Many Americans and people around the world find themselves adjusting to "shelter in place" orders during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Though staying at home sounds divine in some ways, it can lead to feelings of loneliness and stress, especially if you're worried about employment. The threat of illness feels very real, and it can be easy to wallow in darkness during times like this. Self care becomes more important than ever, even if you only have a few minutes a day to devote solely to yourself.
Every self care list contains some variation of "pamper yourself," but I had to include it because so many people dismiss it if they aren't into typical "pampering," like manicures, at-home spa days, or face masks. (Not that there's anything wrong with those things!) During shelter in place, pampering yourself can look drastically different than digging into your favorite beauty products.
Some people might find solace in eating their favorite foods, which can mean making them yourself or ordering from a favorite bakery or cheese shop that offers curbside pickup. You might have a book on your shelf you've always wanted to read but couldn't find the time. Maybe you wanted to re-discover your yoga practice but felt compelled to train for a 10K with your running group. Pampering yourself right now means allowing yourself to take time each day to do something solely for yourself, no matter how that looks to you.
Try Zoom classes
I'm amazed, daily, at the amount of virtual classes you can find. From workout options to art classes, dance lessons and cooking classes, there are truly options out there for everyone. Though recorded lessons allow you to learn a new skill (or improve existing ones), I encourage you to seek out classes taught on Zoom or a similar interactive platform. There's something about making human connection, even if it's just a smile or a nod, that helps make me feel less alone during this health crisis. And for those of you who have access to Peleton, a few of of my friends across and I meet every morning at 6:00 am PST and cycle together. It is fun to meet up and enjoy exercise together during this time.
Simple tools alleviate physical stress
Many of us carry our stress in our bodies, from our jaws to our shoulders to the small of our backs. Take a few minutes and do a body scan to see where you might hold onto your stress.
Once you've identified areas of physical tension, find the tools you need to alleviate that discomfort. You might need to order a bite guard for your jaw. I like these MobiPoint Massage Balls, but you can even use something as simple as a tennis ball to roll out tight muscles.
Set up a quiet space in your home
When you're at home all the time, rooms begin to blend together and it can feel hard to "turn off" the stimulation all around you. You check emails and social media posts from the couch. Eating dinner in front of the TV isn't as much of an indulgence as it is a nightly event. If you don't have a home office, the dining room might be turned into one. You work out wherever there's space.
Whether you live alone or with a partner or a family, schedules and mealtimes and living spaces are morphing into something new. Setting up a quiet space in your home can help you take a few minutes to meditate or simply clear your head without the noise of the outside world — human or electronic. You don't need a lot of space to do this. Choose a bedroom if you have to, or even a comfortable chair by a window, and keep it free from electronics. If your space doesn't have a closed door, let your family know when you need a few minutes alone. In fact, encourage them to take a few minutes of quiet for themselves after you've finished.
The bottom line
When it comes down to it, we're all learning how to navigate shelter in place as we go. Be sure to give yourself grace to have good days and bad days. If nothing else, we're discovering how connected we are to each other, even as we stay apart for the betterment of our communities.
How have your self care practices changed during shelter in place?