We’re living through strange times, that’s for sure. Stuck at home for the foreseeable future with our first-world lives suddenly reduced to making sure our basic needs are met — and that we get through the next few weeks keeping both physically and mentally healthy.
But by regarding this time as a chance for a much-needed period of self-reflection and personal growth, it will go by a lot easier. You may even enjoy it, in a way.
If you’re not sure how you are going to cope with this new and unfamiliar reality — or are simply searching for inspiration on how to pass the time, then look no further. Here is a basic guide (from a self-confessed introvert and alone time enthusiast) to getting through quarantine and coming out on the other side not only feeling physically and emotionally healthy — but quite possibly even more so than you did before!
Selfish Darling’s 8 Best tips on Self-Care During Quarantine
1. Take it one day at a time
Right now, it’s hard to make any sort of plans for the upcoming months, weeks, or even days. Whether it’s travel plans you’re itching to make or simply a yearning to meet your friend for some old-fashioned face-to-face conversation— for now, we don’t know how long it will be before we can do these once-taken-for-granted things again.
So for the time being, accept the fact that this choice has been taken away, and take the rare chance to live in the moment focusing inwards. Many of us usually face so much choice each day that we feel paralyzed and overwhelmed with the modern fear of missing out — or “FOMO” — or the regret not doing as much as we feel should. Simply take solace in the fact that right now, you really aren’t missing out or expected to do anything other than stay at home and be patient.
Don’t fret about what you’ll do tomorrow, or the day after. Simply wake up each morning for a change (radical, I know) — the rest will follow.
2. Cherish your free time
You may not be able to go for a wander around the shops or meet someone in your favourite café, but apart from the obvious restrictions, you can essentially now be the architect of your own days. When you get up, whether or not you decide to get dressed or wear make-up, and your mealtimes — are now up to you.
These little freedoms may seem trivial, but one day, you’ll be back to hitting snooze for the third time before squeezing into a pencil skirt shortly followed by a packed tube or train — and you may even feel a little nostalgic for these hazy quarantine days filled with pyjamas, novels and copious cups of tea.
Make a list of the things you don’t usually have much time for — it could be working your way through your reading list, refining your cooking skills, making art, or learning a language. Whatever it may be that you’ve wanted to do for years but simply didn’t find the time — now’s your chance!
3. Keep a routine — but make it your own
That being said, when stuck at home with nowhere to go and your usual routine now redundant, the days can seem to curiously merge, making your reality even more warped and incoherent than the current baseline. You may enjoy living hour-to-hour on a whim for the first week or so, but this gets old very quickly.
As such, keeping even a loose daily schedule and maintaining some sort of routine can be a game-changer. You may want to make the most of being able to gift yourself an extra hour (or two) of precious sleep — as even if you’re working your usual hours, you can at least forgo your usual getting ready and commuting time — but you can still get up at a set time each day. You may enjoy being able to have breakfast or lunch whenever you please, but it may still be wise to keep somewhat regular mealtimes.
The same goes for bedtime, working time and downtime. Not only will you feel more at ease this way, but you will be more productive and find more pleasure in your allocated downtime.
4. Simple pleasures make the world go round
And make sure to incorporate plenty of simple pleasures into this routine. You may be more limited than usual right now when it comes to the ways you usually have fun. But all it takes is a little creativity to rethink how you can still enjoy your days. And even the simplest of pleasures can be transformative for your emotional wellbeing.
From a hot bath, a daily coffee by the window, taking the time to read or catch up on your favourite Netflix shows, or spending a few minutes to breathe outdoors (if done so responsibly). Punctuating your days with little lifts like these will keep your positivity going and remind you in the midst of all this madness that you are still human — and your human needs for rest and pleasure don’t stop just because it seems like most of the world has. This means balancing self-discipline with self-love.
5. Outdoor time — do the best you can!
Speaking of the spirit-lifting properties of daily time spent outdoors, fresh air — even just for a few minutes each day — can be transformative for your mental health and overall outlook. Granted, your options are limited right now. But for most of us, a quick walk or jog is still not only allowed, but encouraged in order to maintain health and wellbeing. Failing that, if you have a garden — however small — make an effort to show it some love each day, rain or shine.
And for those of you who live in an apartment or have no access to outdoor space right now, sitting by an open window is the next best thing. Take a few minutes each day to focus on nothing but whatever lies outdoors — even if all you can see is the pavement outside — it can give your eyes a much-needed break from your phone or PC screen, or pages of your book and encourage you to take your attention outside of your limited space for a while. Remind yourself that there is a whole world out there, and you will be able to enjoy it again soon —only with newfound gratitude and admiration!
6. Meditation — even if it’s “not your thing”
At times like this, meditation’s unique grounding and mind-stabilizing power is only multiplied. And now even those of us who are usually “too busy” for regular practice finally have that quiet time to unwind and focus on our most precious asset — our mind.
But if sitting in the lotus position is simply not you, then don’t rule out meditation altogether. Try out some of these alternative forms of mediation and explore the many ways you can look inwardly and find some tranquility and inner-strength during these unsettling times.
7. Social time — but adapted
Just because physical social interaction has been put on hold, doesn’t mean that all your social connections should! This opportunity for valuable alone time is all well and good, but we still need a good chat with those we love to feel complete.
We are lucky, at least, to be facing this unfortunate situation in the technological age where friends and family around the world are just a video call away. Whether or not you are self-isolating all by yourself, be sure to check in with loved ones outside of your current abode on a daily basis, so that you don’t go stir crazy and you can emotionally support each other.
You can even hold virtual gatherings or “parties” using multi-video call apps to continue the benefits of your regular girl-group catchups — keeping your mental health in check while maintaining some normality in an otherwise alien reality.
8. Self-love in the time of quarantine?
We are essentially all on an enforced detox right now from most of our usual external stimulation — office dramas, socializing, schmoozing, inner-city traffic, and all the commuting in between.
Now, I most certainly don’t wish to make light of the struggles that many are facing as a result of what’s been going on. But while our health workers and other public services work on overdrive right now and many of us are left feeling like spare parts sitting anxiously at our laptops at home, we must accept that this is the best we can do at this moment.
The key to getting through this situation on an individual level is focusing within, seeing the positive side of this experience, and reflecting on how you can learn and grow from it.
Just these few months of respite is not only a long-awaited pause our planet, but this complete upheaval of modern life is forcing us to adapt our behaviors and reevaluate our values. To prioritize health, wellbeing, and meaningful relationships above all else, and never take our daily duties for granted again.
How are you dealing with your new living circumstances? Let’s keep each other’s spirits up by sharing tips and tricks in the comments!
Stay well, darlings xx