By Sera Akdogan
We can all agree that the past couple of months have been extra confusing and unusually hard. The growing concerns of the health of your loved ones, when you’ll be able to go back to work, or when the kids can go back to school are enough to put you into a stress-induced coma. A lot of us don’t know what else to do but worry, so the extra time spent in quarantine can leave us feeling anxious and restless, uncertain of the future.
While we can’t change our current predicament, or know exactly when things will get back to normal, there are positive ways to make the most of the cards we’ve been dealt. And it all stems from a little self-care.
For those of you who don’t know, self-care refers to any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Now if there’s anything we can take from this pandemic, it’s that we need to slow down and start making our health a priority again.
Quarantine has been tough on us all, but here’s 10 easy self-care tips that will help you take care of yourself and make the best out of staying inside.
1- Connect with loved ones.
Social distancing means we can’t go out and see our friends and family in the ways that we’re used to. If you live alone, this might be extra tough because our mental health depends on human contact. Luckily, we live in a time where almost everyone has access to a stable internet connection. Get on Google Hangouts, Zoom, Netflix Party, or FaceTime your friends as you hang out at home. You can also play fun interactive games together while distancing.
2- Give yourself some well-deserved R&R.
Make a cup of our calming wellness tea or this blueberry lavender detox smoothie and cuddle up with your pet and a nice book. Give yourself a DIY face mask and play some soothing spa music in the background for a chill atmosphere. Bonus: For ultimate relaxation, take a long, hot bath. That’s right, bubble baths are not just for the kids – they’re for adults too! Hold the bubbles and pour in your favourite bath salts for ultimate relaxation. We like Epsom salts to soothe aching muscles from WFM (working from home).
2- Invest in yourself.
How many times have you told yourself you wanted to read that new book sitting on the shelf, or take that online course you looked at a month ago? Now’s the time to really invest in yourself and feel good about doing it. Pro tip: Check out Coursera for hundreds of online courses from leading universities (they’re free without certification), or find free courses here that do have an online certificate program.
4- Fuel your body with nutritious food.
Caring for yourself by nourishing your body is the ultimate form of self-care. Using this extra time to prepare home-cooked meals that include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables will heal your body from the inside out. Don’t know how to cook? Now’s the time to learn! Here are our favourite healthy recipe blogs for beginners: Cookie + Kate, Half Baked Harvest, A Couple Cooks, The Mindful Strawberry, and Feasting at Home.
5- Learn how to breathe.
You’d be surprised to learn that the simplest, most human thing that we do is actually done incorrectly most of the time. A lot of us are shallow breathers, holding in our breath when we get nervous or anxious, or not breathing deeply enough or for long enough. When done correctly, breathwork is a useful tool to ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Check out this easy online guide to breathwork, complete with exercises you can do at home to get your breathing on track.
6- Exercise is key.
No, this doesn’t mean we expect you to get ripped during quarantine. Moving your body once a day and getting your pulse up releases endorphins that greatly benefit your physical and mental health. Listen to your body and decide what’s right for you. Do you like slower exercises, like yoga, or core exercises, like Pilates? Maybe you prefer higher intensity exercises, like HIIT cardio, or using at-home weights or resistance bands? Here are some free online videos to guide you: Yoga Classes, Pilates, HIIT, strength training.
7- Disconnect for a few hours a day.
We get it, you want to be in the know of what’s going on in the world around you. It’s important to stay informed, but it’s also good to know when it’s too much. The news can be dramatic and overwhelmingly negative. Limit your screen time by disconnecting from that digital world for at least a few hours a day for your mental health. If you feel like giving yourself a challenge, try to go a full 24 hours without your phone.
8- Get outside and spend time in nature (away from others).
Social distancing is important, but you can still get outside without having to be around others. Avoid going to busy public beaches and parks. If you do not have a trail or grass field nearby, simply going out on your balcony or backyard and sitting by yourself for just 15 minutes with a book is better than nothing. Going for a 20-minute walk around your neighbourhood is even better.
9- Sleep for a full 8 hours.
Are you used to only getting 6 hours of sleep due to your insane schedule? Maybe you have kids, and can’t remember what it feels like to feel fully rested? Or perhaps it’s the stress and responsibilities of adulthood that are keeping you up at night? Whatever it is, now is the time to make sleep a priority. The body needs sleep to heal itself and function at an optimal level. You don’t have to be in the office at 9 am on a Monday, or drive the kids to school, so why don’t you use that extra hour to get some shut eye? Read these top tips on optimizing your sleep and ensure you’re getting at least 8 hours.
10- Clean out your closet.
Spring cleaning is here! Take this time in quarantine to Marie Kondo your closet. If it’s not serving you or making you happy, toss it. You’ll feel so much better once you de-clutter and clear space for things that spark joy in your life.