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It has been a long year for all of us and maybe you are starting to feel isolated or depressed.  It seems to be a very common feeling right now during this Covid pandemic. Humans are social creatures; we aren’t meant to be alone.  But during these unprecedented times it is more important than ever that we take care of ourselves.  I have compiled the following list of some ways to take care of yourself and try to stay a little happier during quarantine.

 

  1. Be Kind to Yourself

These are hard times the likes of which we have never seen.  Make sure to give yourself permission not to handle it well all the time.  If you sleep in until noon, or let your kids be on their tablets for too long, don’t beat yourself up.  Gentle self-talk is critical to our mental well-being.  Make sure the voice in your head sounds like how you would talk to a friend. If you feel like you could use the help of a professional, there are virtual and telehealth sessions being offered so don’t hesitate to seek help just because you might not be able to do a face-to-face session.

 

  1. Stay Social

Since we can’t exactly stay social in the traditional sense we are used to, it is all the more important that we stay connected with friends and family at this time. Make sure to call and text friends often.  We are all struggling to deal with quarantine in our own ways, and a kind word from a friend is always a nice treat. Especially important is to note the difference between staying connected socially and spending all your time on social media.  Social media can be a great way to stay up to date with what is going on with your friends and family, however, it can also be a sinkhole.  There is a great deal of negativity that is spread on social media.  It can also make us feel like everyone else has it all together.  Behind those perfectly staged pictures posted on a social media account is a whole lot of issues people don’t want you to see.  So just keep things in perspective. This brings me to my next point.

 

  1. Have an Attitude of Gratitude

So your life is a hot mess, I get it, mine too!  But the important thing to remember is we always have something to be grateful for. Do you ever see some people who seem like they have nothing going right for them, yet they are still so positive?  It’s because they are able to have a positive attitude and be grateful for what they have rather than be spiteful about what they do not. Maybe your oven broke, your hot water tank started leaking yesterday and your dog died.  Yes, you’re not going to be shouting joy from the rooftops, but you can be thankful you still have a roof over your head and you still have healthy children. I have a rock in my bathroom that I wrote the word “Gratitude” on.  I look at it every morning while I’m getting ready and it reminds me to think about something I am grateful for that day.

 

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Our bodies thrive because we can refresh during sleep. Getting restful sleep is super important.  If you have a hard time falling asleep because you have racing thoughts, try reading a book in bed until you get tired. If you can get wrapped up in a story it can help you forget about your own. If you get anxious because you’re thinking of all the things you need to get done, keep a note pad by your bed to write them down.  Once you have them written down then you can focus on getting some sleep without the fear that you are going to forget what you were thinking about.

 

  1. Drink Plenty of Water

This is probably a given, but if your body is preforming at optimum levels you will feel better. Water helps digestion, prevents constipation, helps keep blood pressure regulated, helps your heart, and flushes bacteria from your urinary tract. Water can even help when you are trying to lose weight. Our bodies need between 92-124 ounces of water per day, so drink up!

 

  1. Eat Healthy Foods

I am so guilty of eating for pleasure rather than eating for health, so I won’t harp on this one too much. (That would be a pot and kettle situation.) But it is a good idea to eat healthy foods with lots of nutrients.  Eating clean does make your body feel good, but chocolate sure does feel good when you’re eating it! Ok next topic…

 

  1. Spend Time with Your Family

Family game nights always produce lots of laughs in this household!  If your family is a little too competitive, and game nights go south quickly, try doing a puzzle together, movie night, or having a dance party.  Forget about the 17 baskets of laundry for the day and go for a hike with your spouse, or a bike ride with your kids.  The laundry will still be there when you get back, but at least you might be in a better mood when you do it.

 

  1. Spend Time with Your Pets

Snuggling up to Fido or a soft furry kitty can be rewarding for not just them, but also you! When you spend this time with your pet it actually releases a feel-good hormone called Oxytocin for you and them! It makes your bond grow stronger and it also makes you both happier!  Win win!

