Treat Yourself: Caring for You During COVID-19

Posted on April 2, 2020

Balloons on a sidewalk share support.

By Katie Nelson, Strategic Communications Team for the COVID-19 response in Mountain View, CA. Connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn!

What I’m Reading: Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng

What I’m Watching: Tiger King … again

What I’m Listening To: Get a Life, Chloe Brown


It finally happened.

I broke down today. I had two minutes of hysterical crying/ laughter when I realized that for hours, I had been wearing two shoes, but only one sock.

It was bound to happen.

We’ve been in the midst of our COVID-19 response in my city for oh let me look, oh just in our third week. Hmm.

A rodent has hair sticking out in all directions.

But as government communicators on all levels, this is exactly where we have pivoted. Our whole focus is COVID — and time and everything else hardly are a blip on our radar.

As I cried, I almost instantly felt better.

We all experience this in some form or fashion – the sweet relief when something that has been building up for so long inside suddenly, inexplicably, bubbles to the surface.

We’re in uncertain times. We miss our family and friends. We miss the routines of daily life. We just miss.

The Harvard Business Review put it so bluntly and so beautifully in an article they released last week.

We are, in a word, grieving.

In most instances when someone grieves, they desperately seek out the normal – not the new normal. They look for the ways to be reminded that life was and will always be enjoyable or routine, even in turbulence.

Taking care of yourself while you are serving others in a pandemic is no exception. This is a marathon, not a sprint, as my boss, mentor, and regular health-check champion Chris Hsiung says.

You must take care to take care of you.

Homer Simpson waves to himself in the mirror.

To some, that may sound ridiculous. You’re too busy. You’ve got a full-time job taking care of hundreds if not thousands of others, you’ve got kids, you’ve got pets, etc. But you are just as important as all of those important people and things, if not more so.

Because what happens to them if something happens to you?

In this new normal, I have found ways to build up what was normal and work to incorporate better ways to be a better me. In a sense, I have looked to find ways to “treat” myself.

I treat myself to a made bed every day. No exceptions.

I treat myself to a walk with my dog every morning before I get onto my computer – exercise, according to the CDC, is crucial, especially right now.

I treat myself to reading for 20 minutes before I pass out at night.

Got a list of movies and TV shows that you’ve been meaning to catch up on? I’ve slowly but surely treated myself to an episode a night after dinner. On Friday nights, I treat myself to a movie, with a nice big bowl of popcorn. With extra butter. Don’t at me.

On weekends, I treat myself to baking. Finding ways to fill the void in between the hustle of the work week and the downtime where you’re wondering ‘what do I do now?’ is critical.

I treated myself to a really bad manicure. I’m not ambidextrous. Oh well.

All of this and more can be done – you matter. Your wellbeing, both mental and physical, matter.

Please, grieve, but also, look for the Silver Lining. It may be very small, but it is there.

This pandemic will not be quick to resolve itself, nor will we be back to what we called “normal” for some time. That isn’t meant to scare you – but I don’t want to be dishonest with you either. Our normal when this is over will most likely not be the normal we knew before.

But that’s ok, because you’re going to be ok.

Take care of yourselves, guys. You got this.

Close window