If you’re stuck inside on lockdown and feeling like life is just plain harder right now, you’re not alone. A little quarantine self care might be just the thing you need to get your mind and body back on track.
It’s an ill-humored irony that the times when we’re most in need of a calm mind and an energetic body are also the times we’re most likely to be deprived of those things.
In order to be at your best to face a crisis like this, you need to make sure your needs are met. Taking care of your mental, physical, and emotional needs is a difficult thing to do in normal circumstances. And it goes double for when the world feels chaotic and it seems like everything is on fire.
The good news is, you already have all the tools you need. You’ve got everything it takes to look after yourself, and feel happy and healthy. It just might not look the way you’re used to. You may need to rearrange your usual self-care approaches, quarantine-style.
You can build a strong quarantine self care routine to support you in every area of your life. It will just take a bit of introspection and making a few tweaks to adapt to the current circumstances.
Try these top 8 tips for making sure your mind and body are getting everything they need to flourish, even when you’re stuck at home.
1. Make a List of Your Quarantine Self Care Needs
Who doesn’t love a good list? I know some of my favorites have exactly 8 items and are full of self-care tips.
The reason it’s crucial to practice self care is that it supplements some of the things our bodies and minds need, that we might not be getting enough of.
Some days (pre-quarantine days) would naturally offer a lot of the nourishment you need, built right into the day. For instance, walking around, spending time outside, and spending time with a mix of people.
These are all things you are likely to do in a ‘normal’ day that are crucial for your physical and mental health. And you get the benefits ‘for free’ because you were going to do those things anyway.
Times of crisis can significantly shake up your routine and sap some of these benefits out of your day.
To take care of yourself during abnormal times, start with a self-interview. Ask yourself some questions to figure out what your main needs are. Make a list of those needs.
Try asking yourself some of these questions to start figuring out what normally fills you up, and what you’re missing.
- How are my days right now different than normal?
- What does a regular day give me ‘for free’?
- Which of those benefits am I not getting right now? How can I replace them?
- What new stresses and challenges have come into my life recently?
- What else do I need, to counterbalance those new difficulties?
When you use questions like these to make a list of your needs, it’s a lot easier to see which ones need a little extra support. And from there you can develop a targeted quarantine self care plan.
2. Stick to a Routine
Okay, look. I know. Routine is a word that rarely inspires much enthusiasm from, well, anyone. I’m only a couple sentences in and I’m already bored.
But I’m going to see this through anyway because self-care isn’t just about what’s fun, it’s about getting what you need.
And you need a routine. More than ever when life gets tough.
Achieving peace in hard times is a quest for normalcy. And the quest for normalcy starts with doing normal things.
The sheer number of things that your mind and body team up to accomplish in the course of a single day is staggering. A typical human accomplishes more discrete tasks and processes before breakfast than most animals do all day.
Routine is a lovely little tool that lets you put the straightforward ones on autopilot to save mental energy for everything else. If you don’t have to fully think through brushing your teeth and putting your pants on each day, then you have more juice left for the harder things that will come up that day.
The thing about tough times is that they give you a whole lot of new challenges to face and decisions to make. That makes routine more important than ever. Keeping some parts of life running on a smooth and familiar track frees up your energy and makes you more ready to face the harder stuff.
Create your Ideal Daily Routine! Get your FREE routine planner (including morning, daily & bedtime routines)!
3. Try Something New
Every healthy relationship needs a balance between reliable familiarity, and spicy novelty. And that includes your relationship with yourself.
Routine is your bread and butter, but who wants a whole diet of only bread and butter?
A happy life has a steady flow of new experiences. Things that challenge you and grow your boundaries are uncomfortable at first, but they expand your world and add new awesome things to it.
Novelty creates excitement, which is a form of happiness in its own right. But on top of that is what comes after the excitement. Trying new things is an experiment. Through it you can discover things that you love as a result, and pull them into your routine.
And there are plenty of ways you can do this from home. Here are just a few:
- Learn a new skill
- Try a creative act of kindness
- Explore a new hobby
- Join an online community and meet new people
- Try a food you’ve never made or eaten
- Take on a personal challenge
Expand your world and take joy in the experience of doing so.
4. Keep Focusing on Growth
True self care has no right answers. It has only direction. Which direction are you going with your health and happiness? Do you seem to be heading up, or heading down?
Maintaining a spirit of personal growth keeps you moving yourself forward toward your goals and becoming your ideal self. It is an offset to the natural entropy of life in lockdown.
It always helps to ask, “What do I want more of in my life? What do I want less of?”
