By Avery Serven
Over the past month, social distancing and working from home have become the norm across the country. In times like these, it’s normal for everyone to have a lot on their mind. Therefore, practicing self-care at home is essential. And no, this doesn’t mean just taking a bubble bath every now and then; it’s about actively practicing self-care. Staying home all day can take a toll on your mental health, but there are a few things you can do to put yourself first. Here are some of my best tips for actively practicing self-care at home!
1- Keep doing the things you love
When we have unprecedented times like these, it’s easy to keep your activities to the bare minimum, whether they involve doing schoolwork or working from home. Remember to continue doing the things that you are passionate about (as long as they don’t put you or anyone else in harm’s way). This can be anything from running to gardening to doing yoga. And it doesn’t always have to be something that is physically active––it can also mean watching a favorite childhood movie, reading a new book, or listening to an interesting podcast. You can also take the opportunity to try something new! Whatever it is, make sure you keep it up so that you’re continuing to make time for yourself outside of work or school. Even just ten minutes a day of an activity will serve as a much-needed break from your regular routine.
2- Take time to relieve stress and anxiety
Since everything has shifted online, it may be a hard adjustment to not have in-person mental health resources. Luckily, there are a ton of apps out there that are really great for helping with meditation and mental health. One of my favorites is Stop, Breathe & Think. This meditation app is personalized, greeting you with a check-in page upon opening the app. It asks how you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally, and then recommends meditations for you. Most of the meditations are under ten minutes, so they’re easy to squeeze into your day. Headspace is another great one that can serve as a relaxing escape from your daily routine. The app has group meditations, as well as exercise-focused meditations to get you moving in a mindful way. Similar to Breathe, there are a ton of different topics on Headspace, so you’re sure to find something you’re interested in.
3- Get outside (while practicing social distancing)
Obviously, social distancing is very important to remember. However, since it’s springtime and many places are closed, you might use this as an opportunity to go for a hike or a walk. I’ve already explored some new areas around my house, and I’m so glad I did. Spending alone time in nature can have many unintended benefits. Whenever I spend time outside, I find that I’m usually able to clear my head of any anxiety and stress that I may be feeling. Just the other day I went for a run in a new area, and it was a great way to get out of the house and unplug. If you live in an area that allows you to explore the outdoors, I would definitely recommend taking the time to do so!
4- Try to stay active
As I mentioned before, your choice of activity doesn’t have to involve doing something physically active––but it also can’t hurt to keep up with exercising! Exercise is a great way to keep yourself busy while you’re at home, and you won’t regret it once you’re done 🙂 Since there are countless videos online that cater to any and all of your fitness needs, it’s easily accessible, especially if you don’t have equipment. Staying active and healthy is an essential part of self-care; luckily, it’s very accessible while staying home.
5- Maintain a routine
In addition to trying new things and taking breaks throughout your day, try to stick to some kind of daily routine. For me, keeping a routine is essential for maintaining my mental health, especially in a time like this. Maintaining a routine doesn’t necessarily mean doing the same exact thing every day, but rather trying to keep a few things in daily life constant. This can be something very small or something big. Personally, I have been trying to start my day the same every morning: waking up, making my bed, getting dressed, and making breakfast. While these things seem like a given, the consistency of having the same steps every morning helps to keep me on track. This way, I’ll have the same productive mindset that I had when I was back on campus. It doesn’t have to be big, but some version of a daily routine might be helpful!
I hope you found these tips for practicing self-care at home useful. In these unsteady times, remember to make time for your mental health. The most important thing right now is keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy and happy!