A full year into the COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt taken its toll on many of us. While it is not over yet, we can look back and feel proud of how we weathered the stormy year. 

It has been a year of ups and downs. There were times of extreme stress and strict COVID protocols. There were times when things seemed to get easier and we started to become accustomed to our “new normal.” We found new ways to cope and stay active and social. Zoom became the new meeting place. Outdoor distanced get togethers suddenly felt normal.

Through all the different phases of this past year, there are many lessons we have learned. Hopefully one of them is to value and prioritize taking care of ourselves. There have been times when we have had to dig down deep to find what will bring us calm and help us feel normal during such a difficult year. It has never been more important to find new ways to relieve stress and stay healthy.

Senior Concerns is providing a webinar titled “Self-Care When the Sky is Falling!” Presented through California Lutheran University’s Community Counseling Services, this one-hour webinar will focus on how to cope and care for yourself during these stressful times. It will be held on Tuesday, April 6th from 4 pm to 5pm.

The presentation will discuss how environmental stressors impact us, how we can develop new coping strategies, and ways to bring peace and balance to our lives. To register for this online seminar go to https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__I1jw_ZqSXC8Hsez1_–6w You can also view all of Senior Concerns past webinars on their website at https://www.seniorconcerns.org/seminars/

Often, when we think of self-care we focus on the physical ways we can care for ourselves. For example, taking walks, getting fresh air, or eating healthy. However, there are many areas of self-care we should be considering when strengthening our whole selves. Self-care may fall into the physical, psychological, emotional, professional, spiritual, or personal areas.

Do not ignore the emotional and spiritual areas of functioning. Give yourself time for self-reflection. Watch a funny movie or allow yourself to laugh or even to cry. Allow yourself to experience your feelings, whatever they may be.

Consider when you last felt inspired. Perhaps finding a cause to volunteer for or engaging in creative art will bring back feelings of inspiration. We tend to forget to cherish and nurture these feelings in ourselves.

Self-care does not have to look the same for everyone. It does not have to be yoga and meditation. It may be organizing your home or connecting with a friend. It may mean getting involved in social justice or working on balancing your budget.

Think of self-care as anything that will support you in being your best self. What will help your day be more filled with joy then stress? Take some time to reflect on this and decide what this means for you. Today is a great day to focus on yourself.

Martha Shapiro can be reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at mshapiro@seniorconcerns.org

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