With so much going on in the world lately, it can be hard to keep your head on straight. If you’re like most of us, you’re now juggling working remotely, a parental grounding from the federal government, and — if you have kids — a sudden promotion to principal of your children’s homeschool class.
When nothing is normal and everything feels chaotic, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself.
These are our best tips on how you can do that.
Foster Good Physical Health
Nourish Your Body
I know, I know… eating chocolate chip cookie dough straight from the package while having an 8-hour movie marathon sounds really good right now. Unfortunately, refined sugars and lounging on the couch for long periods of time doesn’t do anything good for our bodies.
Shifting your focus to nourishing your body can help you experience increased energy, clear thinking, improved mental health, and healthier body function. A well-nourished body can handle stress better! And that’s something we could all benefit from right about now.
If you’d rather hop on the struggle bus than brainstorm healthy habits, check out the list of ideas below to get you started on having a healthy day, every day:
- Stretch for 15 minutes
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of water
- Fill your plate with fruits, veggies, and healthy protein
- Move your body for 30 minutes — take a jog, do a home circuit, follow an online yoga video, or just go for a walk
So while you may be tempted to crush an entire bag of Doritos, consider what nutrients you’re feeding your body and how you’re “feeding your cells.” Making small changes to nourish your body will make you healthier during this season, and it’ll pay off in the long run (but don’t forget to enjoy a cookie, too — we all deserve a treat every now and then!).
Get Enough Sleep
With a 24-hour news cycle, a work to-do list left unfinished, and anxious feelings, it can be tough to get enough sleep each night. Lifestyle changes can greatly affect the amount of sleep you get, and the general 7-9 hours of sleep recommendation for adults can feel out of reach.
If you’re struggling to get enough sleep right now, here are some small changes you can make to improve your sleep hygiene and help you function properly:
- Sleep in a cool, dark room
- Charge your phone in another space
- Limit your caffeine intake later in the day
- Set a nighttime routine to prep yourself for bedtime
- Try to stick to a consistent sleep and wake schedule
Choose one to two changes to implement today and see how your sleep improves!
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Getting outdoors can dramatically influence your overall well-being. Taking a break can provide the mental reset necessary to de-stress, craft new creative ideas, feel less antsy, and solve problems that previously left you stumped.
Outside of the mental benefits, fresh air and a walk include the physical benefits of a clearer mind, a healthier immune system from vitamin D exposure, and decreased muscle aches from sitting.
So today, step away from your laptop, lace up your sneakers, and take a walk around your neighborhood. If you have kids, get the whole family involved in your walk, take a bike ride together, create an outdoor scavenger hunt, or turn your sidewalk into an art gallery! The whole family can benefit from the fresh air time outside. Everyone will feel so much better afterward.
Enhance Your Mindset
Establish a Routine
Sleeping in, taking naps in the middle of the day, and working late on the couch in sweats may seem fun for a while, but it doesn’t help you retain a sense of normalcy at all. Routine can be an anchor and a comfort, especially when it feels like you don’t know what day it is anymore.
Blurtitout.org notes, “The certainty of our routine can help us to manage the uncertainty that life can throw up. Coping with unpredictable periods of time can feel more doable when we have a little structure in place to look to.”
Organizing your daily schedule lets you prioritize your tasks and build time in for the things that are important to you, including the time to connect with loved ones and moments to de-stress. This, in turn, should help you feel a little happier and healthier during this difficult time.
When establishing your routine, consider how you can create normalcy for yourself. Routines won’t look the same for every person, but some ideas could include:
- Exercising in a set room at a set time
- Getting dressed like you would to go to the office
- Reading in your favorite chair at the end of the day
- Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day
- Listening to your “Work Mode” playlist while you crank out projects
Practice Daily Gratitude
Cultivating more gratitude in life has been shown to provide many benefits, from a happier mindset and more optimism to stronger emotional connections and stronger immune systems.
Even if you’re struggling to find reasons to be grateful right now, you can cultivate gratitude by paying attention to even the small good things that happen throughout your day. It may sound silly, but being thankful for the chocolate treat in the pantry, a moment of peace between your kids, or great weather can help you turn your mindset in a positive direction.
Try keeping a gratitude journal or a note on your phone to list these small things that you notice, and over time, you’ll have a long list of good things and a more optimistic outlook!
Limit Screen Time & News Outlets
We’re blessed to have a wealth of information and mediums for connection via our phones and TVs, but too much screen time can cause us to feel overwhelmed. The stream of constant bad news can feel relentless and leave us worse off mentally than before we checked in.
In order to balance staying in-the-know and supporting your mental health, try these tips:
- Take a social media break (hard, but doable)
- Follow accounts on social media or news that highlights the good stuff
- Set app limits or parental restrictions on your phone to keep bad news at bay
- Check trusted sources of information at specific times and limit those time windows
- Start group text messages so you can connect with loved ones outside of social media
Writing in a journal can be an amazing tool for your mental health, as it gives you a safe space to process your thoughts and feelings. Before you conjure up pictures of a rainbow unicorn Lisa Frank diary and say “journaling isn’t for me,” consider how you can increase your overall wellness through journaling (p.s. It’s also a lot more fun than including more spinach in your diet).
Making the time to write down your thoughts and process your feelings in a journal can help you navigate the season you’re experiencing in a healthy way by:
- Reducing stress
- Naming your emotions
- Releasing heavy feelings
- Acknowledging how you feel, and being okay with it (You are human, after all!)
If you want to try journaling for yourself, check out this resource for writing prompts. If you’re a parent and want to get your kids involved in journaling time, which could be great for everyone, this is another great resource with writing prompts for all ages.
Refresh Your Soul
Stay Connected to Others
We were designed to be in community with others. If you’re struggling with lack of connection, you’re not alone. That’s why it’s more important now than ever to stay connected to others.
By staying connected, we can stay grounded and face this together.
At the same time, we are also reminded that we’re not going through this alone, and that we have each other to lean on.
Family is a core value for us at DE, and we’ve been working to foster connection and community during this time. We stay connected through Slack chats, video chat lunch breaks, and regularly sharing photos of our families and pets.
If you feel at a loss for ideas on how to connect with others during this time, here are some ideas:
- Video calls to catch up
- Creating playlists for others
- Virtual game night or book club
- Drop off a treat on a friends doorstep
- Send a handwritten note (Who doesn’t love snail mail?)
- Send an encouraging text to let someone know you’re thinking of them
We’re All in This Together
No matter what this season looks like, strive to give yourself — and everyone you interact with, from your kids to your boss — grace. We’re all treading unfamiliar territory and doing our best.
It’s okay if you didn’t complete your workout, declutter every closet, complete your to-do list at work, and homeschool your kids to perfection.
Take a deep breath, keep doing your best, and dish heaping levels of grace and compassion on yourself and everyone you engage with.
You can do this!
And remember: You are not alone — we’re all in this together!
What is working for you in this season? Share your tips with us! We’d love to hear from you.