Table of Contents
Self-Care In Self-Quarantine
We are living in extremely stressful and chaotic times, which means that we need to be strong mentally, physically and emotionally to be able to make sense out of this chaos that surrounds us. One of the best ways to achieve this strength is by taking good care of your physical health and mental wellbeing. Most of us know that we should prioritize self-care but when it comes to practising it suddenly it turns out that we are too busy. Our schedules are insanely overbooked with things that were due yesterday. Our brains are incredibly overloaded by insane amounts of information that is impossible to memorize or even process. And I don’t know about you, but news has never made me so anxious before. I start thinking that “Headline stress disorder” is a real thing. And I am not kidding. Yes, this is a terrifying, frightening time for everyone but instead of giving in to the fear and panic, we should do our best to stay calm and safe. And what better way to do that if not by making more time for practising self-care and self-reflection?
That’s why today I want to share with you 15 powerful, fun and simple self-care practices you can incorporate in your current daily routine to make this period less stressful.
Keep It SIMPLE
Enter the PRESENT Moment
Make It COZY
Make It UNIQUE
EXPERIMENT A Little Bit
Have The PLEASURE Of It
Benefits Of Solid Self-Care Routine
- Create a healthy relationship with yourself
- Increase Self-Awareness
- Improve Focus & Concentration
- Increase Productivity
- Create Motivation
- Increase Engagement Levels
- Boost Physical & Mental Wellbeing
- Boost Happy Hormones
- Manage Anxiety & Reduce Stress
- Enter Flow State
- Boost Self-Confidence & Self-Esteem
- Feel a Greater Sense of Fulfilment
- Improve Interpersonal Relationships
- Give Yourself a Reason
- Hack Your Brain to Increase Creativity
- Create Work-Life Balance
- Regulate Emotions
- Increase Emotional Happiness
- Fight Chronic Fatigue
- Increase Self-Love
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1. Slow Down & Disconnect
The Coronavirus Pandemic has turned our lives around by 180 degrees. I don’t know about you but I feel like I entered another dimension in my sleep… Our daily lives have changed. Everything seems so chaotic and uncertain. Sometimes I feel that my life is crumbling around me and I don’t know one single person that wouldn’t feel that way. But you know what? That’s ok. It’s normal to feel scared, anxious and overwhelmed right now even if you reduced watching TV news to zero. You don’t have to feel 100% every single day. You don’t have to pretend that everything’s fine and behave like nothing really happened. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you feel. Give yourself permission to have off days and don’t feel guilty about it. If you don’t feel in the mood to do something insanely productive don’t do it. Instead, do something that feeds your soul and makes you feel alive. Engage in an activity that you love doing and you know it will put you in a positive headspace. It can be anything from making a delicious cup of coffee to going for a morning run. But it has to be something that inspires you, motivates you and makes you feel good about yourself. Treat yourself in a healthy way. Give yourself permission to slow down, pause and just breathe.
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Since the entire country (Italy) has been put on total lockdown I’ve been experiencing a strange mix of feelings. There are days like today when I feel incredibly happy, deeply thankful and blessed for what I have. But there are also moments when I ask myself, “What’s the point?” When that moment comes I get really anxious, overwhelmed and stressed out. I feel this tightness in my chest that makes me unable to take a deep breath. And because I’ve been experiencing this strange sensation quite frequently it forced me to go within and examine what is really going on with me. Believe me or not but it took me quite a while to realize that I was experiencing physical symptoms of anxiety. Which was kind of weird because I’ve been pretty positive the majority of the time since we’ve been in isolation. I was able to identify properly my feeling and emotions only when I start journaling. Journaling has always been one of my favourite self-care rituals and daily practices that support my wellbeing. This simple self-help tool helped me tremendously when I lost my dad to ALS about a year ago. I would encourage anyone reading this to take up journaling and build it into a habit. Honestly, I cannot think of something more beneficial to your health and at the same time so extremely easy as journaling. It’s a life-changer. Once you start putting your thoughts into writing you will never want to stop!
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3. Trust The Process
I’ve been pretty positive for the majority of the time since we’ve been in isolation mostly because I am used to spend entire days at home working on my computer. That’s why the prospect of staying at home in self-quarantine wasn’t really all that scary.
