COVID-19 has impacted the lives of everyone on this entire planet—leaving the landscape of daily life almost unrecognizable at times. We may all be in this pandemic together, but each of us is dealing with unique challenges and we all cope in our own individual ways.
Perhaps you’re sheltering at home in the cozy company of family, focused on keeping the kids occupied and finding groceries safely. Or maybe you’re struggling with the isolation of being quarantined completely alone. You may be adjusting to working from home, or perhaps you’ve been laid off and are worried about finances. Maybe you’re a brave first responder or essential worker dealing with unfathomable stress on the job. Or perhaps you or someone you love has been directly impacted by the virus, and you’re dealing with intense fear or loss.
Whatever you’re going through right now, what we all have in common is the basic human need to feel safe and cared for. Adversity has an uncanny way of revealing compassion and altruism, and it’s likely this situation has inspired you to do as much as you can for everyone in your life. But in times like these it’s easy to forget the importance of self-care—and odds are your frazzled nerves could use some major soothing just about now.
Self-care isn’t selfish! It’s the soul-soothing balm that recharges our batteries so we can keep shining our loving lights on this world. If the coronavirus situation has you running on empty, we’d like to share some self-care strategies to help you feel calm, nurtured, and rejuvenated.
Establish Gentle Daily Rituals
Without familiar routines, the way we experience the passage of time can shift in unsettling ways. Bringing in relaxing daily routines helps rebuild a comforting sense of structure while offering positive experiences you can count on every day. Here are a few of our favorites:
- First light tea. Brew a steaming mug of tea at sunrise and relax with it out on your porch or balcony until the sun is fully up. If the weather is too harsh—or you have no access to outdoor space—simply watch the sunrise by a window.
- Cleanse. Lose yourself in a ritual cleanse at day’s end. Burn a sage bundle to remove negative energy in the room, and then soak in a warm tub (or let the shower cascade over you) as you visualize stress, fear, and anything else that doesn’t serve you being washed away and literally swirling down the drain.
- Home spa hour. Close a door and set a peaceful mood with candlelight and scent. Diffusing lavender or frankincense oil encourages restful calm, while tea tree and lemongrass oils are perfect when you need to re-energize. Our self-care kit lets you cleanse away the stress of the day, treat yourself to an invigorating whole body dry brushing, and enjoy a soothing jade rolling facial. To complete your spa session, warm a high-quality botanical oil (like rosehip or argan) between your palms and indulge in some compassionate self-massage. If you don’t have time to work your entire body, just focus on your hands, feet, and ears to cover all the reflexology points.
- Midday walks. If you can safely maintain social distance, break up the day with regular neighborhood walks. Even getting up and out for 5 or 10 minutes daily can lift your mood and give your days some shape.
- Mindfulness breaks. Set aside a slice of time each day to just be, whether it’s through formal meditation or just a few mindful breaths.
- Bedtime books. Remember how much you loved bedtime stories as a kid? Why not revisit that secure, nurturing feeling? After closing your bedroom door to the world, nestle up in bed for a few minutes of gentle reading before letting go into sleep. A flashlight under the covers is totally permitted if keeping storytime secret makes it even more delicious.
Nothing cuts through dark times like a light heart—and laughter is one of the best weapons around for keeping fear, anxiety, impatience, and sagging moods at bay. Go ahead and grab as much giggle time as you can!
Everyone is different, so tap into whatever activates your unique funny bone. It might be silly movies, standup comedy videos, a rude game of Cards Against Humanity with the teens in your household, or just checking out all the absurd memes and parodies on social media. You might even want to give laughter yoga a try! The best thing about laughter is that it’s way more contagious than any virus—so this type of self-care quickly benefits everyone around you too!
Give Your Hands Some TLC
If your hands are feeling raw, dry, and irritated from all the very necessary extra hand washing these days, be sure your self-care plan includes giving those hands some much-needed love. Rich, golden jojoba oil bears a striking resemblance to your skin’s natural protective oils—making it the perfect go to for maintaining soothing hydration at this time.1
Keep a bottle of jojoba oil by the sink (or in a pocket if you’re an essential worker) and massage a pump into your hands after each scrub. Be sure to give special attention to the delicate skin on the backs of your hands and knuckles.
Turn Off the News
Have you been glued to the news, watching the latest number of new COVID cases and ever-evolving safety protocols? It can make anyone crazy. While it’s essential to stay informed during this pandemic, the constant barrage of information (and misinformation!) out there fuels a massive information overload that’s likely leaving you feeling even more jagged and anxious than you were when you first tuned in.
We’d never suggest burying your head in the sand, but periodic “news fasts” offer your brain a much-needed break from the stress of global TMI and the exhausting hypervigilance it invites. News fasts are a great time to watch those cute baby sloth videos friends keep sending your way—or better yet, walk away from screens altogether and immerse yourself in an everyday task that distracts you from the current state of affairs. We’ve found cleaning out a drawer or folding warm fluffy laundry fresh from the dryer to be surprisingly soothing.
Get Some Fresh Air
There’s something about being in nature that’s deeply calming and uplifting. And science suggests that being outdoors actually benefits both physical and mental health.2,3,4,5 So if social distancing regulations in your area permit, getting outdoors every day can be a wonderful addition to your self-care plan. Wrap your arms around a tree (you’d be amazed at how good this feels!), eat a sandwich under the sky, tilt your head back to drink the rain, or even just walk to the corner and back.
Witnessing firsthand that the birds still sing and the flowers still bloom sends a strong message that there’s still a lot of life and hope left in this old planet.
Be Gentle With Yourself
Sometimes the toughest thing about tough times is feeling like you’re expected to constantly exude positivity. If this experience has brought out your strength, gratitude, and resiliency, that’s something to celebrate—but if you’re not feeling OK right now, that’s perfectly valid too. Feeling down, discouraged, angry, lethargic, or scared doesn’t mean you’ve failed some sort of character test from the universe, and it doesn’t mean you’re weak, less spiritual, or less worthy in any way.
So be gentle with yourself. Simply honor whatever it is that you’re feeling (whether it’s pretty or not) and take comfort in knowing that emotions naturally ebb and flow like the tides. Remember that if you’re feeling adrift at this moment, that feeling will eventually pass, and things may seem unexplainably brighter much sooner than you think. Wishing you waves of nurturing comfort as you practice self-care—both today and in all the days to come.
1. Cove, J.H., Holland, K.T., Cunliffe, W.J. (1980). An Analysis of Sebum Excretion Rate, Bacterial Population and the Production Rate of Free Fatty Acids on Human Skin. British Journal of Dermatology, 103(4), 383–386. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1980.tb07260.x
2. Gould van Praag, C.G., Garfinkel, S.N., Sparasci, O. . . . Critchley, H.D. (2017). Mind-wandering and Alterations to Default Mode Network Connectivity When Listening to Naturalistic Versus Artificial Sounds. Scientific Reports 7(45273). doi:10.1038/srep45273
3. Taylor, M.S., Wheeler, B.W. White, M.P., Economou, T., Osborne, N.J. (2015). Research Note: Urban Street Tree Density and Antidepressant Prescription Rates—A Cross-sectional Study in London, UK.Landscape and Urban Planning 136. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.12.005
4. Ege, M.J., Melanie Mayer, M., Normand, A.C., . . . Mutius, E. (2011) Exposure to Environmental Microorganisms and Childhood Asthma. The New England Journal of Medicine 364. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1007302
5. Campbell, S. C., Wisniewski, P. J., Noji, M., Mcguinness, L. R., Häggblom, M. M., Lightfoot, S. A., . . . Kerkhof, L. J. (2016). The Effect of Diet and Exercise on Intestinal Integrity and Microbial Diversity in Mice. PLOS ONE, 11(3).