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We are living in strange, scary times. There is no shying away from that at the moment. The wildfires that ravaged the world in the later part of 2019 have been replaced by the Covid-19 pandemic that is currently threatening many countries and putting so many of us into lockdown situations.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed at times like this and not know where to turn. So many of the outlets that we normally turn to in order to distract ourselves from worries and concerns are off limits. We are confined to one space, our communal spaces such as gyms and restaurants are closed, we cannot meet with friends and family outside our household, but despite feeling somewhat overwhelmed myself, I am using this time to find new ways to cope and have a greater number of tools at my disposal in the future when times get tough.

The best thing that we can do now is remember what is really important in our lives and do what we can to remain happy and healthy. I’ve pulled together a list of the self-care activities that we are trying at home during this time, hopefully it might help a few of you to get through the day-to-day and keep your mental wellbeing on a positive track.

Clean your kitchen

If my kitchen is clean, I feel like nothing can stand in my way. I feel like an adult who has some control over her life – which is a big deal! There is nothing quite like working up a sweat by tackling that pile of washing up and sweeping up the crumbs and spills from the never-ending rounds of tea and toast. Put on a podcast and get cleaning, thank me later.

Change your bedding

Is there a nicer feeling than getting into bed in the evening when you’ve got fresh sheets? I don’t think so. Find the joy in the small things and treat yourself to fresh bedding if you are feeling a bit down or if the world is getting on top of you. Just change those sheets and get stuck into pure joy.

Fresh towels

Similarly, to the fresh bedding, clean towels after a nice warm shower or soak is utter bliss. Wrap it around you and take a moment to enjoy the fluff.

Cook a new recipe

We’re all having to be a little more inventive than usual with what we are making for our meals due to bending to the will of availability. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, delight in having to cook new things, buy different ingredients and shake up that routine. Who knows what delights you will create?!

Yoga

It’s a classic but it’s a classic for a reason. Gentle yoga – whether you have practiced before or not – helps to stretch your muscles, use your body and regulate your breathing. Whenever I am having a rough time I try and start my day with yoga to rec-enter myself and my intentions for the day and beyond. It’s worth a try, even if you aren’t sure, there are so many free videos online that you can use, so you really have nothing to lose.

Self-Pamper

Take some time unashamedly to yourself! Sometimes when I am feeling down or overwhelmed, I like to shower, wash my hair, shave my legs, moisturise my body, paint my nails, brush and plait my hair, pluck my eyebrows – whatever you need to do to make yourself feel a bit more ‘you’ and a bit more human. It’s easy to let things go whilst in the lockdown but something as simple as painting your nails can lift your spirits and help you face the day. Sometimes it’s the small things, and that’s alright! You do what you got to do!

Reducing phone time

It’s so easy to spend the days refreshing the feeds and falling down rabbit holes of new information and statistics but it’s not healthy to deep dive too much. Keep abreast of the information and guidelines of what is going on but also realise what you can and cannot control. Taking time away from your phone, either by turning it off or leaving it out of reach can really help to stop you obsessing and compromising your mental wellbeing.

Read a book outside your usual genre

Pick a genre that you wouldn’t normally read and try something new. Maybe it’s non-fiction or maybe it’s poetry – but read something other than your usual go-to’s – you might learn something new; you might find a new genre that you enjoy, or it might just pass the time. Whatever the outcome, it’s always good to try new things.

Re-read your favourite book

I like to re-read my favourite book every few years, it is cosy to know the familiar story and I always find different meaning or a different enjoyment in it, depending on where I am in my life. It’s a great way to escape and reconnect with what brings you joy and what interests you. Why not recommend the book to others too who might enjoy it during these times?

Have a watch party with your friends

Send your people a message inviting them to a watch party with you. Tell them what time it will happen and what you are watching, then you can all watch it at the same time and then have a video call or message after to discuss the film or series! Maybe it could be a weekly thing and each week someone new picks what you watch – use it as a time to get to know more about the people you know and what their likes and dislikes are.

