Chances are you’re home right now, hiding out from a somewhat nasty virus. And you might be feeling stressed and anxious, with a big side of cabin fever. So as we all settle into this ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable, we invite you to embrace this compilation of 12 simple tips and reminders to help you practise much needed self-care, and look after yourself during self-quarantine.
If you’re staying home, then be home. Danes use a sense of hygge to get through long, dark, boring Scandinavian winters. Hygge is the warm, contented feeling you get from celebrating simple moments, like sipping hot chocolate from your favourite mug, wearing comfy clothes, or lighting candles as you draw the curtains.
Focus on activities that make you feel good. Be silly, dance, paint, get super competitive with Scrabble or hula hoop in your driveway. Hang out with your pets, who are probably wondering how they got so lucky with all this sudden attention. The one thing most of us have more of at the moment is time – so use it.
Contact and connection are really important right now. Even while you’re physically separated from whanau (family) and friends, it’s so easy in 2020 to connect in other ways. Technology makes so much connection possible, with apps like Facetime, Whatsapp, Zoom and House Party keeping people close while we’re apart. And if you know of someone who’s feeling isolated, get in touch – it’ll make both of you feel good.
As we struggle with uncertainty, reframing our thoughts can help. Practise gratitude, and look for a bright side. Maybe for you it’s having more time to spend with family or in the garden, or a chance to learn another language (hello Duolingo). Or it could be reminding yourself that nature can regenerate when we give her a breather. And remember, this too shall pass.
Dust off the old treadmill or stationary bike, and get your heartrate up. Around 30 minutes a day is plenty, and feel free to break it into chunks. So many gyms and dance studios are offering free online workouts right now – with loads of ways to get the sweat and endorphins flowing. Exercising outside is great for topping up Vitamin D levels, raising your spirits and reducing stress.
Working out the kinks in your body is a great way to get out of your head, as you listen to what your muscles are telling you. If you’re stuck by yourself, even if you’re confined to one room of your house, you may still be able to do some meditation, yoga or even some basic physical activity while watching an exercise video.
There’s more to staying in than simply binge-watching box sets. Make the most of all that extra time inside to indulge in a spot of home spa R&R. You don’t even need pricey potions. Try these lovely treats and treatments – using ingredients readily available in your pantry or bathroom cabinet, and boosted by the amazing properties of Mānuka honey.
Baking can be a fun thing to do with kids or flatmates, or a meditative activity to do on your own. Plus it fills the house with warmth and delicious smells, and makes you more self-sufficient in the sweet treats department. Here are a few delicious Mānuka honey baking recipes to restock your lock-in pantry.
Cut yourself a little slack and take it easy. It’s important to get plenty of rest, as it supports immunity and will help you deal with stress. Sticking to the same wake and sleep times can help you feel ‘normal’. And if you need an afternoon nap? Lie down for 20-30 minutes. Don’t forget to set an alarm – otherwise you might stay asleep, and have problems sleeping through the night.
Take extra care of yourself by limiting the time you spend watching the news or looking at social media. It can make you more anxious. Instead, listen to nature. Welcome birdsong where last week there was traffic or construction noise. And don’t forget to get out in the sunshine and fresh air when you can.
Meditation and mindfulness are powerful tools to fight anxiety. Dedicate a few minutes (which on a normal morning you’d be spending on a bumper-to-bumper motorway) to simply sit quietly and focus on your breath. If you’d like help getting started, apps like Headspace, Calm or Insight Timer have plenty of exercises and tips.
Watch favourite old comedies, check out the line-up of stand-up comedians on Netflix, or step away from that screen and read an amusing autobiography. We recommend Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy, or Funny, you don’t look Autistic, by Michael McCreary. Or phone a friend who makes you chortle.
How are you looking after yourself, honey lover? Perhaps for you, self-care means stocking up on healthy snacks, working through the stack of novels on your nightstand, or slipping into a warm bath at the end of the day. We’d love to hear from you