As if 2020 hasn’t been stressful enough with a worldwide pandemic and lockdown, Americans are dealing with the election that won’t end…
Uncertainty often leads to anxiety, especially if we haven’t mastered the art of letting go.
This is where self-care comes in. For our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, self-care is more necessary than ever while we face, well, we have no idea!
The Qeep Up team shares their self-care go-to’s as well as some free resources for support.
We want you to take care of you and feel good. Remember to reach out when you need—to friends, family, teachers, doctors or even us: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are in this together!
Post-Election Stress Relief
If there’s one thing that gets hard when anxiety strikes, it’s sleep. (Did anyone get any rest on Election Night?) But sleep is key to our well-being.
COO Amanda Schardt admits, “I haven’t done a great job of tapering my anxiety this week. However, there is one thing that keeps me optimum: consistent sleep. With the time change last weekend, I have shifted my schedule to get to bed earlier and get up at 6am with the light—rather than working late into the night and unwinding until midnight. My circadian rhythm already feels better!”
- I silence my phone at 9pm and have a strict “no phone in bed” rule.
- Before going to sleep, I spend about 5 minutes on my Lo Rox foam roller and then read for 30 minutes or so.
Some other suggestions: Lavender aromatherapy has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Mist your room and your pillow. Even better, take a hot bath before bed and add some drops of lavender into your bath. If you are going to be on your phone or laptop before (or in) bed, try blue light blocking glasses so you don’t disrupt your sleep.
Move your body! Studies have shown that even 3 minutes of exercise will boost your mood.
Production Manager Peri Donch agrees, “I started Election Day with a super hard run in Griffith Park. I have also found a pool not more than 15 mins from my home. I can go there for a beautiful early morning swim, experiencing the sunrise reflection in the pool is a gift. Exercising helps me release stress in my body and get it OUT!”
Whatever form of exercise you like, just do it. You can start with Maggie Q’s morning yoga routine.
By now, we should all know the importance of breathing properly. The first thing is to breathe slowly and fully with your diaphragm. Anxiety often causes us to breathe quickly and shallowly, which only increases our feelings of stress and panic. Breathwork is a powerful way to both calm and energize our bodies.
“Breathwork saved my life!” says Content Director Maggie Kim. “I’ve meditated for twenty years, but breathwork has taken my spiritual practice to another level. It’s an active practice that provides so much emotional and physical release—which has been incredible in helping me deal with trauma and PTSD. You laugh, cry, get the tingles, have mystical experiences. Nothing has made me feel more connected to Source, followed by being grounded and more powerful. I do a form of Holotropic breathing, which is a 3-part breath, but there are many different kinds to explore. Start by googling breathwork!”
- Find the breathwork that works for you, whether it’s Pranayama, Wim Hof, Rebirthing. Try different kinds. Try different teachers.
- Many meditation and mindfulness apps offer breathwork. My favorite is Insight Timer, which is completely free, and has all kinds of guided meditations and talks. I find it’s more spiritual and esoteric than some of the other popular apps. Translation: There’s some weird shit on there!
Get out in nature if you can and really notice the beauty of our planet. Walk barefoot on grass; hug a tree; swim in the ocean. Connecting with Mother Earth is a powerful way to get grounded and be in our bodies.
Says Peri, “I love Griffith Park so much. It is my anchor and my ‘rock’ in LA. It is my go-to in nature and I have found amazing off-road trails like the ridge I ran yesterday morning.”
Amanda agrees, “My animals, the sun and trees are my meditation. I’ve successfully made time each day for at least a 30-minute walk break outside in the woods. This simple routine has helped me stay sane this week… though time will tell, won’t it?!”
Connecting with loved ones became incredibly important during the lockdown—thanks, Zoom!—and continues to be while we wait for every vote to be counted. Reach out to friends and family members. If you think you need more professional support, don’t be afraid to talk to your primary care physician, who can connect you with licensed therapists.
“I have amazing friends who’ve patiently and empathetically listened to my problems for years, but I sometimes feel guilty for constantly relying on them for emotional support,” says Maggie. “That’s why I have therapists (yes, plural) whose job it is to listen to my problems! Recently, my health insurance offered me free therapy sessions. So please check in with your doctor if you feel like you need professional support. I’ve also gotten (and given) therapist recommendations. Don’t be shy.”
Don’t forget that loved ones aren’t necessarily human!
“My therapists have four legs and a tail!” says Amanda.
For everyone who got a quarantine puppy or kitten, get some extra cuddles and unconditional love from your furry BFF.
Content Manager Selina Mohr found free services for LGBTQ+, POC mental health and self care. Again, don’t be afraid to ask for help!
National LGBT Help Center: This link is a resource for those in the LGBTQ+ community seeking hotlines, someone to talk to, or peer support from a volunteer.
Trevor Space: This is a peer-to-peer space for the LGBTQ+ community to speak with one another about identity, stressors, and just everyday life. It’s an international affirming space, where people can share and join active discussions to help with any difficulties one may be having.
Head Space: This app provides free basic and beginner meditations, articles and animations, with the option of purchasing add-ons as you go. The app’s goal is to improve happiness and mental health through meditation.
Black Female Therapists: They have an application you can fill out for free services, along with a donation link for their free therapy initiative, if you have the ability to do so. In addition, they provide free articles that help with immediate self-care and mental health insights and tips.
Ethels Club: This is a health and wellness space dedicated to POC. You can join for one free week, before you have to choose a membership plan. They offer the ability to connect with other POC, access to digital wellness-centered events, to join digital clubs, etc.
Taking the attention off our problems and finding ways to help others is a beautiful way to feel better. Donating, volunteering, or doing a lovingkindness meditation increases the love in the world. And what’s better than that?
“I would highlight a cause (one of many that influenced my vote this year) that has sadly fallen out of conversation during the pandemic: the health and safety of migrant children at the U.S. southern border,” suggests Amanda. “Donations to Save the Children’s U.S. Border Crises Children’s Relief Fund support their programs to provide safer conditions, protection, basic care and advocacy.”
Remember that all proceeds from our charity tee go directly to Save the Children.
Peri says, “My other self-care go-to is finding ways to volunteer, donate or be of service. These are places of need, located in the heart of the Los Angeles Fashion District: Midnight Mission, The Rescue Mission, Downtown Women’s Center.”