During this time when everyone is, hopefully, taking part in social distancing or self isolation, it can be a challenge to stay happy and healthy, both mentally and physically, without some consideration or important daily steps in place.
If you are struggling with being confined to your home, being away from other people or just getting your head around the current state of things, here are some useful things you might like to do to help boost your mood and help you feel better day-to-day.
I’m making use of a lot of these by scheduling them into my day, and it’s really helping to make each day a bit brighter. I hope you’re all doing well, being responsible and looking after yourself and your loved ones as best you can right now. We’ll get through this together!
Create a new morning routine
If you’re working from or isolating at home, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of waking up late, sitting in your pjs and just about remembering to brush your hair. It’s fun to do sometimes, but if this becomes your daily norm it’s likely to start dragging you down.
Start your day at a regular time, make sure you wash and get changed into an outfit (even if it’s a relaxed one!) and consider going for a quick walk to get some fresh air to get you ready for the day. This morning or pre-work routine will help you to feel like you’re starting your day off on the right foot and not just floating about between the hours.
Spend some time outside
Just because you’re self isolating or socially distancing yourself doesn’t mean you have to stay locked in doors. Of course, follow reputable guidance, be careful and keep 2 metres away from other people, but try and get outside if you can.
This could just be having a cup of coffee in your garden or going for a quick walk in your neighbourhood. Whatever you do, some fresh air and daylight will remind you that the world is still turning and the sun is still shining (hopefully).
Start on your TBR list
If you’re anything like me, you’ve had a pile of books sitting on a shelf somewhere just crying out to be read. Now is the time to get stuck into them! I just finished another bunch of books and it’s a great way to distract your mind whilst doing something fun at home. Which book will you pick up first?
Exercise at home
It’s so easy to workout at home nowadays thanks to all the free workout videos online. This is not only great for keeping your body moving (especially if you’re sitting down indoors a lot more now) but it’s amazing for your mental health.
If you feel yourself slipping into a slump, move your body. It’s a great way to release tension, refocus your mind and help you feel like you’ve achieved something good for you.
I highly recommend Fitness Blender. The duo have a wide range of workouts including cardio, HIIT, weights, body weight and stretching, and for lots of different levels. If you’d like to start with something a bit more gentle then Yoga with Adriene offers lots of different yoga sessions of various lengths, types and for different abilities.
If you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed or struggling to sleep (which is completely understandable at this time!), then meditation could be a good tool to help ease some of your stress and help you to refocus the mind. There’s plenty of great apps (I use Calm daily) or free meditation videos on YouTube.
Try doing a meditation when you wake up or before bed, and see how it helps you to feel a bit lighter throughout the day. It’ll help you to train your brain to come back to your breath whenever you’re feeling anxious or uneasy.
Schedule time on or off social media
A lot of time at home can potentially mean a lot of time spent scrolling on social media. Given how quickly things are changing, it can feel difficult to distance yourself from social websites but it’s important that you set limits on how often you access these platforms. The overwhelming amount of information online at the moment is not good for you in a constant stream.
Think about allowing yourself set periods of time to check social, such as 30 minutes in the morning and 30 mins in the evening, or considering taking the weekend off social altogether to let your mind have a break.
I recently took 48 hours completely off social media and it was so good to not have the incessant noise in my head. It’s helped me to cut the grasp of social media too as it was definitely making me feel worse day to day. Try to be more conscious about how and when you’re using social platforms.
Get involved with live streams
Lots of businesses are now making the most of the internet and streaming many of their services online. For example, I have seen local yoga studios doing live streams, book clubs such as Women’s Writes doing digital meet ups, music artists doing live sessions, and creatives doing online workspaces for other creatives to join in with.
Now is the time to hunt out some great online content, especially if it’s live and virtually ‘with’ people. It’ll help you feel more connected with people and with your usual hobbies. Whatever you’re interested in, see if there’s some live streams or online meet ups you can get involved with!
Keep in touch with family and friends
Make a point of staying connected with the people you love. Ask them how they are, chat about non-virus related things and prioritise your relationships in this new environment.
You can text, chat on the phone, FaceTime, Skype… whatever suits you! It’s a good idea to get some virtual face-to-face time with people or to hear their voices as texting can still feel quite distant and isolated. Why not schedule in a weekly catch up phone call or have Friday night drinks together on FaceTime?
Declutter your space
All this time at home gives a great excuse to tidy up your surroundings and do a deep de-cluttering. Not only is it a great way to feel more positive about your physical space but it’s a great way to keep busy if your mind starts running and to get rid of anything that’s not serving a purpose any more.
Personally, I can’t focus in a messy room so I’m keeping my house as tidy as possible for my own sake. Make sure you feel as comfortable as possible wherever you’re spending your time so it doesn’t take up your mental energy just to be there.
Notice the things you are grateful for daily
Each day, I am trying to really pay attention to things I am grateful for. Whether that’s the sun shining, a great cup of coffee, a delicious meal or a nice text from a friend.
When the space of your daily world has considerably shrunk, or things you were looking forward to are getting cancelled, life can feel a bit rubbish. It’s important to remind yourself that there’s something good to be found in each and every day. It can be in the tiniest of things – you just have to recognise it.
Start a new hobby or learn something
With your new free time, considering learning something new or taking up a new hobby you’ve wanted to try! For example, I’ve seen that some people have decided to try and learn a new language, others are giving poetry writing a go.
I’ve been working on new ideas for supporting important causes to me through writing on my blog and have also taught myself how to make a latte from scratch with no new equipment (very important given I’ll now be drinking all my coffees at home for the foreseeable).
They can be serious or silly, but it’s always fun to learn a new skill!
Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I drink water like it’s going out of style. But, I cannot stress how important it is that you make sure you’re drinking enough each day!
If you’re feeling groggy or foggy-headed throughout the day, pour yourself another glass of water. It’s important for your physical and mental health that you stay hydrated, which can be easy to forget if you’re a coffee drinker or just someone who forgets to drink enough anyway.
Keep a bottle by your side and keep hydrating!
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
Hopefully these ideas give you some practical tips to help make your day a bit easier, or a bit more interesting, but – as always – it’s so important that you don’t put too much pressure or high expectations on yourself to be achieving something every day.
It’s a strange time at the moment, and we don’t really know what’s going to happen in the coming months. If you can do anything today to make yourself feel a bit better or less stressed, then that’s all you need to do. You don’t have to be a productive powerhouse. You can just laze about and watch a movie if that’s what you need to do.
Be kind to yourself. Look after yourself. Look after the people you love. Be responsible. Keep your (physical) distance, but stay connected to the things and the people you love.
How are you coping at the moment? Let me know what you’re doing to help yourself feel positive day to day or what you’re going to try in this new ‘socially distant’ time. Let’s talk!