However, there was another problem to deal with: fear of the unknown. As this problem appeared to grow worse I start feeling paralyzed by uncertainty. And I don’t know one single person that wouldn’t feel the same way. As human beings, we don’t like to be unsettled. We prefer order than chaos. Furthermore, most of us intrinsically think that order means “good” and chaos means “bad” but the truth is life is a mix of order and chaos we just tend to ignore it. Well, we used to ignore it because with the COVID-19 outbreak now a pandemic, the world became so chaotic and turbulent that we cannot even hope to predict what is going to happen next.
The future is unknown. But it does not mean that we should just give in to fear, surrender to our fate whatever that would be, and spend this time on standby waiting for events. Because that would be a terrible waste of life. A much better solution is to create structure from this chaos. The structure is necessary for creating a sense of stability and balance in your life and pretending otherwise is a waste of time. That’s why you should focus on adjusting your daily routine and adapting to changing circumstances. Don’t wait for the future. Create it right now.
Rember that you don’t need to have everything figured out to take action and create an amazing outcome. Trust the process. Accept the fear of the unknown and focus on what you can control so that you will have the motivation to take that next step toward success.
4. Set Short Term Goals
I understand it may seem slightly unusual, setting goals when you’re already anxious, stressed out and overwhelmed, but actually, it is a great way to relax and get inspired by your own attitude. Of course, we’re not talking here about long term goals that require a lot of time, commitment and energy but about planning short term. This simple act of setting good short term goals will keep you organized and accountable. Not to mention that you will prevent senselessly and yet so tempting procrastination that could only make your anxiety worse.
So take a couple of deep breaths, refocus your mind and shift to a higher level of consciousness. Release pressure and high expectations about the long term future and focus on a present moment. Then look around yourself and ask yourself what you can accomplish within the next couple of minutes that would improve your current situation. What are the things you could do that would make you feel a little better? Is there anything that announces itself as in the need to be fixed, changed or adjust? If yes, do it! Take advantage of the current situation and enter a flow state.
5. Educate Yourself
Investing in self-education it’s the best investment you can make because your whole future depends on it. We tend to think that there will be plenty of time for that but the time is now. If you want to live a happy, fulfilling and meaningful life you need to invest in your self-development and personal growth right now. The power of the human mind is limitless. You’re capable of so much more than you even realize. BUT to be able to reach your full potential you need to invest in your personal growth and self-development otherwise you will be wasting your time and energy doing the wrong things. It’s time to commit to conscious growth. You can take an online course on Skillshare HERE, develop your skills, learn a new language, start a new creative hobby, read self-improvement and business books, watch an educational TED Talks or listen to an inspiring podcast. Invest in self-education and create a successful future right now.
6. Practice Mindfulness
The best thing you can do to calm an anxious mind is to practice mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises. If you’ve never tried meditation before, even the idea of it might seem pointless. But it’s really worth trying. Meditation is not easy, nor it’s difficult. Meditation is a meeting with yourself. That’s why if you’re not used to doing so it may be quite challenging at the beginning. But with consistent practice and intention, it will become easier. So if you struggle to focus your attention during meditation, don’t worry. Just start with quick and simple exercises, be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to be distracted. Below you will find 3 types of Mindfulness Practice that I find extremely helpful and quite easy to follow. I hope you will enjoy them!
Guided Meditations – Guided meditations are highly beneficial for both mental and physical wellbeing. They are a powerful tool in building self-awareness, gaining a new perspective, reducing stress and anxiety, accepting your feeling and emotions without judging them, increasing creativity and motivation, connecting with your higher-self, establishing a healthy relationship with your self, creating a mind, body, and spirit balance
Breathing Exercises – Mindful breathing exercises have a variety of benefits. Since we can control and regulate our breath we can use a simple act of inhaling and exhaling as a powerful tool in reducing stress, anxiety or getting rid of negative emotions like anger or frustration. Focusing on your breath can also improve your attention, concentration, and self-awareness.
Body Scan Meditation – It’s a powerful component of mindfulness practice designed to develop self-awareness. In particular, it’s a way to get in touch with your body. A way to narrow your complete attention to the one part of the body to move to the other part right after that. Body scan meditation practice improves the ability to move the attention up or down to the body. It trains your mind to switch your focus from detail to the wider one.
