As the CoronaVirus takes hold, people across the world are practicing “social distancing”… together (but apart); avoiding day-to-day activities such as social gatherings, eating at bars or restaurants, work out classes, and even going into the office for work. We’re all stuck at home and missing our sense of routine and normalcy (at least I know we are). Now more than ever is an important time for us to all take care of ourselves during what’s a temporary, albeit, new normal. And we’re here to help.
In this post, we’re tapping into the collective minds here at Main & Rose (a team that includes remote workers, mental health experts, yoga instructors, parents, professors, and more) to give some suggestions on how to establish a routine that keeps your self care routine intact while in quarantine. These nuggets are particularly helpful for right now, but should ring true far after we’re back to our day-to-day.
#1: Get Outside
Spending time outside is a known antidote to a host of ailments, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stress, and high blood pressure. It also offers a wealth of benefits including a boosted immune system, increased energy, enhanced creativity and restored focus. During a quarantine, getting outside and reaping the benefits is more important than ever. Taking time to grab some Vitamin D, whether hanging on your porch, hitting a hike, walking, or biking – all while maintaining a safe distance from those around you – is a great way to get grounded, stay connected to the world around you, and keep yourself feeling your healthiest.
#2: Work It Out
For many, hitting the gym or a studio is not only a cornerstone of their routine but also a key part of de-stressing after a long day or an important way of spending time with their community. According to the APA, “53% of adults say they feel good about themselves after exercising, 35% say it puts them in a good mood, and 30% say they feel less stressed”. Working out also helps reduce the risk of disease / boosts immunity and helps with energy, brain health, and sleep. Even though we’re staying put at home, it doesn’t mean we can’t get sweaty. Boutique studios and gyms across the country are playing their part, innovating during this new normal and finding new ways to share their workout with the community. Hop on a Zoom call with fellow yogis and get your flow on; Google at home workouts curated by trainers and gyms just for this time; or pull the trigger on ordering that Peloton or Mirror you’ve had your eye on (they’re offering some limited time discounts right now). This will allow some normalcy and help keep you feeling fit, good. Keep releasing those endorphins!
#3: Create in the Kitchen
While your favorite bars and restaurants aren’t all open to fulfill your cravings, it doesn’t mean you can’t get crafty in your own kitchen. Cooking is a great way to tune out what’s happening in the outside world and to connect with yourself. Hit play on a relaxing playlist, pour a glass of wine (21+ please) and let yourself go to the sounds of simmering, the aromatic atmosphere, the motions of chopping and stirring, and the tastes and flavors you create. Crack open a neglected cookbook, find your favorite blogs or Instagram recommendations, or call a relative who holds the key to a family favorite recipe begging to be recreated. Is food how you usually connect socially? Set your table, light a candle, get dressed up and invite your fellow quarantined friends to make the same meal as you for a dinner party via FaceTime; you’ll feel connected and full in more ways than one.
Music is scientifically proven to decrease stress. We already make playlists that serve as backdrops for our day to day activities – driving to work, going on a run… so why not make one for our time at home? Curate your favorite tunes to spice up your next cooking session, to complement a long bath, to coax you to bed, or for spontaneous dance parties. Take the time to explore and support up-and-coming artists and find the next band you want to check out live once they’re back on tour. While we’re keeping our distance, start a group chat with your friends and share your favorite found “quarentunes,” or make a shared playlist… come Saturday nights you can even “meet them on the dance floor” and let loose, virtually.
#5: Be Mindful
If meditation isn’t already part of your daily routine, now’s the perfect time to explore it. The benefits of meditation are plenty – combating stress, anxiety and insomnia, increasing attention span, and even helping reduce the risk of disease and pain.There are plenty of tools out there like Calm, Headspace or guided meditations on YouTube that will help get in the zone. Need help committing? Set up a space specifically for meditation – grab a comfy pillow and blanket, light a candle, and give into the zen. Still not working? Try grabbing an adult coloring book, journaling, or simply making an effort to fully listen during your next conversation as ways of tapping into what it means to be mindful.