 

  1. Get Creative

Whether you are coloring a picture or sewing, doing something creative can be very rewarding.  Not only do you have fun doing it, but often times you are left with an awesome new creation to be proud of! There are so many kinds of crafting out there to try: sewing, needle point, felting, quilling, quilting, knitting, crochet, wood burning, wood crafting, sign making, painting, photography, resin art, acrylic pours, glue art, origami, pottery, string art, rock painting and so many more!

 

  1. Exercise

Now there are more ways than ever to get active!  There are plenty of online options whether you are doing an online subscription-based service, or just searching for work out videos on YouTube. There are online fitness challenges you can find as well. If it’s nice outside you get the bonus of being outdoors!

 

  1. Do Things Outside

We are getting closer to Spring and I know all of us Northerners are looking forward to being able to get outside to do something other than shoveling snow! If you want to plant a garden in your backyard this spring, now is actually the time to start plants indoors under a florescent light.  Then by the time it’s time to plant outdoors you will have a head start on some of your plants.  It’s really not as hard to do as you might think.  They have very easy seed starting kits that come with a light and a watering mat, so you don’t even have to water them daily! Gardening has always been a passion of mine, and even the weeding is cathartic. If you don’t have much of a green thumb, you can always get on the move and roller blade or bike outside! If none of that sounds appealing, maybe just have a picnic.  You don’t need to have some crazy destination, you can always picnic in your own backyard!

 

  1. Experiment with Cooking

Another rewarding thing to try is new ways of cooking. Watching YouTube videos can actually make learning how to cook new things super easy.  There are so many recipes to try and so little time!  You can also check out Pinterest for great recipes.

 

  1. Meditate

This can be a bit tricky and harder to master, but luckily even practicing the art of meditation can help calm you.  There are so many books that you can read to learn how to meditate.  There are so many different styles.  I won’t go into specifics here, but I will say even 5 minutes a day of trying to clear your mind can have benefits. Yoga is another great thing to try as well.

 

  1. Learn a New Language or Instrument

I took Spanish classes in high school, but only retained a few words.  That’s why I decided to try Duo Lingo, an app that helps you learn a language. I think it’s really fun, and it feels a lot more productive for my life and my brain than mindlessly scrolling on Facebook. It is also a good time to try to learn a new instrument since we won’t be going out on the town as much as we used to.

 

  1. Journal

Journaling can be an amazingly effective way to release your feelings.  These are really stressful times we are living in, and sometimes you just need an outlet destress.  If you don’t care for writing you can always draw. Art can be a great way to release frustrations as well. My daughter loves to draw in her journal daily.

 

  1. Watch Funny Animal Videos Online

I know there is a lot of junk on the internet that can be more stressful that not, but funny animal videos always cheer me up! I have had laugh out loud, crying on the floor moments from some of these videos. So enjoy a guilty pleasure and eat up the memes and humor of the internet!

 

  1. Clean and Organize

I put this one as close to the end as I could because I know cleaning doesn’t sound like much fun to most people!  Some people love to clean and organize, and it can actually help to provide us with a less stressful environment.  Just being in a clean, de-cluttered space can make us feel much more at peace.  Also checking those things off your to-do list is going to feel really great once they are accomplished!

 

  1. Sing and Listen to Music

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE music.  When I want to get in a good mood, I can put on some upbeat music and it always brings my spirits up.  Conversely, if I’m feeling sad and I just want to have a good cry, I can listen to some sad songs and just wallow in my misery for a little while.  It can help to have a nice cathartic cry sometimes.

 

I hope that in some little way I have been able to help you to find a way though this pandemic. Hopefully there was something here that you hadn’t thought of, or maybe just needed a reminder to reconsider.  I feel like if we can fill this world with more love, togetherness and unity, we will all benefit.  It all starts with self-love.  If you can love yourself and be kind to yourself, then you will have an easier time being kind to those around you. If you have any other great ideas of how you handle life during the pandemic, I’d love to see them in the comments below!

 

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