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Putting the “Self” in Self-Care

Parenting Journey

By NY Assistant Program Director Gabrielle E. Witte, LCSW

As many human service providers know, self-care has become a trendy way to describe commodified services. However, self-care at its core is of utmost importance while we continue to do the important work of helping people, especially during this crisis. 

Working from home has never been an option for me as a social worker. Up until this point, all of my jobs have been about providing in-person, direct services. Now that I am working remotely, I’m realizing that there are many new dynamics in both my personal and professional routines.

At Parenting Journey, we are all adjusting to new remote work policies and procedures, a lack of access to the tools we normally have available to us in our offices and many of us are negotiating spaces to work around the other people in our homes. 

Similarly, adjusting our self-care routines and coping techniques is essential to our overall mental health. In particular, we may be struggling with the loss of our normal coping mechanisms (exercise, spending time with loved ones etc.). Many of us are feeling the toll of the inability to practice those coping mechanisms on our minds and bodies. 

If you are working from home, Parenting Journey has put together some tips for self-care during this pandemic: 

Self-Care While Managing Working from HomePersonal Self-Care While Managing with Social DistancingSelf-Care While Managing with The COVID-19 Pandemic
Keep a regular schedule (with scheduled breaks) 

Set boundaries with your work schedule and availability  

If possible, avoid working in your bed or in your bedroom 

Carve out a designated workspace 

Get up periodically, stretch  

Check-in with your colleagues (“water-cooler chat”) 

Communicate effectively both with colleagues and family or other roommates (negotiate space needs, timeframes, noise levels, etc)  

Ask for feedback while working remotely and adjust as needed 
Do activities that bring you joy 

Try a new activity or hobby 

Continue working on your mental health needs (whether that’s continuing your medication regime or continuing therapy virtually) 

Keep your home clean and tidy 

Keep up normal hygiene routines  

Exercise & Stay active 

Get fresh air (Safely) 

Change your clothes daily 

Keep a regular sleep schedule (also for mental health) 

Engage with your support networks (virtually) 
Balance between staying informed and limited media consumption 

Utilize resources with accurate information, avoid sensationalized media 

Practice social distancing by communication with others virtually or by phone/email contact 

Avoid interacting with others who are sick 

Eat right, take your vitamins, boost your immune system  

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap & use hand sanitizer regularly  

Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook if your arm  

Disinfect heavily touched areas (doorknob, phones, etc) 

Abide by shelter-in-place/stay home order guidelines 

Limit going outside (only leave your home when absolutely necessary) 

Pay attention to any potential symptoms of being sick 

Stay home if you feel sick 

Utilize the COVID-19 hotline if necessary 

Seek medical attention if necessary 

Parenting Journey also recognizes (and gives thanks to) the many people who aren’t working from home. There are countless doctors, nurses, medical support professionals, grocery store and pharmacy employees, home health aids, human service providers, postal workers, laundromat staff, and more essential employees who are still serving the public everyday. 

For this invaluable community, Parenting Journey offers the following suggestions:

  • Get adequate sleep 
  • Practice grounding techniques like meditation
  • Check-in with peers and supervisors regularly 
  • Utilize positive self-talk 
  • Stay hydrated and eat well balanced meals 
  • Limit the number of customers/employees in one space at the same time
  • When possible, avoid using other coworker’s desks, phones, materials, etc. 
  • Commute using the least populated mode of transportation possible 
  • Increase housekeeping practices in work spaces 
  • Stay home if you have any symptoms of illness

We would love to hear some ideas for self-care from all of you as well; please share your ideas with us in the comments!

Resources used to curate tips: