It’s virtually impossible not to get caught up in the Coronavirus chaos. It’s certainly not easy to stay stress-free during such a scary, uncertain time…but it’s not healthy for any of us, and let’s face it, we all need to take EXTRA good care of ourselves right now!
Here’s a few things I’m doing for my well-being. I actually practice these regularly, either for emotional balance/stability, for self-care and/or for a sound night’s sleep, but it dawned on me that these practices could be very helpful to everyone during this time, so I thought I would share. I truly hope some of them work for you RIGHT NOW!!
LIGHTEN THE ENTERTAINMENT!
Keep the Netflix binging light, especially before bed. Think comedy specials, inspiring documentaries, heartwarming stories, easy breezy series (Hello, Schitt’s Creek & Working Moms). Lighten it up for a while and see if your mood is elevated!
I know, I know, it’s hippy-dippy, but breath-work is extremely effective and helpful for stress.
• Sit in a quiet space, head above heart, spine in alignment.
• Use rolled-up blankets to soften your seat if needed.
• Close your eyes and breathe from your diaphragm.
*It’s belly breathing like a baby you want, not chest breath, which is essentially what you do during a ‘fight or flight’ response.
• I personally like ‘box breathing’, which is breathing in deep for 4 seconds, holding for 4, exhale for 4, and hold for 4 again. Repeat.
This balanced breathing makes me feel complete and well rounded. Plus, if you’re not sure how to calm down and sit for an extended period of time to meditate, doing this will give you something to focus your energy on!
Try to say goodbye to the external world for just 4 minutes, then 6, then 8, working your way up to 10, and eventually a blissful 20 minutes!! It CAN be done! Trust me!
* Repeat first thing in the morning and right before bed, daily! It works!!!
Epsom salts/bath soak, face masks, my favorite candles, a calming, carefully curated Spotify playlist, essential oils, a nice, long soak followed by some hydrating oil or special lotion right after I exit when my pores are open.
I take the time. I make the time. I know I deserve it. YOU deserve it!!
REMOVE THE PHONE!
I do NOT sleep with my phone in my bedroom, EVER!! I found even just having my phone in my room at night, knowing its presence, prevented me from a restful night’s sleep. Not only will removing it keeps you from being tempted to scroll if you wake in the middle of the night, but it won’t be the last thing you do before you try to shut your brain down for the night…and right now, but all of the “stuff” on Facebook and on the news is the last thing we need on our minds before we drift off to rest.
*If you use your phone as your alarm, perhaps ask your partner to use theirs or ask Alexa to wake you up!
SHUT IT DOWN
Almost every Friday during the school year (when time with my kiddos isn’t as frequent as it is on breaks from school), I shut down all social media, emails and I heavily limit texting and phone calls to just family and closest friends, which keeps it to a bare minimum that doesn’t feel like too much .
I recognize this as a religious practice in honor of Shabbat, but really it’s just as much for my sanity, and an excuse to focus solely on my family.
Our weekday nights (as I’m sure yours are too) are so insane and filled with after school activities that family time is rare when school is in session. This is a great way to make sure that special time for us happens.
I give myself Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown to just be with the family…. really BE with them.
This is our time for a nice, fancier dinner with a fully decked out table, family movie night with homemade popcorn or a board games kind of night. (We currently love Racko, Heads Up, Scattegories and Blockus)
I do NOT allow myself to feel guilty for not responding or interacting. I actually enjoy this so much I sometimes take Sunday “off” too.
NOW is the best time to just step away from social media for a bit, just for 24 hours if you can. Perhaps prepare that Friday night meal together, too, and just focus on what matters most, your loved ones.
*If you need a harsh reality check as motivation, check out your Screen Time app on your phone to see JUST how much time you spend online! Yikes!
ENJOYING A SACRED SPACE
My bedroom is my haven away from it all…the kid’s toys, the chaos, the heavy conversations, the stress of the day. I am very intentional about what I allow into my one sacred space in my home that’s just for me.
I keep the bedside table reading light, the laundry basket filled with clothes that needs to be folded out (until I’m ready), and I’m conscious about what’s in my peripheral when I’m relaxing. If you see it and it stresses you, GET IT OUT OF THERE!
