This February, Make Self-Care your Main Priority!

Let’s face it - since the pandemic, many of us have been putting self-care in the back of our minds, as we’ve been focused on a variety of other concerns that have grabbed our attention. Maybe we’ve been glued to the craziness happening with our neighbours down South. Perhaps we’ve been on the hunt for a job. Maybe the gym that used to motivate us to stay healthy has closed down, and we have not done any exercise for months on end!

Here are some tips (and cat pictures) to help make self-care your number one priority this February, because you are important, and you need to show your body some love!

Do daily stretches
My cat was the inspiration for this tip. Every time she wakes up after sleeping (and boy, does she sleep a lot), she does very thorough stretching. I find that stretching early in the morning is a nice way to get my blood flowing and gets rid of the tiredness I feel every time I wake up. An added benefit, is that it allows me to be more flexible, and I can even touch my toes!

Get enough sleep
I feel like this is a tip that can’t be emphasized enough. Now that many of us are working from home, there’s far less excuses we can make for neglecting our sleep. We no longer have our daily commutes to worry about, and many of us can work in our pajamas. Personally, I find myself sleeping more than I did pre-pandemic, and I feel far more energized and alert throughout the day. I don’t even need coffee when working from home!

Do something you enjoy
While it can be nice to feel, and be productive, it’s just as important to give yourself some time to recover, and enjoy life. We all have unique things that we like doing. Maybe for you, it is watching your favourite show on Netflix. Or watching cat videos on YouTube. Perhaps you enjoy baking. Maybe you like hiking. Whatever it is, set aside some time to have some fun, and remember that I’ll be judging you if you don’t do at least one fun activity every do. So, go! Have fun! I demand it!

Don’t expect perfection from yourself
This might feel like a bit of a strange tip to include, but I believe it is an important one. Many of my friends and family members who have unfortunately lost their jobs due to COVID have been very harsh to themselves in these challenging times. For instance, one of my cousins who was recently laid off applied for many jobs, but never heard back from employers, and felt as though he was not meeting the expectations he laid out for himself. Remember that these are very unusual and perplexing times for many Canadians, and that you are not alone. Give yourself room to make mistakes and be kind to yourself.

If you’re not sure how to get started with some of the tips I’ve shared above, Markham Public Library has many free programs that can kickstart your new self-care journey. For instance, we offer yoga classes which can be a great way to learn new stretches! We also have meditation and mindfulness programs, to name just a few.

Remember to take it one day at a time, and make your own well-being your top priority!