Self-Care Practices to Get Through the Coronavirus

by Auriel

I’m gonna be honest…I haven’t left my house in five days. And, given the circumstances, I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing!  I’m really taking this social distancing thing seriously. Or maybe it’s just the introvert/homebody in me taking over!  But whatever your personality or preference for leaving the house, the fact is that we are gonna be spending a lot more time at home than we’re used to. 

The impact of COVID-19 has been different for everyone, but I think we can agree that it’s been very disruptive to say the least. No one likes feeling restricted.  And having events cancelled, travel being restricted, and restaurants and stores closing…sucks!  Our normal daily lives have been interrupted and it’s okay to acknowledge feelings of disappointment and frustration.  

But with all this extra time at home, there is a silver lining.  Whether you’re working from home indefinitely or your social calendar has been completely erased, now is the perfect time to prioritize self-care.  And right about now, with all the additional stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, we need as much self-care as we can possibly get. 

Now, certain self-care practices will be harder to do, like those that involve going out and being around other people. But there are many things you can do from the comfort of your home that will not only help you stay sane and avoid cabin fever but will also keep you grounded and calm during these tumultuous times. 

Keep reading for 8 ways to practice self-care while quarantined at home.

1. Disconnect

Things are changing rapidly, and it is important to stay informed. But how much information is too much?  Everyone is talking about the Coronavirus and the sensationalized headlines will put you on edge. The heightened stress will keep your body in fight-or-flight mode which can weaken your immune system. That is the last thing you need right now!

Limiting your news and social media consumption is a simple way to protect your mental health.  Pick a few trusted news sources to keep you current on the latest developments. Reduce your screen time, especially before bed, to allow your body and mind to fully relax. 

2. Prioritize sleep

Sacrificing sleep has sadly become the norm.  According to the CDC, one third of Americans are not getting enough sleep (7-9 hours). And many more are not getting the deep, restful sleep that we really need. This is alarming because poor sleep (quantity and quality) have been shown to weaken the immune system, impair learning and memory, contribute to mood and mental disorders and even lead to chronic illness in the long term.

Not trying to scare you! But I do want to encourage you to make sleep and rest a priority, especially during this time of increased mental and emotional strain. Go to sleep early. Take breaks and rest whenever possible. Go easy on yourself and your body will thank you. 

Pro tip: put your phone away before bed.  Looking at your phone screen actually revs your brain up when it should be slowing down, negatively affecting sleep quality. Instead, create a bedtime ritual that allows your brain to wind down—relax in warm bath, read something positive, listen to calming music, try aromatherapy.

3. Keep some structure

It’s very important to listen to our bodies and provide what it needs. Sometimes that is flexibility and spontaneity.  Maybe that’s eating some good old comfort food or sleeping in a bit later usual.  But one thing that can help you to maintain a sense of balance in all the chaos is adding some structure to your day, especially if you’re relegated to working from home.  There’s no need to plan out your schedule to hour by hour, but a little structure can you help clear your head and reduce stress.

One simple way to do this is to incorporate a morning and/or evening routine into your day.  If you already have one, keep it up! It’s a great practice for bringing intention, productivity, peace, and self-care to your day.  If you don’t have a morning or evening routine, now is the perfect time to create one!

Here are a few ideas for activities to include in your morning and evening routine:

  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Reading
  • Oil pulling
  • Affirmations
  • Skincare
  • Yoga/stretching
  • Exercise
  • Gratitude practice
  • Journaling

4. Do that thing you never have time for

We all have that thing that we’ve been wanting to do for forever, but just haven’t had the time.  NOW is that time!  Revisit an old hobby, learn a new skill, finish a project, start a side hustle.  Time is finally on your side. Do something that brings you joy or challenges you to step out of your comfort zone. For the longest time I’ve wanted to learn how to do fancy hand lettering and calligraphy.  I’m finally getting the chance to take my new brush pens for a spin.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Take an online course
  • Learn a new language or brush up on one you already know
  • Make a vision board (doesn’t have to be for New Years)
  • Do something artsy (painting, crafts, knitting, photography etc.)
  • Create a blog or Youtube channel
  • Write a book
  • Start a bullet journal
  • Read for fun
  • Play video games
  • Get organized

The possibilities are endless!

5. Cook delicious food

I’m sure you’ve stocked up on lots of food staples and with limited take-out options, it’s a great time to put your culinary skills to the test.  Whip up your favorite dishes or experiment with new ones. Pinterest is your best friend when it comes to discovering delicious recipes to try.  Cooking is very meditative and relaxing.  It allows you to nourish your body and spirit because, let’s be honest, eating good food can be a soul-filling experience like no other.  

Don’t forget to incorporate foods that are as nutrient dense as possible (based on what is available to you).  Keeping your nutrition up will go a long way toward keeping you healthy.

6. Stay active

The gyms are closed (or at least they should be), but that doesn’t mean you have to be inactive. Get your endorphins flowing by working out at home. Exercise is one of the best mood-boosters. And there are plenty of sources for workout inspiration.  Youtube has tons of free workout videos—strength training, cardio, dance, yoga (check out my favorite channels).

It’s also a good time to get out in nature and go for a walk or run.  You can continue to practice social distancing while getting a dose of sunshine and vitamin D.

7. Beautify your home

Did you know that your home could be a stress management tool? A messy, cluttered, or disorganized space can add to the stress and anxiety you may already be feeling.  Spend some time making your living space one that promotes relaxation and displays your unique taste and personality.  Make your space a refuge from outside stressors and a place that brings you comfort and peace.

Do some remodeling or redecorating. Add some feng shui touches to invite in more positive energy. KonMari your home by downsizing and organizing.  Even cleaning up the kitchen or tackling that pile of laundry can improve your physical and mental space tremendously.  It feels so good to be in an environment that you love and enjoy, am I right?

8. Keep in touch

Even though we are #socialdistancing, that doesn’t mean that we have to live in isolation.  Get creative with your communication—people are hosting virtual dance parties and meditation sessions. I just took a live online African dance class with 100 other people. It was awesome! Tap into online communities.  Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Facebook and Instagram Live are useful tools virtual connection.

And reach out to those you care about.  Call up the people you’ve been meaning to catch up with but haven’t had the time.  Even though we can’t be physically together, community is still so important as we navigate our next steps.  Even if they aren’t physically sick, many of us are going through a lot right now.  You may be as well. It’s important to have people to talk to and, at times, just vent to during this stressful time.

There’s a lot we don’t know about the Coronavirus and how our communities will be affected.  So much is out of our control and that’s a hard pill to swallow. But what we can control is how we respond. And what we can do is take this time to go inward and prioritize our well-being and self-care.  

Wishing everyone safety and peace of mind. We will get through this together!

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