#5: Virtual Hangouts
We’re all in this together. Friends and family near and far are doing their part by social distancing (as hard as it may be for our extroverts out there). Take the time to chat with relatives you don’t usually get the chance to catch up with, invite your coworkers for a weekly happy hour via video (rules still apply, no talking about work!), start a workshop and challenge your friends to journal the same prompt every morning. While we can’t be face to face right now, the opportunity to connect in rich and deep ways still are plentiful!
#6: Netflix and Chill
Now’s the time to give yourself a pass when Netflix asks “are you still watching?”. Production houses like Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and Apple are pumping out new shows and movies like rapid fire, and sometimes we’re too busy or too focused on being productive to even reap the benefits. Now, you can take the time (guilt-free) to immerse yourself in new stories or old favorites. According to Dr. Gayani DeSilvia, binge watching shows can actually act as a helpful stress management tool, letting us shut down our minds and tune out stress and pressure, while also fostering relationships by giving you something to talk about. So take the time to jump onto a Netflix Party, enjoy a show with friends remotely and let your mind escape, even just for a little.
#7: Man’s Best Friend
Beyond being really cute and offering unabashed snuggles and love, it turns out that pets actually come with many mental and physical health benefits. Dogs and cats can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness, and can be key in helping you to get outside or up and moving. Take advantage of the WFH (work-from-home) life and shower your “coworker” with a little extra love, they’ll happily reciprocate. Don’t or can’t own a pet? There are options! Tune into the bounds of Instagram pages, TikTok videos, and YouTube channels where you can enjoy photos and videos for days (note: please don’t skip out watching penguins explore the Chicago aquarium). If you’re able, there’s a call for fosters during this challenging time, so contact local organizations and see how you can help (and reap the benefits in return).
#8: Become A Bookworm
So often we get so caught up in our daily routine that we’re unable to carve out the time to dive into books and stories that can transport us from our bed or couch to a whole new universe. Now’s the time to cozy up (by a fire, in your oft-ignored reading nook, in a hammock) and dive into your next read. Need some inspiration? Check out lists (we at M&R love Reese’s Bookclub) or start a group chat with friends and align on your next read (cue virtual book club). If you’re a fan or the silver screen (see, Netflix & Chill), have some fun by finding books that have inspired movies and TV shows and make your activity into a double-header.
#9: Get Grateful
According to a leading scientific expert in gratitude, Robert Emmons, gratitude is an affirmation of good things in the world, gifts, and benefits we’ve received. According to Greater Good his science-based initiative to share “insights for a meaningful life”, gratitude leads to improved mental health and immune systems. While times might be tough right now, there’s still a lot to be thankful for. Challenge yourself to spend time daily practicing gratitude – keep a gratitude journal (there’s an app for that), write letters of thanks to people who have played an important role in your life, or find ways to give back to organizations and businesses who have helped improve your life in some way. This will help you tap into all the good in your life and find ways to unlock moments of daily appreciation.
#10: Work Work Work
Amidst all of the craziness, we’re all searching for a sense of normalcy. And while we might be working from home for the first time (don’t worry, we have tips for that too), keeping up your work routine will help keep you feeling grounded, productive, and connected to your normal day-to-day life. While it’s important to keep things moving forward and to keep focused, don’t forget to make sure to strike the right balance between working and spending time taking care of yourself. If you can’t do your job from home, find other activities that help you feel productive throughout the day. Get your finances in order (hello, tax season), take a masterclass, or knock out your spring cleaning.
For more information about how to succeed working from home, click here.
While things might be scary or unknown right now, it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together. There are countless ways to keep your mental health in check, and while our list is not exhaustive, it’s a great place to start in keeping yourself healthy and accountable during your quarantine. And once we’ve returned to “real life,” here’s to hoping that we can all keep some of our self-care habits in place and remember the importance of focusing on our mental health and wellness no matter the circumstance.
We’d love to hear from you on what you’re doing during your quarantine; if you have self care tips and tricks for us to share with our community or thoughts on how we can support your business during this time, comment below or hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay safe and stay healthy!