Self-care and self-love have often been mentioned in the last two and a half years. The restrictions and work from home set up gave most of us mandatory me-time. Physical and mental health took the center stage as we all dealt with long lockdowns and safety restrictions due to the global pandemic. In this mandatory me-time, a lot us found new hobbies or tried something new, like following online yoga or HIIT classes, cycling, and running. The terms “Pandemic cyclist” and “Pandemic runner” became popular.
Now that things are back to normal, most offices returned to onsite work and social gatherings have been back since before the Christmas holidays. It’s only the second month of the year and I already feel like three months have passed. At this point, we’ve had to adjust to post-pandemic life or a new schedule. How have you been adjusting to your “back to normal” routine? Have you been able to keep your pandemic hobbies or sports? How do you honor your me-time? What are the things you do to practice self-love? If you started a fitness routine during the pandemic, but somehow lost it when things went back to normal, this post is for you.
Honor yourself by allotting at least 30 minutes a day just for yourself. You can write in your journal, do online yoga, or do some crafts. Give yourself some love one week-night a month by going to a good spa. I use the term self-love almost interchangeably with me-time, since the essence of this is honoring ourselves, our own self. As for me, I do my best to keep my fitness routine. I start my day with walking my dog; I consider it a warm up. I then proceed to indoor cycling, running around my neighborhood, swimming, or going to the gym, depending on what day of the week it is. After those one and a half hours, I am ready to go to work and focus on my tasks and errands. On weekends, I make it a point to do a long outdoor ride with other cyclists I met during the pandemic. Once or twice a year, my family and I plan a hike around the Rizal mountains or do a beach trip in Batangas or Zambales.
If you’re based in Metro Manila, going to Montalban or Rodriguez Rizal is a short drive in the early mornings. If you’re based in other cities, I’m almost sure that heading out to nature is easier for you. Go out for a hike with your friends, or on your own; you are sure to meet fellow hikers along the way. If the commute from home to work and back is draining you, dedicate your weekends to that hobby you tried during the lockdown. After all, February is the month of love. Consider this a quick reminder that Valentine’s Day is not just about loving others but loving yourself first.
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I asked my friends what they do for self-care and got around twenty unique responses. Most of the answers were about staying physically fit and eating right because a healthy body is also a healthy mind. Others were about driving alone to the beach or desert, or taking solo vacations without any concrete itinerary. Normally these solo trips help them gain perspective. For fellow athletes, they impressed upon the importance of recovery – a good stretch and investing in deep tissue massage sessions. A friend mentioned something as simple as taking a cold shower, cutting their nails, and meal prepping. Others declutter or tidy up, some write on their journals and take morning or evening walks. A friend mentioned meditation, creative projects, affirmations, and body movement. Some glam up and dress up even when there’s no special occasion, because looking good also makes them feel good, it shows that they can take care of themselves.
Through these responses I learned that being healthy doesn’t mean we can’t eat potato chips or the cookies we love. Being physically fit doesn’t have to mean doing long, intense workouts all the time. Honoring ourselves can be something as simple as knowing when to rest from working. Self-love is finding the balance. In a world where everything is trying to get your attention, it’s a good challenge to be comfortable with some quiet me-time. Give yourself some grace, as taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually will arm you to take on big goals and challenges that sometimes only you can face. It doesn’t have to be a New Year’s Resolution. Begin again this February.
Get fit, be happy, go explore, pamper yourself.