More time has been given to almost everyone on the planet as we attempt to stop the spread of the Corona virus. Normally, more time is a welcomed luxury. However, when it’s mandated, and under stressful circumstances, it feels like a chore. Days once filled with shuttling kids to activities, hustling to run errands, hitting the gym and visiting friends are now filled with juggling home school, working remotely and endless boredom.
Unlike summer months when kids are home, there are no camps. The beaches and movies are off limits. And so are backyard BBQs, sleepovers and pool parties. As depressing as all of this sounds, you must keep living. Instead of bemoaning what cannot be changed, step up with a positive attitude. Be the light your loved ones need. That begins with tending to yourself in small, but meaningful ways. Ease stress and anxiety–on a budget–with our quarantine self-care tips.
Before dismissing any of these suggestions as trite, ask yourself how you’re doing. No, really. How are you DOING? Do you feel stressed, anxious, bored, hot-tempered, unhappy, fearful or lost? The very action of doing something different, no matter how small, puts your focus elsewhere. These self-care activities distract you from the mundane. They snap you out of woeful thoughts. Do enough of them, and you’ll begin to look forward to the simple, yet rewarding habits that shape your new normal.
Quarantine Self-Care Tips for You
Take 10 minutes for yourself doing anything you want, or nothing at all. Some of you might need an uninterrupted shower. Maybe a quick walk, reading a book, deep breathing, or self-grooming. Tell your family that for 10 minutes, you’re unavailable. Lock your bedroom door, and you do you!
If you love working out, you likely wake up with all the motivation you need. But if you don’t, you need to start. Exercise helps reduce anxiety. You create endorphins every time you move your body. Start with five minutes. Most people, once they begin, want to extend that five minutes once they get into motion. Just promise yourself that first five, and see what happens. Walk, find an online workout or live Instagram dance session.
Do this alone, or with the kids. But dance like no one is watching. Catch some professional dancers holding live IG classes and follow along, or simply crank your own tunes and rock out. Be silly, imperfect and larger than life!
While organizing your life might not seem like a quarantine self-care tip, and more like a chore, getting things in order adds to calmness. If you’ve been putting off cleaning out the junk drawers, finishing your baby albums or organizing your desk, seize the day! Now’s the time to tackle projects for which you previously lacked time. When everything gets put in its place, and surfaces look orderly, feelings of chaos subside. Ridding yourself of extra stress is, quite possibly, the best self-care gift you can give yourself.
But stay away from the news ticker! The best quarantine self-care tip you can give yourself is less stress! Find a good piece of juicy fiction if you normally opt for nonfiction. Or, grab a self-help book. Either way, pick something light that makes you happy.
Hair Toss, Check Your Nails
Don’t fall into the sweatpants and bun routine day after day. Show up in the world looking like you care. Okay, maybe not EVERY day, but at least a few per week. Wash and dry your hair. Put on a dab of makeup. Make your nails nice. When you feel attractive, it radiates to others.
All the Pretty Things
If you hoard makeup, lotions, face gadgets, nail polish, hair masks and cellulite cream, use ALL the things! Often, we buy up these anti-aging goodies but seldom take a break to use them religiously. Line up your self-care potions and use something new every day, or get on a rotational schedule. Use the bubble bath. Scrub with the sugar. Lather on the hair oil.
Get Some Color
While bathing in the sun isn’t great for your skin, a little color always makes you feel healthier, fresher and slimmer. Dig out your self tanner and use it! Don’t have any? Drug and grocery stores carry these, and chances are they’re sitting on shelves (unlike toilet paper). If possible, do sit outside in a little sun for 10 minutes per day to get natural vitamin D, which boosts your immune system and mood. Many people feel blue in the winter, often due to lack of sunlight. Now, more than ever, we need natural sources of mood boosting light in our lives.
Set the table and either order takeout, or cook, if you enjoy it. But get out the fine China, wine glasses and candles and serve a romantic dinner to your spouse after the kids go to bed. If that’s too late, set the kids up with a pizza picnic and movie in one room, while you have a date night in another.
Extra Tips for the Family
Plant a Small Herb Garden
Herbs and small plants are inexpensive and available from grocery or home improvement stores, both of which are open. Make it inside, or outside. Tending to something that grows innately makes you feel good. Tending to a garden and watching it flourish provides purpose during these long sequestered days. Use those herbs in recipes too.
Pull up a YouTube P.E. class and do it together. Or, create your own. Remind the family why movement is important for heart health and stress reduction. Maybe try yoga, a stretching activity, or guided meditation. Use the free version of an app, like Simple Habit. Breath work alone proves an invaluable tool for managing stress.
If you live near a beach, park, mountain or trail, this quarantine self-care tip is a no-brainer. Breathing fresh air, taking in vitamin D from the sun, and being unconfined does wonders for the spirit. Cooped up in the city? No problem! Pull up images of the outdoors on your smart tv or laptop and have an indoor adventure. Pretend you’re hiking in Costa Rica, or paddle boarding in Hawaii. Dodge pretend monkeys and dolphins as you go. Create the experience with stuffed animals for younger children, whose imaginations are full of all the adventure you’ll need for this excursion.
Play Spa Day
Set up a pretend spa in your home. Exchange manicures, foot massages and facials. Use things you already have around the house, or make your own face mask, sugar scrub or essential oil body butter/lotion.
Make a Fun Tik Tok
Learning a new skill or dance is super fun (and silly) when you do it together. Laughing is good for the soul, and so is moving and not taking yourself too seriously. So, grab a jam and post away.
Family Game Night
Cards, chess, Monopoly or dice…you pick! Or, download the Head’s Up app and play that game using teams and some serious interaction. This qualifies as self-care because you’re providing your family with fun, memories and a break from boredom. When you feel like a good parent, you’re nurture your priorities, which makes you feel awesome.
Make a New Recipe
Pick out a menu with your kids. Choose a fun snack recipe, like banana bread or muffins, and a full dinner, and make it together. Cooking teaches organization, following directions, measuring and how to clean up. And the fruits of your labor (the finished product) leads to a sense of accomplishment.
If prayer isn’t your jam (and if it is, be consistent, deliberate and loud) try a simple around the dinner table gratitude practice. When spirits drop low, it’s tougher to find joy. But blessings are all around us. If you woke up healthy, that’s a blessing, and something for which to feel grateful. Maybe the kids feel happy because they saw their class on a Zoom call, or your cheesecake recipe turned out well. Say, out loud to others, the things that worked out for you today, and every day. This quarantine self-care tip is FREE! But it adds to your sense of peace, which is the foundation of caring for yourself.
Comment below on all of our quarantine self-care tips. Which ones will you try?
For recent podcasts on the crisis mode of the virus, check out Chalene’s latest podcasts!