Do an online course

The internet can be your best friend or your worst enemy during hard times. Make sure that any surfing that you do is constructive, and you aren’t just soaking up bad news or endlessly scrolling on social media. Why not do an online course? Pick a subject you are familiar with and want to learn more, or something completely new? Why not? There are so many free options online, covering any topic that you could think of. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain – plus, keep your mind busy with help keep anxiety or negative thoughts at bay and also help tire you so that you can sleep well at night.

Shake up your routine

Sticking to a routine during this lockdown will really help, but it can also make you feel a bit stuck in a rut. So, make sure that you shake it up every now and then. Maybe at the weekend, you start your day differently, or perhaps on a Wednesday night you have movie night rather than watching the same old Netflix series. Maybe you need to try something new, do a different workout video, dust off your old boardgames, etc. Do whatever you need to do to ensure that you feel fulfilled in your day-to-day lives.

Meditation

Another classic, but this is something that can really help. By taking, even just 10 minutes, to clear your mind and focus on something else – whether it’s through guided meditation or just through listening to ambient sounds or music – you can help keep energy and concentration levels up and can help keep your mental wellbeing in a positive space. There are so many videos online that you can use and apps that you can download to get you started. Start small, a few minutes, and work up from there, remember that although trying new things can be daunting, sometimes they become the remedy to life you have been searching for.

Colouring

There are so many colouring books on the market now, for kids and adults alike. I personally love a bit of colouring, if I was to get all psychological about it I would say that it’s something about having control over the colours and staying in the lines, but really I just enjoy the nostalgia of it all! No colouring books? No problem. There are printable images you can find online or just let your mind wander and then colour in your doodles.

Nap

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned nap! If you are tired, that is your body telling you that you need rest. Open the windows, get comfy, put your phone down and close those eyes for a few minutes. Recharge your batteries and then take another look at the to-do list – it’s not going anywhere!

Take up a new hobby

Think of hobbies that take your interest that can be done without pressure, expense and that can be done indoors. Drawing or photography are good starting points as you can use things that you already own – we all have pens and paper, and we all have phones that have built in cameras. You don’t have to be a great artist but trying something new and getting your brain engaged will help you remain focused, happy and will also help you sleep better at night.

Journaling

Why not try either first thing in the morning or last thing at night (or both!) writing down what you are grateful for or obstacles that you have overcome. By setting aside some time to reconnect with how you are feeling and checking in with yourself, you will be able to process your emotions in a healthy and productive manner. It can really help you make sense of what you are doing and feeling day-to-day, especially during these hard times.

Creative Writing

Get those creative juices flowing by putting pen to paper and writing a short story or poem. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare, it doesn’t have to be full of your deepest emotions, just flex that brain muscle and create something – you never know, you might have a hidden talent!

Sort your wardrobe

My wardrobe and drawers are fit to burst – and I know I’m not the only one! I will most definitely be sorting through my wardrobe over the coming weeks and put anything that I don’t need or want into a bag, ready to be taken to the charity shop once normal life resumes. A tidy home can help make a tidy mind!

Home workout

I am actually really enjoying doing home workouts (which is a big thing for me to say!!) it’s a great way to break up the day – even just 20 minutes of gentle stretching will re-energise you and stop you feeling stuck behind the laptop or glued to the sofa over the next few weeks or months.

This post is obviously written in response to the current Covid-19 situation; however, these tips can be used whenever you need to practice a bit of self-care – global pandemic or not.

If you have any other suggestions then do reach out and share them with your friends, family and followers. We should all be working together to make sure that everyone is getting through these difficult times with their physical and mental health intact. Reach out to the people that you know and love, we are sending good vibes to you all.

Stay safe.

Stay well.

Stay home.

Stay smiling.

Written by Rebecca Hansell, 12th April 2020. 

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