Harvard’s Self-Care Tips For Coping With The Coronavirus

You know how flight attendants say if the plane hits turbulence and the oxygen masks come down, to put a mask on yourself first before helping anyone else? Well Harvard is now applying this to the turbulence we’ve all hit in life and they’re telling us we need to make taking care of ourselves a priority. But how do we do that? These are strategies from Harvard doctors and instructors for coping with stress during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Acknowledge the turbulence – People are struggling with social distancing, trying to work remotely, or from being out of work, and instead of trying to carry on and put on a brave face, it’s important to check in about what’s going on. It’s okay to acknowledge being sad about “the way things were” and it can help you stay grounded with how things are currently.
  • Fuel your body with healthy food – When we’re dealing with increased stress, healthy eating is crucial in supporting our immune system to fight off illness and help us recover faster if we do get sick. We’re all cooking at home more, so load up on recipes with fruits and veggies and fresh, simple ingredients.
  • Move your body – Stay active and set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timed. This can be as easy as a goal of taking a 20-minute walk every morning.
  • Prioritize sleep – It’s harder to stick to a schedule these days, but it’s important to try to get a solid eight hours of sleep in order to function. Spending time outside in nature can help and getting regular physical activity can, too.
  • Find ways to connect socially – We can’t get together with loved ones in person, but we still need to stay in touch with them. Having virtual dinner parties, happy hours, dates, and group chats can help keep us connected.
  • Try positive thinking – Remembering and acknowledging the good things in our lives is powerfully positive. Practicing gratitude for our health, our families, our homes, our jobs, and anything you’re thankful for can help shift our perspective from the things we’re missing out on to what we’re grateful for.