Times are tough. We’re all practicing social distancing (at least, I hope you are), and even though we know it’s what needs to be done, it’s still hard being stuck at home. During this time, it’s important we take care of ourselves and our mental health. Here are 13 ways to prioritize yourself and self-care while you’re self-quarantining.
1. Take a media break. There’s a fine line between being informed and reading every shocking article your family texts you and viewing every photo of empty grocery store shelves your friends’ post. Take dedicated times during the day to read the news, scroll social media, and check in with people, but other than that really try to put your phone away. Earlier this week when things were really heating up I felt like I had a long workday but didn’t get much done, because my phone was dinging with texts, news alerts, and DMs and I kept looking at every. single. one. All of those notifications will be there at the end of the day too if you want to look at them.
2. Meditate. Whenever I start to feel anxious, doing some kind of breathing practice or meditation always helps lower my heart rate. You can try Headspace or Calm for guided meditation apps, or a simple exercise that helps me is breathing in for three seconds, holding for three seconds, and then out for three seconds.
3. Create a calming environment. Declutter your home—having a messy environment will only add to your stress (read this post on how to declutter fast). Then, add some touches that help create a calming environment. I recently got a white noise machine that I play at night (pink noise has been shown to be the best for sleep), and sometimes during the day I’ll turn it on one of the water noises like raindrops or waves and it has a very calming effect. I also recently got these rock salt lamps that I’ve put in our bedroom after listening to a TSC Podcast interview with Ben Greenfield that covered how exposing yourself to red light (rather than blue or yellow) is the best for not disrupting your circadian rhythm and sleep cycles. We use them in our bedroom at night and honestly, it creates a sexy spa-like vibe in the room and Omied and I have both been v into it!
4. Read light-hearted fiction or an inspiring biography. Reading is an escape for the mind. Overdive has a free app called Libby that will allow you to browse your local library’s collection of ebooks and audiobooks and read/listen to them across your devices. If you have a library card already this would be a great option! You can check out and download the app here.
5. Practice Stoicism. Last year I started reading The Daily Stoic, which is a short one page (more like a paragraph) a day reading of daily meditations that share wisdom from philosophers on living a happy, balanced life. I start each day reading a page from it, and it’s been more helpful than ever to set my intentions and mood for the day. Get a copy here.
6. Journaling and gratitude journaling. After I’ve read my Daily Stoic page, I do a few minutes of journaling that’s just free flow about whatever I’m feeling or thinking that day, or on reflections from the day before. After that, I write down three things that I’m grateful for. Especially during these difficult times, I find it helpful to find silver linings. A couple of examples would be Omied and I cooking a delicious meal together on a weeknight and dancing and enjoying wine while doing it (not something we usually do together on a weeknight because we’re usually so busy with work, gym, happy hours, etc), or connecting with a bunch of my oldest friends over Google Hangouts all together, which we haven’t done in like a decade. Please note I am NOT one of those people who thinks, “everything happens for a reason” and that this is some sort of blessing. Obviously I wish Coronavirus wasn’t a thing, but finding things to be happy about during it (and because of it) helps me cope and is something that I learned from The Daily Stoic.
7. Host a virtual wine night. I had a happy hour scheduled with some of my blogger girlfriends to drink wine and talk shop. Now we’re just doing it virtually and everyone will be drinking their own wine/enjoying a charcuterie board at home. “Get together” with friends virtually, because we all need some social interactions and could probably use some new faces around here. Also, in my opinion, wine = self-care. I mean, don’t overdo it, but you know what I mean.
8. Exercise. Move your body. Getting some movement and sweating in while we’re cooped up inside is going to be so important for taking care of ourselves! I’m planning on working out on a pretty regular basis and I’ve signed up for a virtual training program with HIIT school. I used to work out with them at Google and they are awesome. The program runs March 18 – April 14th and once you sign up, any others in your household can join you! It’s $120 for workouts 2x per week, plus a third freebie class on Fridays. I’ve also been so happy to see so many places offering other virtual options during this time, like Peloton offering a free 90-day trial for their app and Corepower Yoga offering a few yoga flow programs for free online.
9. Take a bubble bath. And like, do it up. Bath salts, bubbles, candles, music, a book and a glass of wine.
10. Premium Jane CBD. When I start to feel anxious, Premium Jane’s CBD gummies are my fav. They help to calm me down and put my racing mind at ease. Plus they’re really yummy. Use the code WTFAB for a 20% discount!
11. Go for a run, walk, or hike outside. Yes, we’re self-quarantining, but you are still able to get outside a bit for some fresh air as long as you go out in a non-crowded area and stay at least six feet away from people. Even just a walk around the block helps me when I feel like I’m starting to go a bit crazy. We’ll probably go for a hike this weekend because some extended outdoor time sounds lovely right now.
12. Get a diffuser and essential oils going. Scents can influence your emotions. I’ve been spraying some calming scents like lavender and eucalyptus, and I recently got the Aera, which is a smart home diffuser that I’ve been loving.
13. Set a time that you’ll stop working in the evening. Now that we’re all working from home, it can be easy for our stop time to slip a bit. Set a hard stop time for work, and log off for the day. Even though we’re stuck at home, you still need to balance your time for yourself and work time. Not sure how to spend your time when you’re not working? Check out my post on 100 things to do when stuck at home.
What are you doing to take care of and prioritize yourself during this stressful time? I’d love to hear what’s working for you!
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.