Updated: Apr 27, 2020
The world is in a different state. One we never pictured and one that we sure as s* weren't fully prepared for.
Being home now more than ever can cause people to develop or fall into bad habits, depression, or lack of motivation.
We've created a list to get you out of the COVID slump, and into a state of productivity or even just peace. (We don't have to go for perfect here.)
1. Create a schedule. You might be feeling lost because the structure you once lived with has basically gone to the wayside. Whether or not you're employed, this can effect anyone that's now full-time working remotely or those that find themselves without a job for the first time in years. By creating a schedule you give your brain and body routine that can help keep you motivated to stay on task. You can keep it loose - or if you're more Type A, to the exact moment you want something done. An example of this:
7:00 am: wake up, brush teeth
7:15 am: walk the dog
7:30 am: shower
8:00 am: sit down for work
(and the list goes on..)
2. Speaking of tasks, create a task list. There is something so fundamentally fulfilling about crossing an item off of your list or checking a box once something is complete. It's also really helpful at the end of the day to look back at everything you've accomplished - in what often feels like an unproductive time. This will most likely correspond with the schedule you've created. It can go a little something like this:
walk the dog
meditate for 15 minutes
switch the laundry
do the dishes
(you get the picture, right?)
3. Meditate. For 10 minutes, 5 minutes, anything - at least once a day. We find this easiest in the mornings before email and the craziness of the day, but you'll figure out what works best for you. Find a second to just sit, breathe, and push all other thoughts aside. For the less than quiet mind, try using a free app like Insight Timer. They offer guided meditations and track how long and how often you're meditating. YouTube also offers some free guided meditations or music that help even the chronic over thinker. If you've always been meaning to get started with your practice, now couldn't be a better time.
4. Track your wellness. We've created a tracker available free for print here. By actually seeing for yourself how you're being accountable for self-cafe, it can help you keep with it. Our list includes daily gratitude, a hydration station, and logging your exercise routine.
5. Journal. There is something to be said about the catharsis that writing down your emotions can provide. During this time it's hard to know how you're feeling in your own body, let alone communicating it to someone else. By journaling your experiences and emotions, you can hone in on self-love and work through anxiety by letting go and releasing your thoughts that often times when kept to yourself, can lead to self-deprecating behavior or worse, depression. Set a goal for yourself. 3 pages a day, 10 things you're grateful for, or find a guided journal with pre-existing prompts. Habit Nest makes a few really good ones, including this one on mindfulness. Amazon is a great resource for guided journals, Here are a few of our favorites below.
6. Honor your feelings. Mad? Feel it. Sad? Cry it out. Happy? Dance in your living room. By allowing yourself to feel what it is coming through in the moment, you can truly work through the negative and stay present in the positive. Don't push your emotions aside and pretend everything is fine if it's not. It will be, but for now, you're processing emotions in the moment. There is nothing more powerful than being in the present.
7. Move your body. Try for 30 minutes a day. Try for 30 minutes every other day. Try getting up and filling your water bottle from the fridge every hour on the hour. Whatever it is to get you up and moving. Release endorphins, smell the outside air. Exercise has proven to have both physical and mental benefits, which is exactly what you need right now. There are so many free resources out there as well. YouTube has countless yoga and workout videos, Peloton's app is free for 90 days, and sites like Class Pass are all jumping at the chance to help you get up and get going.
8. Read. All those times you looked at a book on your shelf and thought, "One day.." Welp, now is that day. Want to know a trick? By setting a timer for 10 minutes and telling yourself that's all you'll have to read for, you will find that once you're in it you actually want to read past the allotted time. There are so many good titles, both fiction and non-fiction out there that are calling your name. Sure you can distract from the craziness in the world with Netflix, but the ultimate gift for yourself right now is a literary getaway. Besides, it's only 10 minutes right? *wink* and hey, if it's not, then you just read for 10 minutes more than you normally would have (and then it's back to Netflix). Congrats!
9. Call, text, or virtually hang with a friend(s). Being isolated for extremely long periods of time can take a toll on even the biggest of introverts. It's important right now to maintain our connections in a time where disconnect is reigning supreme. Check in with family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Plan a virtual happy hour or a Zoom game night. Sites like this one can be your game guide for online play.
10. Do something good for someone else. That elderly neighbor who's leaves are getting out of control? Go rake them (without asking). Someone's trash can fall over in a storm? Be that person who picks it up and puts it back where it goes, unprompted. The delivery driver who just dropped off your food? Tip them over the 20% rule. Your mailman? Drop a thank you card. This is a more than tough time where we as human beings have got to stick together. You'll find how amazing it feels even when you're down, how much it will lift you up by doing something nice for others. One small act of kindness can be huge in someone else's eyes. It seems like a pretty big win in our book (and something you can totally still do while socially distancing).
By building good habits you can take back control over your circumstances.
Bonus points? Try grouping a few of these steps together. I.e. wake up to meditate for 10 minutes, write in your journal, and read for 15 minutes. It's proven that by coupling habits together, you're more likely to see success. Atomic Habits is a great read if you find you're struggling to implement anything new.
Take care of yourself, take care of each other. We'll get through this, one day at a time.
What have you been doing this quarantine to stay in good spirits?