spend more time with their immediate family.
Returning to a regular schedule may create complications for introverts. After a year spent in relative isolation, many introverts may struggle with in-person interactions and returning to the workplace. The challenge for many introverts will be to adapt to a busier social calendar without sacrificing the slower pace they’ve enjoyed during the past several months.
Regardless or your personality type, there are many things you’re probably looking forward to as pandemic restrictions continue to ease:
- Dining in restaurants
- Watching a movie in the theater
- Attending concerts or sporting events
- Shopping at indoor malls and stores
- Visiting family and friends
- Traveling to domestic or foreign destinations
However, even with the excitement of returning to normal, some will still experience anxious feelings over becoming ill, readjusting socially, and losing the comfort and security that came with many months of sheltering in place.
While those reactions are perfectly normal, there are several ways you can reintegrate into society while still taking the appropriate safeguards to protect yourself in your daily routines.
10 Ways to Get Back Into the Swing of Things Post-pandemic
Start on a Positive Note
An effective routine is to begin each morning by saying something like, “Today is going to be a great day!” Such a simple sentence can cause your brain to look for ways to fulfill that affirmative statement. It also establishes a healthy thought pattern you can continue throughout the day.
Focusing on positive thoughts helps your brain discover ways to turn them into reality. This simple strategy can make a significant difference in your life, so do it first thing in the morning to set the tone for your entire day.
Change Your Perspective
Perhaps the global health crisis has completely disrupted your daily schedule, creating a variety of lifestyle changes that have impacted your focus, sleep, and mood. Or maybe the unique stresses of these uncertain times have impaired your ability to cope, making you feel completely overwhelmed much of the time.
You can’t stop what’s happening around the globe, but you can change what’s going on inside your brain to prevent fear from dominating your life. Training your brain to think about the things you can control, and not about the things you can’t, can help relieve anxiousness and provide a more optimistic outlook.
Whenever you feel worried, frustrated, angry, or tense, do a deep breathing exercise. Take a deep breath, hold it for one to two seconds, and then slowly exhale for about five seconds. Do this 10 times and you’ll start to feel very relaxed.
It sounds so simple, but breathing is essential to life. When you slow down and become more efficient with your breathing, you may find that your problems aren’t as dire as you thought they were before you started the exercise.
Continue to practice self-care with brain healthy habits such as exercising, eating right, meditating, getting good sleep, and challenging negative thoughts. Taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do to get back into the swing with a new routine.
Make time for yourself every day. Taking breaks for meditation and relaxation provides benefits for both your physical and mental health. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may give you a fresh perspective.
Clearing your mind and slowing your breathing can help restore inner calm. Repeating a simple Loving Kindness Meditation like “May I be safe and secure,” can increase positive thoughts and decrease negative ones.
One of the best ways to achieve a state of calm is with mindfulness. Yoga, tai chi, and other mindfulness practices can help reduce anxious and depressive thoughts and increase focus. Well-designed human studies show that daily mindfulness can help improve your brain.
Smile and Laugh
The simple act of smiling can help trigger the release of the feel-good transmitters dopamine and serotonin. Smiling may trick your brain into believing you’re happy, which can produce feelings of happiness.
Laughter can help relieve stress, especially in difficult situations. Humor can lighten the mood and make things feel a little less tense. In fact, having a good laugh can give you a much-needed mood boost.
Engaging in outdoor activities is important for everyone, especially those who’ve been cooped up for the last few months. Exercise can boost blood flow to deliver oxygen and positive nutrients to the brain and other organs. Physical activity also has been associated with improved mood and a more optimistic outlook on life.
Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, or horseback riding, being outdoors has an overall positive effect on vitality. Walking can help clear your mind, improve your mood, and burn some calories all at the same time. Being outside also is a great way to get back into the swing without the added stress of being in a crowd or having to converse with a group of people.
Social connections are incredibly important to your overall well-being. Focusing your time and energy on positive people can have a dramatic impact on your everyday life and longevity.
If the thought of attending a family gathering or social outing is overwhelming at this point, set up a lunch date with a friend. If being inside a restaurant feels uncomfortable, take your meal outside (provided the weather is nice). Having a one-on-one conversation is a great way to get back into the swing of things socially.
Getting a massage can do more than just improve your physical function. Clinical studies indicate that a massage is beneficial for improving mood and coping with stress. Massages may help to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.
If you’ve been living an at-home existence for a while now, it’s important not to overdo it as you get back into the swing of things. Establishing a new routine can be stressful for you and everyone in your family.
It’s recommended to take things one step at a time. Gradually add activities, social events, and entertainment back into your schedule. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, remove activities from your calendar until you, and your family, find the sweet spot.
We hope these self-care and stress-reducing techniques help you – and your friends and family – get back in the swing so you can live your best life.
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