I have a very hygee (pronounced hoo-ga) mindset in my bedroom. Hygee is the quality of coziness and comfortability that brings the feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Scandinavian culture)…
I use a mix of textures like velvets, silks, and faux furs to keep me cozy, lots of calming candles, mood lighting, my favorite photos framed, and fresh blooms by my bed ALWAYS! (Hello, Produce Junction! The girls and I love making our own bouquets out of the stupidly inexpensive bunches from here!)
I only use white sheets (to feel like I’m floating on a cloud or to make me feel as if I’m at a hotel and there are no chores to be done-love me some trickery haha).
I also make my bed perfectly daily, throw pillows and all, so it looks totally inviting and ready for pure relaxation and comfort when I return back home after a long one.
Having this calming space is like having a retreat to escape to daily, and I don’t know what I would do without it!! It’s my favorite place to run to after a busy, stressful day and I can’t imagine not having it RIGHT NOW!
Maybe take a moment to do a sweep of your bedroom…declutter, destress it and add some more calming pieces like the family photos, candles, or cozy blankets I mentioned.
*Currently I’m burning White Gardenia from Bath & Body Works. It’s from their White Barn collection. It’s soy-based, contains essential oils, and smells just like spring!
Taking just a bit of time to plan out meals is so helpful! It takes a little energy, but I find the benefits are priceless!
I ALWAYS have a few backup meals ready to throw together in a pinch in case of an emergency, sickness, or a snow storm! (Think various cans of beans, frozen veggies and stocks for crock pot chili, soups and stews. Pasta, grains like couscous, and frozen fruits for smoothies).
I regularly keep snacks that can sit in the pantry for awhile, usually in the event guests stop by last minute, but in this case, it wound up just being helpful to have in general. (Think organic chips and salsa, specialty jam spreads like Adriatic fig, fancy crackers, chocolates, nuts like pistachios, etc.)
I’m pretty secure with our stock as it is, and I bet you have more in your pantry right now than you think also!
I would suggest pulling it all out, separating it into meals, and evaluating exactly what you need before you go nuts and get stressed over empty store shelves and long grocery lines!!! You may just have to get a little creative, but I guarantee you’ve got somethings in there to last you longer than you expect!
*If you find yourself with some random ingredients and just don’t know what to make with them, simply type them into Pinterest to find a recipe! Here’s my page if you want to connect! (It’s one of my favorite places for inspo!)
Maybe prioritize finding a local farmers’ market for your fresh produce ASAP. Last I heard, the ones in my area are still on this weekend! It will most likely be a lot less crowded, it’s open-air, plus the produce lasts a lot longer since it doesn’t have to travel as far as it would to your big chain grocery store!
TIME IN NATURE!
Hubs and I get out every weekday morning after we put the kids on the bus when the weather is nice to enjoy sunrise. It’s the perfect, stress-free way to start the day and just catch up without distraction.
Even if it’s just a walk in the local park for sunrise or sunset, it will help you remember the beauty that DOES exist in this not so pretty world right now. Plus, it’s practically germ -free out there and depending on the time of day you go, you may have it all to yourself! #WINNING!
Sitting with a hot cup of tea is such a nice way to unwind and de-stress! There’s something about holding that hot cup between your hands, inhaling the steaming herbs and sipping slowly. It’s so therapeutic to me!
*Right now I’m obsessed with anything turmeric. Philly’s own Rival Brothers has a turmeric ginger loose tea that is to die for!
Maybe TRY swapping out one cup of that jolting coffee that will have your heart and mind racing for something a little more calming, just for now.
WRITE IT DOWN!
Sometimes it’s all a bit too heavy, so I put it all down, shut the book, and let it fucking go!
I don’t keep a journal in the old fashion ‘dear diary’ sense you may imagine, but I do use it get it all out when I need to, and I certainly write what I’m grateful for each and every morning! It’s a really nice way to start the day… with gratitude. Perhaps this will be helpful to you during this sad and scary time. Let’s try to focus on the good a bit more than the bad, the stuff that brings us joy rather than stress. Sometimes just giving energy to positivity, writing it you can actually see it helps to keep it at the forefront of our minds.
Maybe also jot down your top 3 favorite moments of the day. (Think that crazy thing your kid said or did that had you peeing your pants, that sweet thing hubs did for you, that insanely delicious new recipe you want to put into your rotation, etc.)
If you need to, go back and look at it if/when you’re feeling overwhelmed in the upcoming days and weeks ahead.
(I often go back and read my book when I need a smile! )
Wishing you all a lot less stress and sending you out the most positive HEALTHY vibes ever!