I’m sure it goes without saying that this pandemic has thrown us all for a loop. We are now over 6 months into it, and while businesses have slowly started to open up again, the fact is, the world is a different place that it was before COVID.
I still wake up some days and feel really down and depressed; and not just because my usual day-to-day comforts have been impacted, but because I worry about the world at large–the lives lost, the jobs lost, the relationships strained, the increase in domestic violence; so many things. And while we cannot control things that we cannot control, it is more important than ever to take care of ourselves, both for our mental well-being, and to stay physically healthy!
Here are some of the easy lifestyle things that I focus on in my own daily life; things that I do to stay healthy and keep my immune system strong.
Prioritize your sleep. It’s already a given that sleep is nourishing for the body. It’s the time that our minds and our bodies rest and rebuild. And of course we all know that 6-8 hours is ideal, so try to get that sleep. I know it’s easy to stay up late because our to-do lists are never ending. But prioritizing that sleep is the ultimate act of self care, and it helps your immune system. If you have trouble winding down at night, I make sure to put my phone down and shut down all electronics a few hours before bed. And when needed, I take Melatonin before bed, and I’m out in minutes!
Move your body. Get off the couch and move your body. I always like to say that I am one workout away from a good mood, and it’s the truth. The moment you break that sweat, it feels like the problems of the world aren’t so big. Of course they don’t go away, but I always find that I am better able to cope with whatever comes my way if I’ve had a good sweat session. I know that gyms are starting to open again, so if you feel safe hitting the gym, go for it, but I am still doing mostly home workouts because it’s so nice to do them on my own time. I especially love Barry’s at Home and Jabs by Jina! Or just get outside in nature and go for a walk. Aim for 30 minutes a day and make sure you do something you enjoy!
Eat real, whole foods, but also enjoy comfort foods! The power of real food cannot be understated. When I feel like life is out of control, I know how easy it is to grab convenience foods and eat mindlessly. But those foods are often packed with chemicals and foods that don’t help us feel our best. So if you can, reach for foods with minimal ingredients. Need a snack? How about an apple with a side of almond butter? Or how about trying one of my single serving desserts like my Paleo Mug Brownie Cake or my Single Serving Pop Tart? Food can totally be comfort, and I lean into food all the time. I just try my best to pick things with ingredients that make me feel GOOD (i.e., no sugar crash!).
Instead of Retreating To Yourself, Connect with Others. It’s important to reach out to friends and family, even if you aren’t seeing them in person. These days technology is awesome, and you are just one Facetime call or a Zoom call away from virtual human connection. I also think it’s so fun to organize virtual happy hours, even if you’ve started to get back out to dining out (the goal is still to social distance where possible). For me personally, when things feel unsettling to me (like what’s going on in our world), it’s easy for me to retreat. And while self reflection and isolation to “feel your feelings” is great too, it’s also key to pull yourself out and be among those that make you feel your best, even if that has to happen virtually.
Read or do an activity you enjoy! Lately I love immersing myself in a good book. Have you guys read Untamed by Glennon Doyle? OMG, that book changed my life during this quarantine season, and it’s one that I will read over and over. The other thing I’ve been doing is adult puzzles! I order one from Amazon every few weeks, and after the kids go to bed, I start working on my puzzles. It’s so relaxing and calming for the mind. Check out this moon puzzle! If puzzles aren’t your thing, turn on some music, make some tea, and do something that makes you feel zen.
Therapy. Just because you might be working from home or staying in more, doesn’t mean you need to slack off on your therapy appointments. In fact, I think it’s more important now — than ever — to invest money into your mental health. Trained therapists can help you navigate through these challenging times. And since I am dining out less and spending less money on other things, it’s made my weekly therapy sessions more affordable.
Relax and unwind. Take a bath. Pour yourself a glass of wine or kombucha. Do a face mask. Have sex; with a partner or with yourself. All of these acts of self care add up and are more important now than ever.
Of course there are so many things you can do for yourself during this time, but the one thing I want to stress is simply that you need to take care of yourself and fill your own cup first before you can serve others in your life.