Things have changed quite a bit haven’t they in the past week or so for many of us?
Right now I’m in week 2 of the lockdown in Spain which means we can only leave to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, or to walk your dog (I wanted a dog before, but now I desperately want one!). So that means no walks along the beach or getting any exercise done outside. For someone who is extremely active and loves to spend time in the outdoors this has been rough. But I’m trying to keep things in perspective, and know that I’m privileged and have lots to be grateful for even during this season of uncertainty and challenge.
If I’m being honest with you (which I always try to be), I had a brief moment last week where I was like screw it. I wanted to forget working out, eating well and taking care of myself, and instead I just wanted to eat pizza and hide in bed all day. I mean, isn’t a lockdown like the perfect time to toss out all the amazing routines and self-care habits you have in place? I was tempted. Luckily not for long, but the temptation was lingering.
The thing is creating a self-care practice at this time isn’t going to erase all those scary and uncomfortable feelings right now. Those feelings are okay to have. Every single one of them. In one given day I can feel fear, hope, worry, concern, joy and gratitude. There is certainly room for them all.
So implementing a self-care practice right now isn’t to dismiss or bypass those not so comfy feelings. But instead, we have these habits in place to support ourselves, have our back, tune into our needs, and show ourselves that we are worthy of taking care of ourselves even during these challenging seasons of life.
These routines and practices keep us feeling steady, grounded, and on track during these unsettling times. We can be proud of ourselves for taking care of ourselves and for prioritizing our wellbeing, especially during a time like this.
I’ve created a list of tools and practices that are helping me in this challenging season. I’m certainly no expert, but I’d love to share from my experience hoping that it may help you during this time.
- Creating or modifying your current morning and evening routine. Keep it simple. And do what feels supportive, yet realistic. Lately, my morning routine is working out, study Spanish, and my morning lists (which currently includes gratitude, what I’m excited about, and prayers). My evening routine is some gentle stretching/yoga, journaling and ending with daily joys (more gratitude).
- Practicing acceptance and finding the silver lining. There is absolutely nothing I can do to change this situation, but I can change the way I respond to it. It’s okay if you freak out at first (I definitely did!), but after feeling all the feels, it can be helpful to ask “now what?” What is in my control? How can I use this time intentionally? When life hands you lemons, make lemonade 🙂
- Moving my body daily with yoga or other workout videos. Working out has always been a big part of my life. In fact, I can’t remember one time in my life when I haven’t worked out. Unless I was sick or something of course. Moving my body in a way that feels good is one of my favorite things to do, and it can be extremely helpful right now for our immune system, increasing the endorphins, coping with stress, and for our mental health as well. There are loads of exercises and workouts online to check out!
- Journaling and processing what’s going on. I’ve been giving myself time every night to journal because there is so much to process right now, not only at a collective level but personally as well. It’s normal for lots to be coming up at this time and the good news is (silver lining!) we have been gifted the time and space to acknowledge and process it. I’ve always found journaling a useful tool to dump everything from my heart and mind onto paper.
- Making a list of things to do while you’re at home. The second day of the lockdown was a Sunday. I knew I had to change my perspective quickly on things or else it would be a very rough and long lockdown. One thing I did right away was make a list of all the activities and projects I wanted to do during this time. That course I bought back in the fall, now is the perfect time to work on it! You betcha rest and sleep were on that list too.
- Sleeping, siesta, and resting. Like I’ve mentioned above, this is a very emotional time for many of us, and we are overloaded with information and on top of that, we are processing our own stuff. Carving out time to rest and take a siesta is one of the best gifts we can offer ourselves right now. Last week I was beyond exhausted, so I didn’t use an alarm all week. I know I’m fortunate because for the most part my work is flexible, so do what feels doable for you. But please, for the love of God, take this opportunity to slow down, sleep in, and siesta.
- Connecting with others via calling, whatsapp, and facetime throughout the day. I keep joking that my social life is busier now than before the lockdown. I am constantly messaging with friends and family during the day and am making sure to facetime with 2-3 people a day to feel more connected with my loved ones during this time. Since most of us are under quarantine, why not take this opportunity to catch up with our favorite humans around the world.
