Self-care is any activity we do in order to better our quality of life. This includes tending to any of our mental, emotional, or physical needs. It is something that affects every aspect of our lives, even if we don’t see it directly. Neglecting self-care can lead to a host of other problems.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs teaches us that a human’s most basic needs are physiological. These refer to getting adequate sleep, drinking when thirsty, and eating when hungry. If these basic needs are neglected, the body cannot maintain internal stability. Any subsequently more demanding needs will not be fulfilled until these are satisfied. Anyone can relate to the issue of being unable to concentrate on an empty stomach.

During a time of isolation, it can be very easy to neglect basic needs because a sense of ennui kicks in. The days and nights seem to be an endless Groundhog Day-type phenomenon. Chores that normally don’t cast a shadow over your world have now become your world – a never-ending cycle of dishes and laundry. It is very easy to get disillusioned about maintaining self-care, especially if you typically had a routine that involved a disciplined level of prep and hygiene. There are tips that might help you keep from sliding too far into neglect, and will, therefore, help you maintain your productivity.

Getting at least 8 hours of sleep, and doing so around the same time each night, is a great way to maintain your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Not having enough sleep will affect you throughout the day and interfere with cognition. 

Maintain a healthy diet, even though it might be easier to let your regime fall by the wayside. Force yourself to prepare healthy meals at home instead of ordering from a food delivery service or mindlessly grazing throughout the day. Just like you need a sleep schedule, you also need a meal schedule. 

Set a specific workspace and home space so you can relax when you are no longer on the clock. You need to set boundaries during social distancing and that includes physical ones. Make sure you do some type of activity each day and give yourself time to be social, even if it’s a quick video chat with a friend.

Hygiene is something that can be very easy to overlook. While it may not seem like there’s a point to showering or brushing your teeth with the same frequency as before, set a schedule, and stick to it. You will feel better, and success breeds more success. Just like making your bed in the morning, the feeling of satisfaction from performing even a little self-care can propel your self-esteem to skyrocket.