The phrase “self-care” is complicated, and often employed to dismiss women and their experiences. Likewise, it can be kind of awful and overused, especially as it's been adopted by capitalism. But there are times when it really means something, and one of those times is now. Let’s be honest. Everything really, really sucks right now. It sucks in big ways: there are people getting sick, people losing their jobs, the vulnerable are now even more so, and we have a president telling us everything will be fine by Easter because he cares more about the economy than people. This also sucks in smaller ways. We’ve cancelled vacations and plans with friends and family, kids can’t go back to school, Illinois finally made it to the NCAA tournament and there’s no NCAA tournament.

Here’s the thing. We can be disappointed, and angry, and sad, and scared at the same time. We can sit in our feelings for a while, and we don’t have to feel guilty about it. Yes, there are absolutely people who have it way worse than us right now, and where we can we should offer help. But sometimes, we're just going to be upset about what’s happening right now.

However, we can’t be upset all the time. That’s just not sustainable, or healthy. We all need some sort of outlet to take care of ourselves both mentally and physically. Local businesses that offer these types of services have had to quickly adapt in the past couple of weeks and move everything online, and lucky for us they have. I’ve found a collection of ways that we can practice some self-care with the assistance of some local professionals. 

Note: This is in no way a comprehensive list. If you’ve found others, feel free to share in the comments, or email us at info@smilepolitely.com. Also, I am not a licensed anything. These are mere suggestions. If you need something more intensive, please reach out to a mental healthcare professional. The U of I Psychology Department put together a great resource page where you can find contact information. 

Physical

Do you need to start a fitness regime? Nope. Should you be worried about the fact that you are compelled to eat every hour? Nope. But it does feel good to move, no matter how you do it. Obviously take advantage of walking (or running, if that's your thing) outside as weather allows. If you get tired of the same path through your neighborhood, Champaign and Urbana Parks and the Champaign County Forest Preserves are available. Just stay off playgrounds and know that you won’t have any facilities available to you.

If you’re looking for structure, here are a few local places that are providing some online classes or fitness ideas. Some are free, and some are not. Some are requesting donations. Pay if you are able; we want these places to exist when we are able to be in the real world again. And yes, there’s a lot of yoga because those types of classes serve a mindfulness purpose as well. 

Amara Yoga & Arts

Amara is offering classes live on Facebook, and they are also continuing their free Yoga at KAM series virtually. You can pay them by donation if you are able.

Blended Balance Fitness

Ali Kreider is a local personal trainer, and she recently posted a long list of at-home workouts that you can do on your own time. You can find them here.

Daily Bread Yoga

You can access four different yoga classes every Monday through Friday via Zoom, including one specifically for kids. Suggested price for “pass” for the classes is $25, but you are welcome to participate even if you aren’t able to swing that right now. 

Defy Gravity Pole Fitness and Aerial Arts

It’s definitely more challenging to do online classes for a studio that relies on equipment that many don’t have at home, but they are currently offering some strength and flexibility classes that anyone can do. For those who have a pole at home, there is also a Level 1 class offering. Classes range from $7-8, and you can sign up here

Hatha Yoga & Fitness

If you aren’t already a member, you can sign up for online “drop in” classes for $10 per class by creating an account through Mindbody. They have various yoga, strength, and cardio options. 

Stephens Family YMCA

Head to the Virtual Wellness section on their website, and you can find a list of workout options: from free Les Mills classes to sports and fitness challenges and workouts of the day that you can do at home. You do not have to be a member to access these.

Mental

If you are anything like me, your emotional state is kind of up for grabs right now. We all navigate our regular lives with varying degrees of emotions, moods, anxiety and depression levels, and now our mental health is being put through a huge test. Some may need more mild forms of coping; finding ways to connect with others to share feelings and fears or just reading and learning about strategies to make it through each day. Others need something more. If you are seeking individual therapy, the following are offering virtual therapy and accepting new clients: Elliott Counseling, Experience Breakthrough, and Keri Powell Therapy are a few that I have seen. Here are a few other resources for coping mentally.

Community COVID Support Group

This is an online support group that will be meeting through Zoom on Wednesdays from 2 to 3 p.m. You can join by video or phone. The group will be led by Kate Insolia with help from Gia Lewis-Smallwood. It will be modeled after Re-evaluation Co-Counseling

CU Trauma & Resiliency Initiative

This organization, led by Karen Simms, aims to foster community collaborations in order to create a trauma-informed community. I’d say our current circumstances qualify as community trauma. A week ago they shared the latest episode of The CU Tri Show, where they address the impact on individuals, families, neighborhoods, and communities. They have also been sharing helpful articles and resources on their Facebook page

Dr. Robyn Gobin 

She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and she has a podcast called Self-Care Prescriptions. The latest episode is Self-Care in Time of Uncertainty

Elliott Counseling Group

Even if you don’t need something quite as intensive as an individual therapy session, they are offering a free support group open to anyone who needs some help with processing or coping strategies. You can sign up here

Melanie Sively Counseling

She has been doing Facebook live videos and teaching coping skills such as progressive muscle relaxation. 

Mindful Meditation at Spurlock Museum

Spurlock regularly offers these sessions at the museum with Mary Wolters of Green Yoga Spa, and now they will be on Facebook live. You can find the full schedule here.

Soul Care

This retreat center opened last fall, and they have been offering some meditation through Facebook live over the past couple of weeks. 

*****

Maybe these resources will be helpful to you, maybe they won’t. Maybe self-care for you looks like eating chips and watching endless shows on Netflix. Maybe it’s reading, walking your dog, connecting with your faith community, creating music or art, or staying away from Twitter for a day. I think we can all give each other, and ourselves, permission to freak out sometimes, not be productive 24/7, and do what we need to do to make it through this.

Top photo by Addison McClure.