When you keep up the mindset of building up the things that make your life better, and pushing out the things that drain you, even tiny changes can yield massive results.
Don’t worry about achieving everything all at once. Remember, direction matters far more than speed. Keep facing the way you want to go with your life, even when times are hard and days are weird.
Small steps in the right direction will always get you closer to where you want to be.
5. Nurture Your Self-Respect
Take a moment to envision your ideal self – a version of you who’s absolutely killing it out there in every way. The you that you aspire to be. Don’t rush through this – soak it all in.
Pay attention to how that version of you interacts with others; the goals you’re working toward and the steps you’re taking toward them; the relationships you have with your friends and family. What do you look like, sound like, and smell like?
Now ask yourself this: am I acting like that person? Am I taking steps toward embodying that persona, and creating that life for myself?
If not, it may be time to re-evaluate your routine, and make sure you’re acting like someone for whom you have great respect.
Self-respect and a positive self picture are essential components of a happy life.
Whatever life situation you find yourself in, no matter the material factors of that moment, you will be more fulfilled and more at peace if you are working to inhabit the best version of yourself within that moment.
This is definitely something to keep an eye on when it comes to quarantine self-care. That’s because staying indoors for an extended period can lead to a downward spiral of bad habits. Self-respect might be just the motivator you need to keep heading in the right direction.
Speaking of spending all day indoors…
6. Get Some Sun for Quarantine Self Care
Take it from a cave-dwelling, introverted homebody: every living person needs some sunlight now and then.
Regular exposure to sunlight does all kinds of great stuff for your mental state. It boosts happiness in the short term, and also helps you keep up your circadian rhythm, which improves sleep and boosts happiness in the long term.
Humans are fancy animals, but we are nonetheless still animals. That means that we still rely on many basic signals from nature, like light and dark.
Natural light is one crucial signal that the body relies on to know that it’s daytime. This helps boost energy and make us feel more enthusiastic during the day. It also helps us recognize the change from day to night and get better sleep.
Most people tend to be at least a little sleep deprived to begin with. So if you want to boost your daytime energy and your ability to get great rest at night, then a little sunlight might be just what the doctor ordered.
On top of all that, sunlight is one of our main sources of vitamin D, which promotes bone health. And who doesn’t want a rockin’ skeleton?
7. Don’t Forget to Move
I’m not here to convince you that you need exercise. I’m just here to remind you.
The end of the list of benefits that exercise offers has yet to be found. Better breathing, improved circulation, increased life expectancy, greater physical and emotional strength, weight management, short-term happiness and long-term wellbeing are just a few.
Just like sunlight, exercise is crucial for staying both healthy and well, particularly in isolation. And also like sunlight, you may have lost some ‘free’ exercise that your regular routine used to provide, that you don’t have anymore in lockdown.
Remember, a lot of the goal of quarantine self care is to replace and supplement things that might otherwise have been built into our days.
Most people’s regular days have lots of free exercise – walking from one place to another, climbing stairs, going to a park, even shopping is a fair amount of exercise. And all of that’s not even to mention gym routines and other fitness activities that are on pause.
There are a million ways to keep active at home. Go out for a walk or run if you can, try out a few workout videos on YouTube, do some living room yoga, or play an active game with your family.
It doesn’t matter too much what you do as long as it keeps you moving. So pick out something that you like doing and can keep up with as a habit.
8. Look After Your Social Balance
This one is absolutely essential, no matter who you are. Many people are not very aware of this need in normal times. But being confined to our homes is leading many people to realize how much of a need this is.
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you want to keep an eye on the balance of how much time you’re spending with others, and how much time you’re taking to be by yourself.
Extroverts need fun and excitement around other people in order to get all charged up and feel whole. Introverts need quiet time and space to themselves for the same reasons.
The ironic thing is that being stuck at home can easily throw either one of these out of whack.
Right now, many extroverts out there are dying to get out and see some friends, and many introverts are going crazy cooped up with their families around. Of course, both may be feeling a bit of each other’s pain as well.
However social interaction impacts you, one thing that’s certain is that it does impact you.
If you are feeling the itch to be social, try to set up more video calls, virtual game nights, and other remote hangouts to get that energy you need.
And if a little bit more space is what you need, it’s okay to share that with your housemates and set some boundaries together so you can get that quiet time you need to recharge.
What quarantine self care needs do you have? What has changed about your routine that’s created new self care needs?
|Sam Stone https://smarterandharderblog.com/|
Hi, I’m Sam! I write about creative paths to personal development. My mission is to share motivation, positivity, and new big ideas with people who are looking to take their lives to the next level.