8 Ways to Help You Cope During Self-Isolation
What a world we live in these days. First and foremost, we hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. We are grateful and feel humbled by the fact that we personally still have our jobs, we still have access to healthy foods, we have our home, and we can work partially remotely. We know this isn’t the case for everyone and we send you our love. The word “unprecedented” has been thrown around so much it’s almost lost its meaning but it’s true. These times certainly feel “unprecedented” and we believe are revealing a lot about ourselves, our habits, our communities, and our society as a whole. You may have seen our first Pack Ponderings post where Rosalyn talked about the fact that the world is experiencing this all together in self-isolation and we are. The entire world is feeling the forced shifts and changes that COVID-19 has created and it’s important, now more than ever, that we come together to lift each other up. Follow up with friends and family, get creative with staying connected, and know that you’re not alone.
We wanted to share a few ways that have helped us cope during self-isolation and invite you to comment below on what you have been doing to help you get through.
I could go on and on for days about how meditation has changed my life (it’s Rosalyn – hi!) but I won’t bore you. Above all, meditation is a beautiful way to just take time for yourself. It gives you the chance to sit quietly and take note of how you’re really feeling, what you’re really thinking, and what you really want. I think that it’s easy to get swept into your daily routine (at least when things were normal) of getting up, going to work, eating, sleeping, repeating that we could go so long without actually checking in with ourselves. Right now, we’re given more time at home and possibly more time for ourselves. I encourage you to take some time each day, even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes, to sit down with yourself and meditate. If you’re new to meditation, you can download apps like Insight Timer or Headspace that have guided meditations, music, and tracks that help get you into a relaxed state. One of my favorite contributors on Insight Timer is Sonic Yogi – his music really helps me zen out. We also wrote a post explaining a breathing meditation for stress relief and better sleep that you can read here.
It can go hand in hand with meditation, but yoga is a great way to go within while giving your body some much appreciated activity. It can be as low intensity or high intensity as you like depending on which type you practice. If you’re looking for a more athletic type of yoga, I would suggest Vinyasa, but if you’re looking for more relaxed/lower impact I would suggest Yin or Restorative yoga. There are so many teachers on YouTube these days that you can freely access, but early into self-isolation I went ahead and got a subscription to Alo Moves. It’s been such a great way to practice yoga multiple times a week and try new styles. Many local studios have been offering classes through Zoom, too, so keep your eyes peeled and see if you can help support your local yogis!
Yoga is a great option for this but it’s not everyone’s favorite way to get active. However you prefer to get your body moving is great! Biking, walking, free weights – whatever you have access to that makes you happy and gets your heart rate elevated. There is so much research that shows an active lifestyle leads to a healthier life and we definitely stand by this.
Create New Morning Routines
Self-Isolation isn’t easy. For me, I’m a homebody and I love being in my own space, but I know self-isolation isn’t ideal for everyone. I know parents are struggling with kids who now have to be homeschooling, people who live alone are feeling even more isolated, and the elderly are trying to be self-sufficient while still being safe – I see you and I support you by sending you my love and positive vibes. This is a tricky time. I’ve found that one way to help keep me motivated and feeling productive is by creating new routines, especially in the morning. If you can give yourself something to do each day that makes you feel like you’re in control, even if it’s just in your own home, then you may start feeling a bit better during these crazy times. My morning routine is some version of get up, meditate, self-reiki, goal and intention writing, putting on real clothes (not all days because let’s be honest, athleisure is the best), eating a good breakfast, and making my favorite tea. I’ll also clean up our kitchen and living room and by getting everything in order I feel like I’ve been productive and can really start my day.
Cook Healthy Food
One benefit of more restaurants being closed is that you may have to call upon your own skills to get food on the table. That may be tricky if you’re not a natural cook, but it’s an awesome opportunity to try making new meals. Nick is definitely the natural cook out of the two of us and can make anything tasty, but overall, we’re always trying to make our meals as healthy as possible. For us that means low, to no sugar, low carbs, lots of veggies, healthy fats, and good quality proteins. When you have a healthy diet, you’re boosting your immunity as it is by eating nutritious foods; but, when you stay away from the foods that cause inflammation in your system, you’re helping your body out even more. Inflammation in your body is a signal that it needs to get to work healing any damage and fighting off any intruders. So, when your body is stable and is triggered by inflammation like a virus or disease, you have more energy to quickly and efficiently fight off whatever may have come along.
Get More Sleep
Are you working from home? Nice drive time to the office, huh? Or, maybe, unfortunately you’ve been furloughed. Whatever your situation may be, it seems like most of us have more time at home and that can mean more time with your head on the pillow. Getting the right amount of sleep can help you maintain a healthy weight, help your body regulate hormones, and clear out toxins. If you were living a pretty busy life pre COVID-19 you may have been getting less than 7 – 8.5 hours of sleep. This seems to be the sweet spot for your body to be able to get to work while you rest. So, take advantage of being home a little more and set that alarm a little later! You can also find out more about why sleep is so important in one of our previous posts here.
Soak in That Sunshine
Get outside! Go, I mean it! Get out there! Especially if you’re lucky enough to have a yard. Not only is being out in nature incredibly grounding and good for your mental health but soaking up that sunshine will increase your vitamin d levels and that is a wonderful thing! Although it’s only early testing, there are a few groups studying vitamin d levels and how they influence or impact the severity of COVID-19. From the early testing, it looks like higher vitamin d levels can lower the severity of COVID-19 should you get it. Be sure to contact your doctor and do your research as there is a healthy threshold of daily vitamin d intake. Nick and I each take a daily amount of vitamin d, even before COVID-19, as it has been studied to help calcium absorption for healthy bones, helps boost your immune system, lowers your chances of specifically getting respiratory illnesses, and even has been shown to help elevate overall mood.
Ease Off the Pressure
Lastly, and one of the most important things to take away from this post, is to stop pressuring yourself to be productive! Does this time bode well to learning new things and picking up old hobbies? Sure, but it’s also a time for resting and recharging. I’m sure you’ve been on social media and you’ve seen so many people posting about how they’ve done this and that to learn new skills or become better at certain things. That’s wonderful, but you don’t have to become the next Michelangelo to say you’ve come out of self-isolation successfully! This is a time to listen to you, what do you need? If you need some lazy days, take them! If you need to go a few days without cleaning, do it. No awards are being presented after this to the “Most Improved” or “Best Overall” when we come out on the other side. So, do whatever you need to do to put your mental health first – whether that includes being productive or not.
We really hope this post helps you cope during self-isolation even if it just shows you you aren’t alone during this time. Let us know in the comments if you’ve been doing anything we’ve suggested or if you have even more ideas to share.
Love and light always,
Rosalyn and Nick