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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Local therapist Lauren Higgins says dance has helped keep her sane during the pandemic.

In these uncertain times, a dose of familiarity is refreshingly welcome. From rewatching episodes of our favorite shows to cooking our favorite recipes, comfort abounds in knowing — and liking — what's going to happen. That's one reason why daily self-care rituals are more important than ever. In case you need some inspiration, we asked local mental health professionals what they have been doing to take care of themselves and stay sane in these crazy times.

 

"Rituals have been anchor points in my home throughout COVID, from watching beloved shows or movies with my kids to listening to the same playlist every time I go for a run. In this season, familiarity has provided an internal sense of both safety and comfort." — Dr. Kim Gaines Eckert, licensed psychologist

 

"Maintaining a routine has been a vital part of my own self-care this year. This has required some significant changes since so much has looked different this year, but having a set routine has always been important to me. I have also had to set some firm boundaries in my life, and I have become much more selective regarding whom and to what I'm willing to give my time. Sunshine, fresh air and laughter have also been some of the small things that have been sustaining me and giving me the boost I need." — Emily Aikins, licensed marriage and family therapist

 

"As a dance/movement psychotherapist, which is a form of creative arts therapy, my self-care is all about my body. Between Zoom sessions, I try to get outside for a bit of sunshine and fresh air. I often take a walk around my block or do a couple of stretches to balance out the posture I have working online. And of course, my favorite self-care is to put on a song and dance, even if it looks ridiculous!" — Lauren Higgins, dance/movement psychotherapist

 

"This year in particular, I have found that I benefit most from some 'morning time.' I have made it a priority to focus on my morning routine. This typically includes waking up at the same(ish) time, drinking my tea, journaling/prayer, and doing something active — taking my dog for a walk, yoga or working out. By doing so, I feel focused, grounded, accomplished and ready for (almost) anything that comes my way." — Natalie Battles, licensed clinical social worker

 

"My wife and I made adjustments in our daily routine because of COVID-19. Instead of going to the gym to work out, I ordered equipment to continue exercising at home. We also began a subscription for meal kits in order to not go to the grocery store as much. I have thoroughly enjoyed cooking new recipes such as Indian and Thai dishes. The best part of being home is spending more time with our 11-month-old baby and watching her achieve milestones, such as eating solids and crawling. We also FaceTime with our family almost daily. We have even scheduled virtual games with our cousins. Our dog has especially enjoyed the extra time we've spent at home too, since we get to play fetch more often." — Nathan Grubb, licensed professional counselor

 

"I definitely took to doing more home improvement projects, especially during quarantine. It was grounding and gave me a feeling like I was still accomplishing something productive with tangible results." — Cody Manning, licensed marriage and family therapist

 

"Consistent rituals of self-care are what have helped preserve my sanity during this season. I have found the practice of 'book-ending' my day with self-care to be especially helpful. Basically, I am attentive to how I both start and end my day. Examples of how I take care of myself are studying my devotions, exercising, reading fiction novels, listening to music/podcasts, and spending quality time with my wife (and our cats)." — Nathan Harris, licensed professional counselor

 

"Self-care is a necessity and quite helpful in stressful situations; however, it is normally overlooked or forgotten. When I forget to take care of myself, I often feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained and lack motivation. Self-care gives me the capability to continue to help others without fully depleting my own emotional 'bank account.' For me, self-care looks like connecting with my support system (friends and family), watching a funny movie in my fuzzy socks, scheduling a set time to address and unpack my emotions from the day, keeping a similar morning and bedtime routine during the week, and continuing to see my own therapist." — Sarah Varnes, pre-licensed marriage and family therapist

 

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