Best Apps For Stress & Axiety Relief
- SuperBetter (Android / iOS)
- Shine – Motivational texts (Android / iOS)
- Pocket Yoga (Android / iOS)
- Calm Meditation and Sleep Stories (Android; iOS)
- Happify: for Stress & Worry (iOS and Android)
- Happier (iOS)
- Headspace (Android; iOS)
- Breathe2Relax (Android; iOS)
- Anxiety Reliever (Android; iOS)
- Self-help for Anxiety Management (iOS)
- Sanvello (Android; iOS)
- SAM App (Android; iOS)
- What’s Up? – A Mental Health App (iOS and Android)
- Self-help for Anxiety Management (iOS and Android)
- Smiling Mind Meditation for all ages (iOS and Android)
7. Get Active At Home
It is a scientific fact that physical activity stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, these chemicals that are produced in our brains are directly responsible for our mood. Even a simple 15 min workout can help to clear your mind, relieve stress and set a positive mindset for the rest of the day. I cannot stress this enough: Working out is one of the best ways to get rid of all the accumulated negativity that occupies your mind, body, and spirit. So instead of making endless excuses for not working out, create your home workout routine that it’s fun, exciting and easy to follow and get active on a regular basis. Take care of your precious body. Self-isolation, quarantine or even total lockdown is NOT an excuse for sitting around on your sofa, feeling up, watching TV and mindlessly snacking on junk food. Living a sedentary lifestyle is more dangerous than you think. So don’t risk and move your butt!
8. Make Your Health Your #1 Priority
Are you getting enough sleep, nourishing yourself with healthy food and working out on a daily basis during this extremely stressful time? Or maybe you constantly sacrifice your sleep to get more things done during the day, eat pre-prepared junk food, struggle with reaching 10,000 steps a day and binge-watching horrifying news? Are you take good care of yourself or neglect your health? Are you making your health your priority? If not, it’s time to change this. Because if you want to stay healthy when you’re stressed you need to start making healthy choices about diet, exercise, and staying positive. So stop making excuses for not eating healthy, not working out and not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Put yourself on your priority list. Slow down and take good care of yourself. Plan your meals in advance, stock your fridge with healthy food, schedule your daily workouts and improve your sleep habits. Stop making excuses and start taking good care of yourself. You owe it to yourself.
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9. Engage In Creative Activity
They say that “Necessity is the mother of invention” and what better moment than this to figure out if it’s true. Self-isolating at home it’s not something that we are used, to say the least. The temptation of procrastination is extremely high but also very dangerous. Because while a little bit of “doing nothing” can be quite beneficial to our emotional health, being in full-on procrastination mode is unhealthy, self-defeating and incredibly unmotivating. That’s why it is so important to adopt an anti-procrastination strategy, unlock your creative potential and switch yourself into action mode. So instead of spending entire days laying on the couch and binge-watching Netflix, find a hobby you love and engage in creative activity. Make more time for something that brings you joy. It can be anything, but it has to be something fun, engaging and creative.
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10. Get Dressed
Since the Coronavirus has been labelled a pandemic most of us spend entire days at home. Countries are imposing coronavirus lockdowns, hospitals are nearly overwhelmed, schools and “non-essential” businesses are closed, people work from home, kids spend their spring break indoors and there is basically no need to dress up. Furthermore, if you’re not planning to go out and do grocerry shopping you don’t even have to get dressed. Staying all day long in pajamas never seemed so temptating as now. Because what’s the point in brushing your hair, shaving or getting dressed if you self-isolating and practice social distancing, right? Actually, it is exactly the opposite. Just because you are asked or forced to stay at home it doesn’t mean that you should stop taking care of yourself. True, it’s harder to self-motivate and do all that stuff but it’s important you continue to take good care of yourself. Staying in your pajamas all day on your days off from work is not a big deal BUT not two month in a row! Not everyday is like Sunday! Pajamas are strongly associated with sleep and coziness and there is absolutely nothing oorng with that but if you want to be productive, motivated, inspired and ACTIVE you should probably get dressed, set smart daily goals and take and make them happen. It’s time to make a rule for yourself: No Pajamas outside of your bedroom! This is the rule I made for myseff a month ago and I don’t regret it! So get dressed, get active, put yourself in motion and focus on short term goals! You got this!
