Hello, girlfriends! Surprise, surprise, a Coronavirus article! Just kidding, I’m not here to talk to you about social distancing, current statistics, or anything like that. All very important, but you’ve heard enough. Stay home. Ok? Got it. Many of us are feeling the effects on our mental health whether we have lost our jobs (hi, how are ya!), we are being seemingly bullied by the media, or we have compromised immune systems and this is a serious risk for ourselves to come into contact with this virus. There are many, many valid reasons as to why this is a scary reality to be living in. Definitely let yourself feel it. You are valid in feeling these emotions.
But, we have to make a choice. We can let this be our downfall or we can let this be our climb UP. It won’t be easy. I wouldn’t lie to you and say any of this is simple. But I will give you a list of tips I have been implementing with the extra time on my hands. These tips have been my saving grace during this time of uncertainty. And if you can work even some of these into your day, I can promise you, you will feel different. You will feel like YOU have control. Not this virus. Not the media. All you.
1. Whether you are working from home or not at all– KEEP YOUR ROUTINE!
Sometimes the mere disruption of our daily routine can be a source of anxiety for us. We don’t know what to do. Having to stay home often equals a pajama day for us. And that can be so fun! But it’s going to get old quick. Maybe give yourself a day to have that satisfaction, and then make a plan for yourself. Take a look at what your routine was pre-COVID-19 and how you can adjust to create a similar (or better!) routine at home. For me, this includes: maintaining my workout schedule, complete meals, and “getting ready” for work. Yes, I wear jeans in the apartment when I have scheduled work time. I always shower and style my hair as well, just as I would any normal day. It kind of maintains your sanity and you feel less hermit-y. Trust me.
2.If you don’t have work, MAKE WORK.
So many of us are fortunate enough to have a work-from-home option. If that is the case, you likely have a working routine in place for the tasks you need to get done. However, there are many of us whose industries thrive off of people venturing out to a physical location and interacting in person. For those people, which includes myself, we need a plan. I know all of us have lists, short or long, of those “maybe somedays”. Those little dreams we have. We need to turn those dreams into progressing goals and make them a reality.
What is it for you? Writing a novel, starting a blog, creating a cookbook? Girl, this is your wake-up call. The time is now. There isn’t a damn thing you can do about the current circumstances so make the most of it. Start that side-hustle. Chase that dream. Make it HAPPEN.
And with this, you will need to create a work schedule for yourself. Being stuck inside may drive you to work almost around the clock because, what else is there to do? I will tell you what else there is to do: maintain balance in your life and don’t burn out this early in the game! Start with making a regularly scheduled work day with breaks and all. See how you feel after a week, and if you want to slowly add extra grind-time then by all means, do whatever you have to do to reach your goals. But take it slow at first because you just don’t know. Feeling burnt out from your pre-COVID-19 life? I hear you. Start small. Maybe you want to learn how to knit. Or read more. Indulge in whatever it is you would look forward to doing, for as long as it feels nourishing for you. No judgment here, girlfriend.
This is a tough one sometimes given the fact that this is a dark time for so many of us. But implementing a couple minutes twice a day to check in with myself and reflect has been a
game. changer. It feels a little odd if you haven’t consciously practiced gratitude before. But it doesn’t have to be the big things, it can be small moments like being grateful for your cup of coffee in the morning. Whatever is bringing you joy, big or small, have gratitude for it. Because there is always someone out there that wishes they could enjoy a cup of coffee. No matter how bad things seem, there are always moments of gratitude to be found throughout your day.
I love starting my day on a positive note so I think of and write down:
- Three things I am grateful for
- My three main goals for the day, and
- Schedule what I want my ideal day to look like. Having structure eases my anxiety, but feel free to adjust this exercise to fit your needs!
I always end the day by reflecting on:
- What lessons I learned today. There’s always something! And I love how this time for self-reflection and accountability
- What victories I had. These can be your goals you set for the day, or maybe you’re proud of yourself for making a healthy meal! It can be anything
- Three things I am grateful for (yes, again!). As you go through your day, there are things that happen and even when things don’t go as planned, be grateful for the opportunity for growth.
It takes practice but give it a try! You will slowly start to change your whole mindset.
4. Speaking of scheduling, schedule some YOU time.
I think most of us feel like there’s never enough time in the day. The first thing that always seems to get pushed to the side is our own small pleasures in life. Now is the time to really make a self-care routine for yourself. Write it down, so it actually happens!
Whatever it is that helps you relax, pick something every day to do. Examples include:
- Tea and a face mask
- A long, hot shower, complete with exfoliating and moisturizing! I love using Lush products. Find my current favorite lotion for winding down here
- Painting your nails
- Curling up with a book you’ve been meaning to get around to reading. I am currently reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. A must-read if you need a big, fat pep talk.
- Using essential oils and/or candles to unwind. I buy my essential oils off of Thrive Market for the best price!
- Meditation. Check YouTube for free guided meditations!
- Make yourself a nourishing meal. Or indulge in takeout if that’s your jam! Whatever your body is calling for, you deserve it.
Sometimes, this is the only thing that works. If you haven’t heard of grounding, its purpose is to get you out of your own head and increase your awareness of your current surroundings, drawing you back into the present moment. If you’re having that feeling where you just can’t escape those thoughts, give this a try.
Let’s say you’re sitting on your couch.
- Close your eyes
- Take a few deep breaths. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Do this at least 5 breathing cycles through.
- Bring your awareness to your position on this couch. Shift around if that feels good and notice how you can feel each part of your body that’s touching the couch.
- Reach your hands out and touch the couch. Feel the material and make mental observations. What is the texture like?
- Visualize the couch. What does it look like? (you can also open your eyes for this if you feel that will help–note the colors, unique stitching, anything you can notice about this couch. Is it worn? Brand new? Smooth? Textured?
- Take a deep breath. Does it have that new couch smell? Or does it smell like your dog? Do you smell the last meal you made? Whatever you notice, try and stay in the present moment.
- Listen, do you hear birds outside? Do you hear the heat or air conditioning running? Cars passing by? Take note of the sounds you hear.
Lastly and most importantly, I am not a doctor so please seek professional help if you feel you cannot weather this storm on your own. Tons of therapists do online sessions, and especially with the current restrictions, there will be even more opportunity for this. Reach out to loved ones for assistance if finding professional support is too overwhelming.
Don’t forget to breathe. The sun will continue to rise, and we will all come out of this stronger than ever.
Cheers to Health! xx