Self-care is more than just long baths and eating chocolate. It’s an important part of maintaining good mental health, especially when things are tough. Here are some ideas on how to take care of yourself when going out isn’t an option.
Please keep in mind that we are not doctors or medical professionals, and we always highly recommend speaking to your own doctor prior to starting or taking any supplements or making lifestyle changes. NOTHING in this article is medical advice and should not be taken as such. These are simply general concepts, not prescriptive information or health advice. We cannot emphasize this enough! Proceed at your own risk.
Stick With Your Current Health Routine (As Much As Possible)
When times are difficult, it’s important to not let your usual health routine go. This includes staying on your current medication and supplement schedule unless told otherwise by a medical professional. Try to keep your regular bedtime (as well as your family’s) and don’t let yourself sleep in every day.
Exercising regularly can be difficult when you’re feeling isolated, depressed, or fatigued, but trying to keep an exercise routine is great for both your body and for your mind. Other than keeping your body healthy, exercise helps give you energy, promotes good sleep, and improves mood, along with other great benefits. (In the wise words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.”)
We absolutely love the app Bloom. With readily available digital cognitive behavioral therapy, tools for practicing gratitude and mindfulness, and ways to ease stress and anxiety, it is an amazing tool for taking care of your mental health, especially when you are unable to use traditional therapy.
Meditating can help calm an overactive mind and get focused on the present. We particularly love the apps Calm and Headspace for guided meditation.
Practice Healthy Distraction
Distracting yourself from the real world and whatever you may be going through is okay, so long as you’re doing it healthfully. While numbing yourself with substances works temporarily, it can eventually end up being detrimental, so if you partake, it should be in moderation.
However, taking time to craft, binge-watch, and find ways to escape the world is totally fine and can be super helpful. Shows that are fun and engrossing are great for leaving behind reality, especially if you’re laughing. (Think Schitt’s Creek, The Good Place, and Parks and Recreation). If suspenseful shows are more your speed, check out Ozark, Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, or Killing Eve. (Just make sure to check in with yourself to make sure you are not overwhelmed with anxiety or negative emotions that transfer over into your life!) Games like The Sims can also be super fun and relaxing. (As of this writing, it’s on sale for just over $6!)
Crafting, if you’re into it, can be a way to focus your mind on a project, and you get something gorgeous when you finish! If you like embroidery or cross stitch, I recommend Sublime Stitching for modern and adorable projects and Subversive Cross Stitch for more PG-13 crafting (might help you get out some of those negative feelings, too!). Check out Etsy for even more projects that support small businesses and side hustles. There are tons of different craft kits that you can also find on Etsy to make whatever your crafty heart desires.
Detox From Devices
So, yes, distracting yourself using your phone, TV, or computer can be great, but it’s also important that you take some time away from devices. Just turning your phone to silent or putting in the other room for an hour or so can help decrease anxiety and stress.
Consider turning off any breaking news alert notifications and dedicating only a couple specific times a day to checking the news. Right before bed probably isn’t conducive to getting a good night’s sleep, but a couple hours before probably isn’t too bad.
Build A Support System
It’s important to have friends, family, and even medical professionals you can rely on. Try to find at least three people you can reach out to if you are struggling or just need to vent (that way you have back-up if one person isn’t available). If you have a therapist, see if they offer phone or video sessions if you aren’t able to go to them.
Take Care of Your Immune System
Even if you’re not leaving your house, you still want to take good care of your immune system. Be sure to keep a healthy diet and exercise. Take probiotics and supplements such as vitamin C and D, elderberry, and others. Drink in moderation, and if you smoke, seriously consider quitting. Keeping good care of your body is a great way to take care of your mind, too.
Eat The Chocolate & Take The Baths!
Don’t minimize the benefits of treating your senses and your body. Enjoying a delicious Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or paleo brownies (mmm…), spending as long as possible in a warm with bath with a book, or treating yourself to a new article of clothing may be cliché in the self-care world, but they can really help. While they’re not the only things you want to do to take care of yourself, taking a moment to relax and treat yourself can be really beneficial.