elf-care is more than just hot baths, skincare, and candlelit meditation. This is extra true when our lives are turned upside down and we’re staying inside for the good of society. (What a wild sentence to type… insert mind-blown emoji here.)
Isolating yourself can be lonely and upsetting, so it’s more important than ever to take good care of yourself. Here are my top 5 tips to care for yourself while you’re practicing social distancing.
Stick to your normal routine as much as possible
Things are different now, but sticking to your typical routine will help your days feel more, well, typical. If you eat a quick breakfast and a bigger dinner, do that now, too. If you’re used to being social in the evenings, schedule a chat with someone every night, or hang out with the people you’re isolating with. If you have remote work for class, give yourself a weekly schedule for “class time” that you can stick to.
If you find yourself spiraling and endlessly scrolling on social media, don’t beat yourself up. You should be spending more time on social media! We all need to stay connected with our friends and communities during this weird, lonely time, and we all need time to wallow and feel sad.
However, if it’s keeping you from sticking to your routine, check out the Forest app. The app plants a virtual tree, and the less you touch your phone, the bigger the tree grows. It sounds a little silly, but it's a surprisingly motivating way to keep yourself off your phone. Plus, it’s a cute substitute for those of us who are natural-born houseplant killers!
Create a daily structure
Even if you have a full calendar of work every day, making your own daily time schedule will help your time in isolation feel more positive. And it’ll keep you from falling into bad habits that bring your mood down.
Organizing your day doesn’t have to look like a spreadsheet or fancy bullet journal (although this is totally a great time to get into bullet journaling!). It can also mean scheduling online classes or group chats that will keep you accountable.
One thing I’ve been doing is waking up at 7:30 every morning to take an 8 AM yoga class on Instagram. Modo Yoga NYC is currently hosting their regular daily classes on Instagram live, and taking donations via Venmo. The live aspect keeps me on schedule more than YouTube yoga, and the daily routine gets me out of bed and starts my day on a bright note. Plus, it’s pay-what-you-wish, so you can get an energizing kickstart to your day for as much or as little as you can afford.
Schedule (digital) time with friends
This one might seem like a given, but it’s imperative for your mental health. We all have group chats with old friends, but why not start a new one with the students on your dorm room floor, or the people in your favorite class? Why not have a standing video chat date with your roommate you’re not currently living with, or have a virtual night in with the person you’re dating?
Maybe you could plan a FaceTime video dinner date with your besties where you all make the same meal, or schedule a weekly plan to watch your fave TV show “together” and text about it. You can even watch Netflix together with Netflix Party, which synchronizes your players and lets you chat while you watch. Because it’s important to vent about the state of the world with your friends, but it’s just as important to take your mind off of it.
Catch up on fun projects, or start something new
Plus, there’s no better time to do all the fun things you’ve saved to Pinterest or on Instagram! Finish up old craft projects, learn how to do that nail art you’ve been fawning over, or open up that new photo editing app you downloaded and never got around to testing out. Although you shouldn’t feel pressured to be productive during this uncertain time, making something new can be uplifting and fun.
If you’re not into crafting, Skillshare offers hundreds of free classes on everything from decorating a new space, brewing the perfect cup of coffee, or starting your first business. Got a guitar you never learned to play? Check out lessons on YouTube, or on the GarageBand app.
Rather than overwhelming yourself with ideas you’ll definitely forget in a few hours, write down a list of things you’d like to try. You can even organize them in something like Trello, which acts sort of like a giant corkboard with sticky notes. Invite your friends to your Trello board and you can work on projects together while you’re still apart. Old-school long-distance friendship bracelets, anyone?
Be kind and patient with yourself
These are hard times. It’s normal to not do a single thing on your to-do list, and stay in bed all day instead. It’s normal to be scared and anxious right now. It’s normal to have no idea what to do or how to feel.
When you’re feeling all these negative emotions, don’t push them away. Let them happen. Let yourself wallow for a time. It’s all OK!
Remember when I said self-care is more than just baths and meditation? Those things are just as important as everything else on this list. When you can’t do anything else, start with simple self-care like braiding your hair or drinking your favorite LaCroix flavor. Don’t be afraid to let go of everything else and take care of yourself.