Self-Care is Community Care | The Local Goodness Project

“Do something nice for yourself today. Find some quiet, sit in stillness, breathe. Put your problems on pause. You deserve a break.”
Akiroq Brost

In difficult times like these, it’s easy to get caught up in collective anxiety surrounding us, and that can take a huge toll on our own anxieties and mental health. It’s important that we take this historic moment to pause, breathe, and practice self-care — especially  since many of us are finding ourselves with more time than ever to sit with our own thoughts. We’re betting you’ll find it a lot easier to do some good once you’ve given yourself some needed time to “get away”. 

To help guide the goodness, here are five #yeglocal ways for you to practice self-care during our #LocalGoodnessYEG campaign this month:

1. Experience Nature

The Edmonton region is blessed to have a beautiful piece of nature right in our backyard — the river valley. Local organization River Valley Alliance has put together a resource of different trails and ways to access the river valley throughout the city, which can be especially helpful if the routes you’re used to are now flooded with extra people due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Taken near the Dudley B. Menzies Bridge, Edmonton River Valley

Experiencing nature solo as opposed to in a group has its benefits as well—take off the headphones and let yourself notice the intricate beauties and sounds of nature on your next river valley walk. You may be surprised at what you discover about the city, and yourself.

2. Pamper Yourself

The spas are closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pamper yourself at home with a bath and other products that make your body feel good. Local soap and beauty products makers and retailers offering delivery and/or curbside pickup include Lux Beauty Boutique, which carries a wide variety of brands; MacDuff’s Soap Company, whose soaps, beard and bath products are inspired by Alberta landscapes; and Pura Botanicals, whose green skin care line is available on their website and in local stores such as Red Ribbon and Elle’s Closet.

3. Meditate

Local meditation studio Lifestyle Meditation offers live meditation classes via Namastream, as well as a discounted rate for their meditation teacher training if you want to deepen your practice further.

Taken at Victoria Promenade, Downtown Edmonton

4. Sign up for Text4Hope

AHS has created a Text4Hope service where you can sign up for daily messages of encouragement to help you build coping skills and resiliency. 

5. Practice Self-compassion

It’s a difficult time for everyone, so it’s more important than ever to be gentle with yourself. Try this self-compassion exercise adapted from Dr. Kristen Neff, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology:

  1. With more time at home, whether working from home or laid off from work, there may be things that you think you should be doing. Write down three things that have crossed your mind over the past little while that you think you should do. For example:
    • I should finally write a novel.
    • I should exercise for an hour every day.
    • I should stop eating so many snacks.

  1. Now, cross off those “shoulds” and replace them with “want.” Take a moment to explore how that small change affects your perspective of these tasks. For example, here are some we thought of::
    • I want to finally write a novel sounds so much more positive and compassionate towards yourself than “should”, and you’re not altering the truth of the matter one bit!
    • I want to exercise for an hour every day. Hmmm — maybe I do not. But maybe there’s also a way to make this statement gentler and more compassionate for myself. i.e. I want to move my body in some way every day, or I want to get outside for a walk and fresh air.
    • I want to stop eating so many snacks. Again, maybe there’s a way we can adapt this phrase so it feels good, guilt-free, and compassionate — food can be a comfort at this difficult time, and while it’s important to eat food that nourishes your body, it’s also important to not “weaponize” food that maybe isn’t as good for your body, but is helping soothe your mind and emotions.

Stay well everyone, and always remember to be kind and gentle with yourselves and others!

“[G]rowing into your future with health and grace and beauty doesn’t have to take all your time. It rather requires a dedication to caring for yourself as if you were rare and precious, which you are, and regarding all life around you as equally so, which it is.”

Victoria Moran