How to Self-Care in Tough Times

At a time when the world’s problems seem overwhelming, self-care may seem like a selfish concern—the last thing that should be on your mind. But the changes brought on by the pandemic take a toll on a personal level as well as globally. Isolation is stressful, especially for extroverts and those who rely on others for help and motivation—and even more so in a time of anxiety and uncertainty.

When we fly, we’re always told to put on our own oxygen mask before we try to help anyone else, because you can’t help others if you’re not OK yourself. So here are some ways to practice good self-care along with social distancing:

Identify your feelings and thinking. Working from home can be a big transition, especially for those who thrive on face-to-face interaction and gain energy from others. For them, working remotely may conjure up feelings of loneliness, isolation, depression and frustration. Others may be struggling to keep up with new technology and processes. Whatever you’re feeling, identify it and name it so you can deal with it.

Protect your boundaries. Put yourself first and manage your boundaries. That means being clear about where you stop and other people start. Take some time every day to disconnect from work obligations—and family, too, if you’re able. Boundaries help conserve your emotional energy and give you the space to care for yourself.

Manage other people’s expectations. When you work from home you tend to work harder and longer, but that can be a drain on your energy. Learn how to be protective of your time. Let people know when you will be available and when you will not. Manage others’ expectations—and your own—to stay focused and effective.

Take scheduled breaks. When you’re sitting at home, glued to your computer and phone without the usual breaks of office life, time can turn into a blur. Schedule breaks for yourself so you get up a few times a day and move around. Take a lunchtime walk or sit outside if you can. A routine that includes regular breaks will help you refresh and increase your productivity and focus.

Limit the time you spend with toxic people. We all have colleagues and peers who are consistently negative. Instead of being supportive or reliable they’re critical, judgmental or demanding. If there’s anything good about working remotely, it’s that you can more easily avoid those people—and you should, as much as possible.

Embrace something new. Most of us are so busy that we don’t take enough time to reflect and observe. As awful as it is, the pandemic has given many of us a slower pace and more time, so make good use of it. Develop a new interest, try seeing things from a different perspective or look for a new approach to an old problem.

Lead from within: Prioritize your self-care, because it’s your first and most essential need in a time of crisis.


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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Philip Verghese Ariel

    09. May, 2020

    Hi Lolly,
    What an amazing share in this crisis period. A lot of things to pick and follow.
    Though I am following some of them, few I never thought of. Thanks for sharing this at a perilous time like this.
    I like the point you mentioned about toxic people. Yes, I fully agree with you “Limit the time you spend with toxic people.” yes, indeed they spoil your time as well as everything!
    Good to read the concluding one: Indeed that is the Crux of it!
    Lead from within: Prioritize your self-care, because it’s your first and most essential need in a time of crisis.
    Yes, we need to be more self-care these days as such Pandemic is moving among us!
    Keep sharing
    Best Regards
    ~ Phil

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  2. Maryanne

    31. Jul, 2020

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post, its very interesting and i hope to read from you next time.

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  3. Novique Medical Aesthetics

    17. Mar, 2021

    This is the right article for me. I’ve been stressed out this past week and I want to chill out, just to remove all the negative vibes on me. I just need it.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Tia

    25. Sep, 2022

    Hi Lolly,
    A great read and relevant now more than ever! The pandemic is behind us but ha surely made each of us re-assess our lives, workstyles and priorities. Self-care has now become on top of everyone’s list because better self-care means better immunity. Self-care is one of the many thing that makes us resilient optimistic towards future disruptions. I started putting my own self-care rituals in place during the pandemic, and honestly, they helped me and my partner survive the uncertainty and morbidity of that time.



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  5. Mohammad samir Shekh

    01. Jun, 2023

    Your explanations are clear and concise, making it easy to grasp the concepts. To delve deeper, click here.

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