These are trying times and there’s no doubt about it. During the past few weeks, we’ve all been bombarded with information about the global coronavirus pandemic. Life changes by the minute, and with everything that’s happening from your living room to the furthest corner of the earth, these problems don’t seem to be slowing down enough for us to play catch-up.
Times like these can be especially tough when it comes to managing stress and anxiety. Whether you’re still working from home, recently lost your job, or have even an ounce of doubt about what’s come, staying healthy at home – both physically and mentally – looks like another tough task to cross off the to-do list. But it shouldn’t be.
No matter what you see on social media from friends and influencers worldwide, the coronavirus quarantine doesn’t necessarily have to be about being an all-around powerhouse. Nonetheless, it should be about taking care of yourself. After all, you’re all you have at the moment.
If the chaos of today has left you reeling, here are a few self-care activities you can try to keep yourself healthy at home while looking forward to a better outcome because, and let this be your good news of the day, there will be one.
Keep your body moving…
Exercise has long been lauded as the perfect cure for stress and negative emotions. Endorphins, the “happy hormones” released after a workout, are to blame for the spike in energy, and they’re also said to bring about an overall feeling of happiness and well-being.
With so much happening around the world, it might seem tough to find a glimmer of hope. But, thankfully, there are tons of at-home workouts popping up all over social media to at least trick your brain into thinking you’re doing alright. Gyms and fitness centers all around the world might have closed down, but the need for movement is still there.
Selina, for example, is sharing the love on their social media channels. With daily playlists especially designed to suit every occasion, and a kickass, groovy, get-that-body-moving live music line-up thanks to the Selina International Music Summit, they’re making sure you stay moving even on the days where you don’t feel like leaving the couch. Plus, they’re also live streaming a very special wellness program for anyone and everyone who’s already missing their signature early morning yoga sessions and evening meditation classes. Open the window and feel the cool breeze as you bend and stretch your way to happiness. It might not be the same as a session by Lake Atitlan, but you’ll be glad you left your bed for it.
Or, if you’re starting to feel like me and an actual workout with dumbbells and mats sounds like too much, choreographer Ryan Heffington is teaching free dance classes on Instagram to anyone and everyone looking to add some spring to their step. They’re fun, they’re not physically demanding, and they’re the perfect way to brighten up these dark times. At a time like this, dancing in your living room to old school pop is the perfect form of self-care.
…But also find a moment to sit still
Staying healthy at home doesn’t just mean working out your body. Self-care comes in many shapes and sizes, and they don’t all involve movement.
Managing stress and anxiety can also start with a deep look within yourself, and a quiet 5-minute meditation session from the comfort of your living room. There are plenty of meditation exercises out there to help you cope with what’s happening around the world. Whether you’re looking for a new way to remain grounded in the present or you’re desperate to give thanks for what you have at a time like this, practicing mindfulness is a wonderful way to shake off any unwanted negative energy and practice self-care at home.
Practice physical distancing, not social distancing
Human connection is essential for our well-being. We’re naturally social creatures, and when we’re taken out of our comfort zone, the most normal thing to happen is for despair to quietly creep in and take over. But don’t let these days of quarantine and self-isolation trick your mind into thinking you’re alone. You’re definitely not. We’re all in this together – literally, the whole world is fighting back. That’s one sure thing to be comfortable about.
If you’re one of the millions of people doing the right thing by staying home, it’s essential that you don’t just shut yourself out completely. Sometimes, self-care is a game of two (or three, or four…or ten!), and being locked inside your house shouldn’t rule that out completely. There are so many tools available for you to keep in touch with people who make you feel the most like yourself. From Zoom happy hour to nightly “pub quizzes” and virtual book clubs, there are still ways to stay close from afar.
Break out the cookbooks!
Staying fit and happy doesn’t necessarily involve just working up a sweat. If you’re looking for another way to stay healthy at home, why not try preparing a warm and hearty home cooked meal?
Getting your hands dirty and making yourself a meal from scratch is a great form of self-care in that it relaxes you, takes your mind off what’s happening, and, at the same time, it serves the purpose of fueling your body with all the necessary nutrients and proteins it needs.
If you don’t have any actual cookbooks at home, jump on social media and browse through the many accounts that are sharing recipes and tips online. From specialized food magazines to community-led groups on Facebook, the flavors and options are endless.
Keep in mind it might be challenging to find certain ingredients. So, in order to avoid any unnecessary stress, stick to simple recipes or look for easy substitutes.
Disconnect to reconnect
Let’s start with a fact: social media has made news way too easily accessible. And, while that might seem like a good thing in most cases, chances are, with what’s happening at the moment, you’re feeling overwhelmed from simply scrolling through your news feed.
The thing is, it doesn’t matter where we look, more and more information about the coronavirus pandemic continues to pop up from literally everywhere. My dad is sharing information, my friends are writing thought pieces…heck, even my dog’s daycare has been sending me weekly briefings and cleaning tips. Meanwhile, I’m sitting at my laptop trying to stay sane and texting my friends back and forth that everything will be OK in the end.
And when this information overload happens, my ideal self-care exercise is to just…shut it down. I close my apps, I put my phone on silent, and I sit on the couch with my knees to my chest for a minute – or thirty – of just being. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to just disconnect from life in order to reconnect with yourself again and find your center. Nothing good comes out of reading 47 articles a day if all they’re doing is stressing you out. Nothing good comes out of watching curves and lines go up and down if all they’re doing is making you feel anxious about the future. Managing stress and anxiety is already hard enough, so there really is no need to keep feeling the beast that’s thumping inside your chest.
Wellness – much like happiness and tranquility – is a state of mind. Whether you find your inner peace from cooking a meal or breaking a sweat, all that matters is that you find it and hold on to it. Because we’ll all be walking out the door again soon, and you’ll need all the energy and joy to make it possible.
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