By: Cheryl Conklin
When the pandemic started, we were baking bread, picking up old hobbies, and enjoying more time at home with the people we love. Months later, that can-do energy has faded into a sense of defeat and aimlessness (not to mention some serious cabin fever).
Unfortunately, it's going to be a while before things go back to normal. In the meantime, we're tasked with learning how to live well in this strange and difficult space. These are my favorite strategies for feeling my best while staying in.
Invite positivity into your home
Are you irritable, angsty, and stuck in a rut?
If negativity is permeating your home, start by clearing bad energy. This is easier than you think. First, clean out all the clutter that’s dragging you down. Then, clean doors, windows, and other areas where bad energy enters your home and open the windows to let fresh air in. Finally, smudging clears out negative energy to make space for positivity once again.
Get comfy, not frumpy
It’s tough to feel motivated for self-care when you’re feeling down about the way you look. That’s why it’s so important to get dressed, even in quarantine. Clothing is an important form of self-expression, and if all you’re expressing is gray sweatpants for nine months, eventually you’re going to start feeling pretty gray inside too. That doesn’t mean you need to start wearing dress suits in your home office, but it is worth buying comfy work-from-home clothes now that we’re in this for the long haul. For me, that means undies that never dig in, comfy bralettes that support, and leggings that double as trousers.
Take an hour to yourself every day
This is hard to do when you have a family, and it’s extra hard when everyone’s at home 24/7, but trust me when I say it's worth the effort. Even something as simple as going for a walk, reading a book (consider picking up a tablet or a smartphone so you can read ebooks from anyplace you find comfortable), or taking time to slow down and meditate can give you a renewed sense of self that makes everything testing you seem a little more manageable.
Establish self-love rituals
Don’t wait for the big moments to make time for yourself. Little rituals throughout the day keep you present and grounded. Try these uplifting self-care rituals:
Go to bed on time.
Start your day with yoga and meditation.
Make yourself a cup of tea.
Recite positive mantras.
Keep a gratitude journal.
Use essential oils.
Spend time outside.
Keep a journal
Are the days starting to blur together? There’s not a lot of variety to life right now, but that doesn’t mean great things aren’t happening. Make sure the special moments don’t fade into the background by journaling. Writing down things you’re grateful for not only helps you keep a positive outlook, but it’s also a great distraction from the negativity around you.
Create special moments
From hosting Zoom birthday parties to sending snail mail, there’s a lot we can do to feel connected and engaged during this time. Instead of letting the monotony get you down, find creative ways to break it up while staying safe.
Create a cozy outdoor space
Staying socially isolated all winter long won’t be easy. When you just need some fresh air or want to get together with loved ones for mental health’s sake, do it safely by socializing outdoors with a tight-knit bubble. It'll be easier to play it safe if you create a warm space to hang out with a DIY fire pit, chiminea, or patio heater.
The COVID-19 pandemic is wearing on everyone, but this isn’t the time to give in and get reckless. Instead, this is a time to dig deep into your well of resilience and learn how to be well, despite limitations. When you use self-care to strengthen from within, you can get through anything life throws your way.