I think it is safe to say we have all been, on various levels, impacted by the recent pandemic spreading through the world. People have been temporarily and, in many cases, permanently let go from jobs that cannot function during social distancing while others are asked to work from home. Many are experiencing quarantine knowing that a family member is sick and in the hospital.
With everything happening right now you may find yourself out of your normal schedule and feeling lost. You also may be feeling stressed and in need of a positive distraction. It is important to note that everyone deals with stress and/or trauma differently. Whatever you are feeling at this time, this article is here to provide suggestions for self care and, if you are in a mental space to be productive, ideas to maximize your time while at home.
Self Care and Relaxation
1. Reach out to friends and loved ones.
Now is the time to reach out to those friends you always wish you had more time to connect with! Setup a FaceTime, Facebook Video Call, Zoom Conference- whatever platform you prefer!
Believe me, even when you think you don’t have time to video chat with someone, you probably have time. You do have to get over the need to look perfect, because they’re going to see you at all different angles! But, you can video chat even if you’re eating, cleaning, watching a movie, or walking the dog. And, it’s even more fun if you are chatting with a small group!
Even if your initial response to stress is to retreat, try to spend time with those in your household. Put your phone away, turn off the TV, and pull out a deck of cards. You would be surprised by how much fun a game of “Go Fish” can be after years of not playing. Seriously, try it!
2. Perform real self care.
During this time, it is important to reflect on what you can do for yourself to make you feel comfortable and cared for. It is tempting to stay in PJs all day and eat all of the quarantine snacks. But, how does that make you feel? For some people, staying in PJs all day makes them feel comfy and relaxed. And, that’s fine! For me, staying in my pajamas is comfortable for sure, but it inevitably will make me feel sluggish and down. Eating all of the snacks can be satisfying at first. Eventually, it’ll send me down a rabbit hole of regularly over eating.
What I’m saying is: definitely indulge in what you love! Just think about how it’ll make you feel later and perhaps consider indulging in moderation. Self-care is about taking care of yourself in the long-run, too. So yes, eat that chocolate, drink that glass (or two) of wine, and watch “Tiger King” twice if that is what makes you feel good now and in future.
Okay, I can see some of you rolling your eyes at this one! But, believe me, it’s worth a try. Jot down, daily, how you’re feeling during this time and why you’re feeling that way. You may be surprised by how therapeutic reflective writing can be. One day, when you’re reading back in your journal, it’ll be interesting to see how you were feeling during this time and what you were thinking. Also, it’s very satisfying to flip through a journal and see all of the pages you’ve poured your thoughts onto!
1. Do that one thing you “never have time for”.
What is that one thing you would love to do but you “never have time to do it”? I’ve watched many of my friends, over the past couple of weeks, pick up that one hobby they’ve always wanted to try. Or, they’re spending more time on something they’ve started but never have time to finish.
Maybe you have always wanted to garden to provide vegetables for your family’s table. Or, perhaps you are good at woodworking, and want to create beautiful rustic furniture for your home. Everyone has that “one thing”, and many of us now have time to pursue it!
For me, this category includes more writing in a book I’m partly through and spending more time with my dog. These are things I’ve already started or try to always make time for, but life sometimes gets in the way of me spending as much time with them as I would like. What is that one thing you regularly wish you had more time to do? Or, that one thing you wish you had time to start?
2. Do Something For the House.
You may be spending more time than ever before in your home! Now is a good time to deep clean it. Cleaning up the house will make you feel refreshed, proud, and less stir-crazy. If you’re working from home, it is important to declutter your space so your brain can focus on the important things. Personally, I can’t even think about planning lessons if my office space isn’t tidy.
This is also a good time to complete those DIY house projects. Paint that horrendous bright-red kitchen a more neutral and appealing color. No offense to anyone with a red kitchen, but many of my friends can vouch for me that red is not the color for my cooking space. Powerwash the back deck, and trim back the trees from your house. Weed the garden and mow the lawn. Do all of the things for your home that you never seem to have time to accomplish.
And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll spend time afterwards walking around and marvelling at your handiwork.
3. Try Something That Scares You
If you find yourself with the time, reflect on who you are and what you would love to be doing. Is there something you’ve always wished you could do but you haven’t had the courage? No, I’m not talking about building your own parachute and jumping off of the roof!
A few months ago, starting a blog was something that scared me. And, with each post I wrote I would procrastinate on publishing it. Once I did hit the “post” button, I would become anxious thinking about what people would think of me. Now, writing for my blog and putting it out there is something that comes easily. It took time, but I realized that doing what I loved (sharing my writing) was worth the temporary anxiety. And, eventually, that anxiety went away. Last week, I decided to do something else that scared me a little. I started a TikTok channel for my pets! Yes, my pets. I love taking pictures and videos of their cuteness and mischief, and I thought TikTok would be the perfect place to share those. It’s something nerdy I do but, I can’t help it, it’s so much fun!
It took me until the age of 30 to build up the courage to start doing the things I love and not worry so much about those intruding questions that always held me back: Who will see this and what will they think? Will people think this is stupid? Will someone read too far into this and be hurt, or judgmental, or angry, or think differently of me?
I’m not saying discard all of your responsibilities to do only what you want to do! And, definitely continue to keep other’s feelings in mind. Because, that’s what makes you an understanding and empathetic person. But, realize that if they are digging for something to be upset or judgmental about- that’s their problem and more of a reflection on them than you. And, you have permission to live and live doing what you love!
Give it a try! You will find supporters where you didn’t expect to find them before. And you’ll make new friends to bond with over mutual interests. It’s a good time.
What is something you do for yourself as a form of “self-care”? Is there a productivity tip you think should be on my radar? Feel free to comment your relaxation strategies and productivity tips below!