- Focus on community and being of service. I made a second list last Sunday which was the second day of the lockdown. This one was called “how can I spread hope and encouragement right now?” Being of service can help you put things in perspective and also help you realize that you’re in a position to give to people who need a bit more support and assistance right now. You can be of service to your inner-circle (which is my loved ones and closest friends) and then extend that out to your community if that feels good to you. You have gifts, strengths, skills or resources that people need more than ever right now.
- Gratitude and focusing on joy. Like I’ve said before, beginning and ending the day right now with a gratitude practice can be super powerful. In the evenings, I’ve started a “today’s little joys” list. These lists can consist of food I’ve made and nourished my body with, an online yoga class that a friend is offering, enjoying a cup of coffee with a good friend over facetime, and anything else that made my day just a little bit better and more joyful.
- Slowing down and feeling what comes up. This one ties in with number 4. Since we have been forced to slow down and not fill our calendars to the brim, we may notice a lot coming up for us. We are confronted with ourselves and sometimes this is just too much. There are still plenty of ways to numb this experience (think Netflix, drinking, overeating, etc), but what if we choose to move through it completely awake and aware to this whole experience, knowing that going through it will make us stronger and more resilient humans when we come out of it.
- Stay present and take one day at a time. One thing this lockdown has forced me to do is to stay as present as possible. Otherwise I worry about how long we’ll be in lockdown, what will Spain be like after all this, what about the States, and actually, what about the world?! I worry about my grandma and even my parents. My heart goes out to the small businesses, the cafes and restaurants I often go to here in Malaga, for the people whose situations aren’t as fortunate as mine, for the kids who feel safer at school than in their own homes, and the list goes on. There is SOOO much to worry about at this moment. Right now there are no answers to any of these concerns, so taking one day at a time and not letting my mind race forward has been extremely helpful.
- Comforting activities, movies, music, and books. Times are feeling heavy these days so to avoid making it feel even heavier, I’m opting for some comforting and uplifting activities at this moment. I’m watching feel good movies and series. I’ve created a playlist that puts a smile on my face (and makes me want to dance!). I’m avoiding the alcohol, but definitely enjoying a glass or 2 of red on the weekends. This is an opportunity to get even more intentional with how we are using our time and the entertainment and information we are allowing into our space.
- Limit news intake. The first few days of the lockdown, I was constantly refreshing the news pages and reading article after article. I discovered after a while it wasn’t really helpful. I’ve actually stopped reading the news but have a couple of trusty good pals that will keep me in the loop. Another idea is to set aside 1-2 times to check in with the news while giving yourself a time limit.
- Phone boundaries. Before the lockdown, I was on social media about 3-4 days a week. These days I’ve been on daily and I’ve been on a lot. I realize this has increased because I want to feel more connected to others and I don’t want to miss anything really important. Moving forward I know I need to create better boundaries with my phone during this season. I know I’ll be on my phone more than I was before which is completely okay! But I still want to maintain boundaries with it, so it doesn’t consume my life. I’ll be sharing ideas as I explore this more in my own life.
- Self-soothing and checking in. With all the chaos, uncertainty, fear, and overwhelm, this can be a wonderful opportunity to practice self-compassion with yourself. When you feel yourself freaking out, what can you say or do to soothe yourself in that moment? One practice I like to implement is setting check-ins throughout the day and during these check-in’s ask ”how do I feel and what do I need?” This is a great way to tune into yourself and honor your needs.
Over the weekend, I had 2 virtual meet-ups with women all over the world who are experiencing very similar situations and experiences. Here are some of the amazing ways they’ll be using this time and taking care of themselves:
-acts of kindness
-keep things tidy
-get dressed in regular clothes
-make their home “cozy”
-stay present and focus on today
-stay in their own line and focusing on what they can control
-help support their inner-circle
-ending the workday with an action to signal that it’s done and time to unwind
-create an evening routine with gratitude list and intentions for the next day
-create a schedule
-create time for introspection
I hope these ideas have inspired you a bit! I’d love to hear from you. How are you navigating this season of life?
Take care of yourself and stay healthy.
Lots of love,