Self-care during the pandemic

We all know practicing self-care is important, particularly whilst we continue to navigate through the global pandemic. That being said, whilst social media may have us believing that practicing self-care is all about having a boujee bath and posting a picture of it, that’s not always the case. We asked our Instagram community for their best tips to practice self-care and this is what they said.

Rest

Self-care during the pandemic - RGU Instagram community suggestions.

Resting and relaxing is one of the best ways to reduce stress, improve your focus and overall health. Easier said than done, sometimes though! In this age of social media, it can be easy to believe that you always need to be productive, achieve something or start a new business – but, you don’t. Giving yourself the time to switch off, rest and relax could be the reason why you are productive and creative. Here is your reminder that it’s also okay to just let your body and mind switch off and do whatever you need to, to feel refreshed.

Thanks to Aensu, MSc Project Management Alumni for this suggestion!

Switch off from social media

This is a good one. Whilst social media and platforms like Zoom have been great for staying connected throughout lockdown, there is something to be said for switching off and just having some time to yourself. It’s a great way to connect meaningfully with yourself but also your friends and family, and allows you to focus on being present. Having a social media break can remove some of the pressures of life, thus reducing FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), increasing productivity and not worrying so much about showcasing the “picture perfect” life that social media often expects us to have (Learn Safe 2017). Here are some ideas for things to do whilst taking a social media break:

  • Get some fresh air
  • Write a letter to a friend
  • Snuggle up on the sofa with a good book
  • Try out that old hobby you haven’t done in a while
  • Try out a new recipe from a cookbook on your shelf
  • Have a hot drink and a treat
  • Just relax

Put some music on and have a dance

Self-care during the pandemic - RGU Instagram community suggestions. Grey's Anatomy.

If we have any Grey’s Anatomy fans here, you’ll know what we mean when we say, “30 Second Dance Party.” Sometimes there really is nothing better than putting on your favourite songs and having a dance. Even if you don’t really feel like it, we guarantee you’ll feel a lot better after. It’s a little like how you can trick your brain into thinking you’re happy if you fake a smile (SCL Health 2018), the endorphins released from dancing can boost your mood and even contribute to enhancing creative thinking (Lovatt in Halliwell 2016)! So, for anyone struggling to write pieces of coursework or looking for some creative inspiration, try turning up your music and having a boogie!

Boost your Confidence

Bella, one of our student paramedics told us that if you feel confident, you’ll act confident and that’s how she feels after putting on some makeup. Makeup isn’t for everyone and doing something to make you feel confident could include doing your hair, wearing an outfit that makes you feel good, repeating positive affirmations, sitting or standing in power poses, moving your body, smiling or achieving a goal (amongst many, many other things!). The process of focussing on something can also just be a great distraction, which is sometimes what we need.

Exercise/Get Outside Everyday

Many of our followers suggested exercising and getting outside as a form of self-care that really helps them, and we are inclined to agree! There are many benefits to getting outdoors. Just being outside and breathing in some fresh air can work wonders for you. It is a great chance to listen to an audiobook / podcast, connect with nature or an opportunity to see another person outdoors.

Remaining active is extremely important for mental wellbeing. Physical activity releases endorphins, creating a feeling of happiness. Exercise also boosts brain power and productivity, allowing us to get more done and to focus for longer. Physical activity does not mean you need to run 10km or go to the gym, there are many ways you can get out and be active, such as going for a walk. If you live nearby to campus, why not take a walk along the river? Or you can check out Masters of Physiotherapy students Izzy and Mairi’s favourite walks in Aberdeen.

Thanks to Ewan, a 2nd year International Tourism Management student for sending us some of these tips!

These are just a few suggestions on how to practice self-care and look after both your body and mind, but there are plenty more out there. It’s all about finding something that works for you, so don’t be disheartened if you aren’t feeling relaxed and content immediately! For even more suggestions, check out our 12 Days of Wellbeing to give you tips, tools and resources to help with your physical and mental wellbeing.

If you are struggling and need to speak to someone then please reach out to RGU’s counselling and wellbeing team. The Student Counselling & Wellbeing Centre has Counsellors and a Student Wellbeing Advisor who can talk over issues that may be concerning you. We also provide online mental health self-help programmes 24/7 through our Silvercloud platform to help with Anxiety, Stress, Depression and Body Image.

Kirstin Bell