Published on July 8, 2020
COVID-19 has changed our lives. We’ve all had to find new ways to stay connected and practice personal self-care while social distancing. Our grief counselors put together a list of their personal top 10 self-care ideas to help you maintain and improve your mental health during quarantine.
1. Get Puzzled
Now’s the perfect time to pull that old 5,000-piece puzzle out of the cabinet and get to work! Puzzles help you stay present through concentration. It can even help you practice deep breathing techniques by pausing to inhale/exhale every time you fit a piece or finish a section.
2. Caring Combo
Who says we can only enjoy one self-care activity at a time? When life is busy and it feels like we don’t have enough spare time, combine a few fun elements into one. Take a walk with a loved one, and bring a camera along; or sit in nature, and listen to your favorite music. You get the benefits of each wrapped in one!
3. Impromptu Dancefloor
Dance partner optional! Put on some great, loud, lively music, and let loose to dance, dance, dance! Between the upbeat music and the carefree movement, this is sure to release some endorphins and move you into a positive outlook!
4. Nurturing Nature
Reconnect with your instinct to nurture the environment by planting seeds, flowers, or plants in your yard or garden. Use this time to reflect on hope for the tiny seeds, for growth, for new possibilities, and for self.
5. Squiggle Chronicle
Using your non-dominate hand, write about your morning, your lunch, the last vacation you took, or an exciting memory. The extra concentration to form the words will help you to stay more focused on this task and bring your thoughts away from stress and toward more neutral/happy territory. Plus, this exercise helps you remember that you don’t have to be perfect all the time, and to just do your best!
6. Recipe for Relaxation
Cooking and baking can connect us to feelings of calm and support for so many reasons. We have a goal-oriented task, and when we finish it, we get a delicious reward! Plus, a lot of us feel closer to the person who first shared the recipe with us or others who also love to enjoy it. Treat yourself, literally!
7. Meal and Movie Pairing
Create a dish based on your favorite movie or TV show! Some examples for inspiration: Harry Potter with pumpkin pasties, butterbeer, and meat pies; Ratatouille and the dish ratatouille; Julie & Julia and beef bourguignon! Try these great recipes now and when social distancing is over, invite friends over to share your dishes with a potluck.
8. Digital Dinner Date
Despite social distancing, we can still have virtual gatherings! Try Zoom, Google Hangouts, or other similar platforms to invite friends to share a meal with you or have a movie night virtually. There are still many options for socializing, just via screen instead of face-to-face. Use these new platforms to have fun and feel less isolated!
9. Spontaneous Self-Care
We sometimes rely too heavily on planning and routine. When the world forces us to handle more chaos, it can be fun to lean into it by being spontaneous! Maybe your favorite song comes on in the car, and you roll down the windows to belt out the lyrics. Challenge yourself to be more open to random opportunities for fun and relaxation.
10. The Power of Nothing
Our society values productivity above all else. We measure it, strive for it, and you can even see it as a running theme on this very list! One of the most powerful ways we can take care of ourselves is to remember that it is okay to take time to do nothing. Challenge yourself to simply exist for 15 minutes without any chores, work, or even a hobby (e.g. knitting, reading). This can help restore some of your energy reserves so that you have more motivation and stamina for your next task.
Remember that while much is outside of our control right now, we still have control over how we respond. Use that power with wisdom and compassion. It is easy to compare someone else’s current circumstances to your own, but it is important to remember that your journey is your own, and you are more than enough.