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Putting Self-Care Into Practice: Bahamians Strive For Emotional Well-Being In 2021

By JEFFARAH GIBSON

Tribune Features Writer

jgibson@tribunemedia.net

AFTER living through an unprecedented year full of turmoil and uncertainty, prioritising self-care should be at the top of everyone’s New Year’s resolutions list for 2021.

Health professionals as well as laypersons have made great strides in recognising and understanding the importance of self-care in recent years. But never has the topic been more relevant than now - at a time when the whole world is still grappling with a pandemic that has killed millions and disrupted life as we know in every corner of the globe. Never has there been a higher demand for coping mechanisms and learning how to just unplug, pause and reflect.

In order to keep themselves at optimal levels emotionally in 2021, Bahamians told Tribune Health they have already devised their self-care plans for this year, and they are not compromising on those plans.

Teacher Sharon Bowe said she admits she had fallen into some very poor habits, including not eating breakfast, which made her snack on junk food throughout the day, and staying up until the wee hours of the morning, logging in less than three hours of sleep a night.

But of that will be changing this year, Ms Bowe said.

“When you have such a busy life you rarely think about pumping the breaks and focusing on yourself. There are too many things to do, deadlines to meet, so rarely you want to pause,” she said.

Ms Bowe recognised that her pandemic and lockdown habits were not contributing to keeping her fit and healthy. In fact, she became more tired and depleted as the days went by.

“This is why I am making a change. I am going to eat better, drink more water, go to bed earlier at night so that I have sufficient time to prepare breakfast and power up before work. I need that energy, especially for the kind of job I have,” she said.

Meanwhile, self-care for stylist Tanisha Mackey means taking breaks from her heavy workload and getting out of the house to socialise more.

“This is like a breath of fresh air for me and it helps to clear my mind,” she said. “This is super important for my mental state because I already operate my salon from home so I am constantly there. It can sometimes feel like I am in prison. That is why this year I am making it a priority to go out and enjoy my free time. That will surely help my sanity.”

Exercise is the form self-care takes for Opal, who with a job in law enforcement has barely had any time off to take care of her body as she would like to.

“We have been working so much during this pandemic with little free time. But I have already been putting my self-care into practice. I have been making my way to the park to walk for two miles. Exercise was something I neglected for a very long time. But now I will not because it really makes me feel good and is a satisfying feeling,” she said.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to self-care. Taking care of oneself means doing the things that are beneficial for the mind, body and soul. That is the way Karen Johnson understands it to be.

“It is all about doing those feel-good things. Journalling is how I will practice self-care while taking time to clear my thoughts in the morning. I am very scatterbrained and have a mind that is filled with so much clutter sometimes, and being able to organise my thoughts through journalling makes me feel at peace,” she said.

“I encourage anyone to practice self-care.”

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