With Covid-19 having properly hit in the UK a lot of us are now currently working from home and self-isolating. Here are my favourite self-care practices for getting through the next few weeks…
Keep to your usual routines + rituals
When the world throws a curve ball like it has in the past few weeks, the best thing to do is to try and keep everything else in your life as normal as possible. While it isn’t possible to control what’s going on with Covid-19, it is possible to control your own structure and routines and so it’s important to make those part of your self-care routine. So you usually wake up at 8am? Keep your alarm set and get up at the normal time. Do you always have oats with blueberries for breakfast? Keep making them everyday. Likewise, if you’re working from home at the moment then try and extract yourself from your pyjamas and get dressed, even if it’s into lounge wear. You’ll feel better for it, trust me. And if you’d a few more bits of helpful or not-so-helpful advice on working from home you can read my full post right here.
Try and get some exercise
As I’ve said in previous posts, if I don’t exercise I lose all structure to my day and I just end up wasting hours lying in bed and looking at shit on my phone. And when I say shit I mean the AIBU threads on Mumsnet. Moving swiftly on… if you want to start a self-care routine I would highly recommend starting with exercise, because it can completely lift your mood and change how you’re feeling. Get outside from some fresh air for a run or a brisk walk and I can guarantee you won’t come back feeling the same as you left. If you’re not into running, there are plenty of fantastic workout videos on YouTube on Instagram that you can make part of your self-car routine. One of my favourite health and fitness bloggers, the Body Coach, has even created a workout suited to elderly people, which my parents did this week. Grab some weights or those stockpiled tins of beans, and get ready to sweat.
Clear up your space
I never seem to take much satisfaction from cleaning in the way that a lot of people do, and I’m certainly not part of the whole hinching scene. But – and it’s a big but – normally I’m so busy rushing around from work to exercise to socialising that I don’t really notice the few crumbs on the kitchen worktops. A few crumbs, LOL, who I am kidding?! Anyway, we’re all spending a lot more time in our spaces right now and so it makes sense from a self-care and hygiene perspective to keep things clean. Self care is as much about taking care of yourself as it is about the space you’re living in, as long as you’re not putting too much pressure on yourself for everything to be ‘perfect’ of course. I never do. Good enough is good for me. Once you’re done you can light a candle and marvel at the non-dusty surfaces – or even upload a pic on Instagram and pretend you like like this all the time.
Allow yourself to just be
As mentioned, it’s a weird situation that we’re all in and so you might be feeling a little all over the place. My biggest self-care tip for 2020 is this: don’t feel guilty in taking time to read, watch a movie, take a nap, or write a blog or journal post. These circumstances are so crazy, so unprecedented, and so if that’s all you want to do that’s absolutely fine. However, self care to you might mean keeping more of a regular schedule, and that’s OK too. I decided to flex my productivity muscle and finally bought Ell Duclos’s Pinterest course, which I’ve been meaning to start for ages, and it’s been great to have time to work through that. If you’re looking for any chill out recommendations, I’m currently reading Three Women and Such a Fun Age and I also just watch The Invisible Man last night, which was excellent. And of course there’s always the new BBC series Normal People if you’ve not seen it yet.
Make some nutritious food
As above, in the usual whirlwind of day-to-day life I never really have a change to cook nice food. It’s all frozen Quorn sausages or fish cakes or whatever my boyfriend happens to be cooking. As part of my self-care routine I’ve been using the extra time when I would have been commuting to try a few new recipes from one of the Pinch of Nom cookbooks I bought at the beginning of the year. If I can learn to cook a couple of nice meals that I can also use to stock up the freezer that’s a win win. I’ve also been baking quite a lot, which is a first for me. Some of the recipes have been relatively healthy, such as my oatmeal banana cookies, and some have been less healthy, such as my boozy banana loaf. However, whatever you’re baking, it’s a nice way of being creative and productive with your time.
Schedule a call with your friends
As an introvert I hardly ever phone anyone – normally it’s just a whole load of WhatsApp messages pinging up on my home screen. Now though, I’m actually craving face to face time (in kind) with my pals and so I’m making it an essential part of my self-care routine. One of the funniest moments from my week was chatting with my sister on video call and inspecting what she described as her “well-stocked cupboards” which turned out to be about four tins of beans and a pack of bagels. At least she’s not one of the stockpilers, right? But this is a really crazy time and it feels good to share it with the people who are going through it with you. We’re also doing a quiz every Saturday night and as much as I am getting video call fatigue I also really enjoy being able to connect with my friends in this way. I would make calls with your friends an essential part of your self-care routine checklist.
Share how you feel
One of the things I’ve been surprised about in this crisis is that people have opened up a lot more. I told my mum I loved her today and I don’t really do that all that often, we’re just not that kind of family. Similarly, one of my friends who lives in China and has never had a serious answer to a question in the entire time I’ve known him has now become someone I really want to listen to regarding on self-isolation, having done it since January. I keep seeing posts from him on my Facebook wall, urging people to take it seriously, to stay indoors, to realise what kind of damage this virus can inflict. In some ways it’s made us all strip back the bullshit and just be our true selves, and that’s important to any self-care routine. Even if it feels superficial in comparison to what others are going though, I think we need to be honest about that as much as possible. You can only refer to your own experience after all.