In a world that looks very different to what we know, self-care may seem like a difficult task to focus on. It may not even be on your mind! Looking after yourself and your mental well-being are so important, especially right now. The tricky part is often picking apart what we can control, and what we can’t. The feeling of having NO control over anything will certainly make you feel lost, anxious and alone. I can assure you, you have more control than you would think. Self-care and understanding yourself are intrinsically tied to motivational speaking. I have been thinking over this for the last few weeks, observing the situation and the responses. Whilst I usually speak to empower people in their day to day, in their work, in their parenting, leading, growing… To me, speaking to you about this situation is no different. It’s our environment and goals which have switched. I am writing this to help empower you, to help you focus on you in this situation. Firstly, let me emphasise that the health of everyone is the priority. This is why we are doing this – to protect each other, our communities, our country, our world. I understand and acknowledge, with great heartache, that sickness and personal finances are causing us stress and concern. I will not be discussing these in this post, I will be focusing on mental health, mental motivation and refocusing our energy where possible. And with that, I would like to go over what we can all do to help our minds. Self-care not only benefits us by giving us rest, peace, and balance, it also means we have more emotional capacity to help others. If someone we love is having a hard time, we are better equipped to help. As mentioned above, feeling as though we have no control is a horrible experience. Switching our perspectives and actively changing even the smallest detail will do you wonders (and demonstrate that we do have control!). Control your choices You may be thinking that everything is out of your hands, the world is spiraling around you. It is strange and unpredictable, but there are choices here. Are you glued to the news all day? Or Social Media? Is this situation all you talk about? It’s easily done. Our minds gravitate towards sadness and scary topics because our brain sees them as “dangerous”. We get addicted and cannot stop consuming it. But this hurts us! It makes us sad, removes our hope, it makes us TIRED. Sadness tires us out, as opposed to happiness, which energises us. Consider this – control your “consumption” time. It may be tough at first, but you will soon find it gets easier.Limit the time spent watching the news and scrolling on the internet. Perhaps look only once a day for major updates, or get rid of things on your Social Media which are making you feel tense. You can always re-connect with these accounts later when this has passed. Control your routine Working on some sort of routine for yourself, your children, your family, will definitely help you get a feeling of management back. Half of the reason why this is becoming stressful is because us humans have suddenly switched from going out to school, work, wherever we like, to being little hermits at home with no idea what to do (we can only binge so much TV). Going to bed and waking up at a similar time each day may seem small, but, it IS a routine! This routine helps us sleep better, heal, rest, rejuvenate. Sleep is incredibly valuable for our minds and bodies.Identify what makes you feel peaceful, and connect with it Everyone has their “thing”. Mine is walking my dog. I LOVE it. It’s calming, serene, and it brings me so much joy to see our lovely dog bouncing around outside.For other people, it may be a bubble bath, their morning coffee, or wrapping themselves in blankets and reading a book. When we’re stressed or anxious, our minds are all over the place and doing these happy things is the last thing we think of. Take some control back. These are YOUR joys, your little moments that mean the world to you. If it brings you peace, tranquility – embrace it! Find time. Whether it’s 10 minutes, or an hour, whatever you can spare. If you have children, finding time may be hard. Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing where that time will come from. Perhaps you can share the moment with your kids, or if you wake up before them, use that time for you. Don’t worry about the dishes – you need to feel good too. Adjust what you believe being “productive” isProductivity is usually associated with making money, moving forward to “success”. There are a lot of messages online about maximizing this time to be “productive” – fix up your home, learn something, start a new business. These are all positive things to do, but we also need to acknowledge that for a lot of people we may not have the mental capacity or physical energy. The pressure to come out of this with a university degree or a multi-million dollar start up certainly doesn’t help our minds. So, let us change how we view what it means to be productive. Maybe today you made your bed and put some laundry on. It’s not ridiculous to think that this is productive. You didn’t HAVE to do those things, but guess what – you did. Maybe you have no clue what you did today, but your kids are fed and are giggling at silly jokes – YOU did that! Maybe you took a day to lay on the sofa and watch TV. This was your choice to do so because you needed it. Taking care of yourself IS productive! Update how you word things This one may seem so simple… but the impact is drastic. How we word things to ourselves and others is the difference between understanding and misunderstanding; happiness and sadness; anger and hope. Here’s an example for you: “I am being forced to self-isolate.” This sounds terrible! No wonder stress levels are up – you feel forced and trapped into doing this. “I am choosing to stay home to protect people and their loved ones, as I hope people would do for me and my family.” Now, doesn’t that sound better? And acknowledging that YOU made that choice means you took control back. Try this when you next encounter something that makes you feel trapped, see if you can adjust the wording to another option or perspective. You will be surprised at how often there is another way of looking at it – and one that benefits you. These are only a handful of things to help us manage our perspectives and emotions. Yes, this situation is not pleasant, however there are still beautiful things around us. We have forgotten how to connect with ourselves and the natural beauty Mother Nature has so generously given us. Start small, and build. If you have a stumble, it doesn’t matter – don’t be harsh to yourself. You are doing the best you can with what you have. Self-care is empowering – you have made the choice to be kind to yourself. If you have any doubt, ask yourself this: Why don’t you deserve care? Perhaps you cannot answer that question, or it makes you uncomfortable to do so. Know this – you DO deserve care. You do. Always.