11. Clean And Organize Your Space
Self-isolation, quarantine and life under lockdown are hard but if your house is a total mess, you’re making this whole situation much more complicated and stressful than it ever needs to be. Because if you’re sourround by a complete mess you cannot be calm, organized and focus on what’s really important. Why? Well because your internal world and your external personal space together represent the field of your being. This means that if your external personal space is a complete mess your mind is drowning in chaos. And let me tell you something, it is definitely not constructive chaos. Because if you’re not organized, you’re disorganized. If you’re not focused, you’re distracted. And mot importantly if you’re not oriented towards something you’re disoriented… and most probably anxious.
That’s why the first thing I did when they put the entire country (Italy) under a total lockdown was to clean my house (and balcony) and believe me or not, it made me feel so much better. And since then I clean and organize my space every single day. And no, I don’t like cleaning but I love staying in clean, organized and clutter-free space. It makes focusing on what’s really important so much easier. Not to mention that cleaning out your clutter is the easiest way to regain control over your life. When the world outside feel out of control, the easiest way to embrace the chaos (or starting to do so) is to clean, organize and declutter your personal space. Trust me when your space is clean and presentable you’re mind is in peace. That’s why I highly recommend dedicating some time to clean your external personal space. You will be surprised how wonderful this simple action will make you feel.
12. Create A Home Spa
Is there any better way to release stress and calm your anxious mind than by taking a relaxing shower or a warm bath? I highly doubt it. To be honest, just thinking about taking an aromatic bath with essential oils and peaceful music makes me feel relax. It’s probably the less expensive and the most rewarding (at the same time) to calm down and relax. No wait, eating my favourite dessert is probably cheaper but considering that I usually eat my dessert while taking a hot bath is a part of the price.
Anyways, if you’re looking for an inexpensive and quite easy way to relax just turn your bathroom into a soothing sanctuary and dive into a wonderful evening of relaxation and guilt-free indulgence. Use your creative potential and set the scene. Create your private spa and wash your tensions and anxieties away in the privacy of your home. Trust me relaxing essential oils, soft and relaxing music, scented soap and fluffy towel can work miracles! And if you look for a faster, easier and definitely less costly alternative to a hot bubble bath I highly recommend putting Epsom salt in a foot bath… it’s a very relaxing, quite fun and extremely satisfying experience!
13. Boost Your Endorphins
Social distancing, quarantines, and isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic is quite challenging, to say the least. In these difficult times is so easy to engage in negative thinking and obsess over worst-case scenarios, but it’s not how you build strong mental health and improve your mood. So instead of watching news 24/7 that can only make you feel worse and worse do the things that make you feel genuinely happy, peaceful and fulfilled. Do something that feeds your soul and makes you feel alive! Engage in an activity that inspires you, motivates you and makes you feel good about yourself. Feed your passion, treat yourself with your favourite dessert, go on a solo adventure, do an outdoor workout, go for a walk, read that book you wanted to but you didn’t have time for it, watch your favourite tv show on Netflix or do whatever you feel like but do something you love doing! Enjoy this life’s simple pleasures that have the power to make us genuinely happy. Nourish your mind, body, and soul. Treat yourself and treat yourself well. It is now more crucial than ever.
14. Use FREE Online Self- Help Resources
Coping with stress & anxiety related to social distancing, quarantines, and isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic can be quite challenging to say the least especially if you’ve been struggling with mental health issues before all this started. BUT, we should not forget that we live in the digital era and there are countless FREE self-help options you can find online that will help you to boost your capacity to cope and get through these perilous times. If you don’t know where to find them, I wrote a post about online self-help programs, websites, and resources. You can read it here.
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15. Watch Some Feel Good TV
Did you know that watching a movie or a tv show can be actually good for your mental health and emotional wellbeing? Yes, that’s true! Researchers have found that conscious binge-watching of your favourite tv program can not only reduce your stress and anxiety but also drastically boost your mood. And if comedy is your binge genre of choice… well, you found a way to get high without breaking the law. Of course, I am not encouraging you to spend entire days sitting on the couch mindlessly snacking and watching TV because that would equal self-indulgence which is unhealthy and unsafe in the long term. I was thinking more like watching some “feel good” TV in the evening after having a productive day of creative work so that you could give yourself a break without falling into the procrastination trap. Find the right balance between self-care self-indulgence and choose conscious series to mindful binge-watch (not more than 2-3 episodes of a program in a row) on Netflix and boost your happy hormones with some “feel good” TV.
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Self-Care like a boss
and Keep Your Head Up!
You Got This!