Weekdays feel like weekends as the days continue blend together in ways that make it hard to distinguish one day from the next.
Now that we are a month, or more, into this experience, I decided to write a post dedicated to tips to help navigate what can turn out to be many more months of social distancing or self-quarantine, in a healthy way.
1. Sleep in when you need to, but make it a treat.
When I was a kid my mother never let me sleep in, except for when I was sick. On the days when I was sick I still had to get up by 9am. As an adult, I make it a point to wake up at the same time each day because as we get older, it is important to maintain the same sleep schedule for your rest and health.
In my previous career, I worked between 40 – 60 hours a week. As much as I wanted to sleep in on the weekend, I always made it a point to only sleep in one day a week. While you have a whole day a head of you each day, even if we are working from home, or going to school from home etc. try your best to maintain a schedule, but allow yourself to adapt it and change it for you and your needs from day to day or week to week.
If you can’t sleep in for any reason, you can always take a 30 minute nap in the afternoon as a treat for yourself.
2. Take a shower each day.
Often when people are tired or sick they choose to sleep in and rest, versus get ready for the day. Again, as a kid, I was raised to take a shower once a day, even when I was sick. On days when I was sick, my mom told me, “take a shower it will make you feel better.” While I was cozy in my bed and didn’t want to move, I always noticed how a shower helped me feel better or get a bit more energy than I had.
From a wellness perspective, water is calming and it is also very grounding. If you want to add a visualization to your shower by imagining that you are be cleansed of worry, fear or doubt, or being showered with light, love and strength. Intentional, mindful imagery can help shift any mood or perspective.
3. Put on fresh clothes each day.
Try to change your clothes each day. It is important to wear clothes that is not your pajamas, but it doesn’t have to be business / work clothes. Wear clothes that you will be comfortable in, but make sure you are wearing clothes to distinguish sleep/ rest time from day time / work time.
4. Create a comfortable atmosphere.
Atmosphere is everything. How your room or office is laid out in terms of color, lighting and furniture placement has subtle effects on your level of energy or productivity. You do not need to go out and buy paint, linens or furniture. Any small adjustments you do to your space can have a big impact.
When I was a kid, I use to move my furniture around about once a year. Overtime I wanted to change things so I re-imagined the space with what was already in the room. (This helps you find things you forgot you had and see the beauty in some of the items you may not have appreciated.)
Change the lighting in your room. When I was a film student, I learned set lighting and loved it. Lighting has had a special place in my heart since that time. During the day, I recommend that you use natural light because there are many health benefits. If you are in a space with no windows, I recommend diffused lighting. Do your best to have light reflect off the wall or ceiling which softens the light and creates a calm atmosphere.
You don’t have to go out and buy new lights. You can get a dimmer or different colored light bulbs, (I recommend a blue because it is calming). You can use candles or christmas lights too.
The goal here is to have different levels of light that will allow you to change the light based on the time of day or mood.
Finally, you can use essential oil diffusers or incense too.
Play with it, be creative and most importantly do what works for you.
5. Break up your space.
When I loved in LA, I lived in a bedroom in a home, then two studio apartment and then my own apartment. The last two spaces were the because I learned how to break up my space. There were two projects that required me to work from home which made me look at my space with a different awareness. I would start the morning at my kitchen high top table that I used as a standing desk and than sit for mini breaks. I would sit on the couch to work sometime and transition to the floor other times. Try to see your space with new eyes, so you can engage with it in a way that supports being home all day. If you have a patio or yard of any kind, work outside for an hour. I have stated doing yoga outside and I enjoy it. Get creative.
6. Do something special for yourself.
Many of us are in full multi-generational house hold or living with a parter, roomate(s), kids etc. You may find that you are exerting more energy to manage the household by cleaning more or doing more laundry. Or maybe doing what you can to maintain balance in the home like balance between work and boredom, balance between personalities or living habits or balancing all emotions. This time is already challenging and the effort put into the home atmosphere can have a toll on everyone, so nurture yourself.
You don’t have to do anything extravagant. You could put on a face mask while you work. Read a chapter from a book or journal. Or give yourself a foot massage.
Remember the activity doesn’t need to be elaborate, it simply needs to be an activity that works for you.
This is similar to number five because pausing to stop and be, is a way to nurture or treat yourself. However, step five called for you to treat yourself while you are moving through your day. This step asks you to pause or like the game simon says, freeze.
As an introvert, I know the importance of “me” time so that I can rest and rejuvenate myself. As a yoga instructor and meditator, I know that time alone is good for your mind and emotions. In order for us to process anything, it can only be done when we pause to catch our breath.
In this specific case, you can go outside for 5 – 10 minutes, open a window or patio door. You can mediate or take a few deep belly breaths (three-part breath in the diaphragm). You can stop what you are doing and listen to one or two of your favorite songs. Or even do a dance break.
When I was on a low-budget indie movie, we were understaffed and there was a lot to do. As a boss I would stop what I was doing, blast one song on my laptop and we’d have a mini dance party while that one song played. Have fun with it!
8. Honor your thoughts or feelings.
What needs to be felt or expressed at this time? If you want to dodge your emotions, this is not the blog that you should be reading. I didn’t find my voice to turn around and give advice that causes harm overtime. When you acknowledge how you feel, and allow yourself to feel, you will feel better. If you don’t know how to allow your feeling to be, move your body through dance, yoga, Qi gong etc. If you don’t feel comfortable being vulnerable in this way, you can also start journaling to help you release what you feel on paper and build your capacity to be honest with yourself first.
As a wellness practitioner, I can not stress enough how healing and therapeutic this step is.
9. Fun Day!
Get back into what your mindset was like when you were a child. Plan a day of the week to be different from the rest, it can be something big or small. You can have a movie, a game, trivia or karaoke night. If you live alone, you can bake once a week, learn to sew, schedule a phone call with a friend or craft. Or, you can pick one day a week to dress up. Get dressed like you would when you are getting ready for a first date or getting ready for the first day of work or school. Or wear the colors of your favorite sports team.
The goal with this tip is to have something that you can look forward to, that creates a break in the week and builds anticipation.
Have fun and get curious about how your environment effects your mood. Incorporate one to two tips into a given week or try a different tip each week. Adapt any tip that works for you and discard what does not work for you. Not all these tips may work for you, but I hope they get your imagination going and help you think of ways to provide calm or fun in your day.
Let me know what tips worked for you and what tips did not work for you. Also, let me know any tips that I overlooked or did not include.
Have a great day!
Love – Stephanie XO