As I write this, I can't help but think about crazy it's going to be in a year (or two, or five) to look back at all the posts we're seeing pop up on blogs right now with tips on how to deal with the current health crisis and the fact that many of us are quarantining ourselves. I sit here wondering how we'll all be a little different after this time, and hope that these events will change us all for the better.
Many of you know that I've been on my own journey through self-work and a lot of it (in fact most of it) is all about self reflection. Time to sit in silence and meditate. Time for slowing down and taking better care of ourselves so that we can take better care of others. I feel like the past year of this type of work has been preparing me for this crazy situation in the best way possible. Of course, the fact that I've always been a bit of a homebody and an introvert at heart is certainly helpful. But in the past few months I've been working hard to create self care spaces in my home to support my new practices, and damn are they coming in handy now.
While I fully recognize that all of our situations are going to be different (some of you in a house packed with people, some alone in a small apartment), I'd like to encourage you to rethink your surroundings this week and see where it is that you might be able to carve out space to be alone for a half an hour, to meditate, to read, be creative, whatever it is you need right now to get your mind away from a state of anxiety - or even panic - and into a state of relaxation or productivity.
Spoiler alert: remember how I said I was working on a book last year? A large piece of it is surrounding this idea that your home is your haven. It's where you should be able to rest and recharge. To motivate and to meditate. And if your home isn't doing that for you - and you're noticing it now more than ever - I hope that these quick tips can help.
STEP ONE: Assess Your Space - and Yourself: If you've already jumped to the conclusion that you just don't have the space for any of this, then this step is especially essential for you. Time to rethink it all!! While this quarantine won't last forever, let's hope that some of the habits we create for ourselves do! So let's start by asking: What do you need right now? If that feels to broad, let's follow up with: What feels fun right now? What's something you love doing that you know helps you get out of your head and focus on the present moment? Is it cooking? Going through your skin routine? Reading? Painting? Maybe there's a skill you've been wanting to learn but haven't yet? This is what you're going to create space for.
Here are a few examples of things I've been making room for in my life:
- Cooking: I love being in the kitchen. I turn up some music, put down my phone, and am able to fully focus on what I'm doing. Trying a new recipe makes it even more of a focused activity, and we've certainly all got time for that now (if you can find the ingredients!!). You better believe I've been going through my pinterest sweet, savory and breakfast boards, plus my stack of cookbooks, for major inspiration.
- Exercise: I recently signed up for a membership on this site called Alo Moves that has everything from yoga and meditation to barre and core work. I like it because the workouts are more fluid and not so hard on my body. I've been suffering some back pain lately, and getting back into workouts like this has been wonderful. Another resource for free workouts that I love is PopSugar Fitness. There's a huge variety and they're so great! So having room to do my workouts is really essential.
- Meditation: Want to boost your immune system and your mental health at the same time? Start meditating. Like, now. If you feel like you're ready to test this out, I'd suggest an app like Insight Timer or Headspace to get you going. Luckily for all of us, a spot to meditate can be as simple as sitting on a few pillows in bed.
- Floral Arranging: All I can say, is thank God it's not February right now. The flowers are starting to arrive in abundance and floral arranging is one of my all-time favorite calming activities. I usually do it while I'm listening to a podcast, or more meditative music. Something soothing. Again, this is an activity you don't need much space to do! You can even forage for spring florals and greens from your neighborhood. It may be a few weeks before prime picking, but it's coming - and we'll need some things to look forward to! You can get plenty of tutorials online, too, but here are a few that we've published over the years.
- Learning Something New: I've already been putting this into practice lately, reading so many new books on topics that I've found intriguing, and it's been invigorating to activate this part of my brain again. Learning something new can can take so many forms. I recently started taking classes on Skillshare to brush up on some of my photography and editing skills. Education can also mean turning on nature shows with your kids, and encouraging them to find new topics of fascination. Best of all, this is a highly effective distraction from everything going on, and can create ongoing programming for you to dig into!
STEP TWO: Make Room (And Ask for Help!). Chances are that before you start creating the space for yourself, you may need to do some organizing and purging. No time like the present, guys!! Spring cleaning is upon us, and we're not going anywhere, so you might as well tackle those closets, trouble corners, pantries, heck the whole house!
Today I did a massive pantry wipe down and organization so I could better see the food that we have to sustain us for the next few weeks. It felt so good. If you need support in doing this, there are so many people out there to help, and this is a great opportunity to support a solopreneur. Here are a few favorites, and I encourage you to look for local businesses in your own community as well who are offering virtual consulting.
- For overall organization, my friend Claire at Get Claireified is literally one of my favorite people in this universe. She's positive, fun to be around and gets the job done!! She's helped me to go through piles that have been daunting to tackle, by guiding you in decisions and options for keeping or letting go of items. (If you want to see some of her work in action, my friend Joanna over at Jojotastic did a little post on working with her!) She will be offering virtual sessions to people during this crazy time and I can't recommend her enough!
- Ready for a wardrobe overhaul? My friend Tiffany Wendell has worked with clients near and far, so knows how to lend her expert eye from a distance. If you're ready to do a virtual closet walk-through, or some personal (online) shopping, she's your gal! I wrote a whole post on working with her here. She's a ball of sunshine and a welcome presence in times like these!
STEP THREE: Set Yourself Up for Success: What tools or type of space do you need to successfully make room for doing the thing that's going to feed your soul? If it's a luxurious nighttime skin routine, ask yourself: What kind of lighting is in your bathroom? Is it soothing? Do you have space on your dresser to create a little station for your creams and lotions? A favorite candle to light during this routine? Would you feel amazing doing this in a plush new bathrobe? You can treat yourself to all these little items while still being on a budget, by the way!
What about a space for creativity? What does that look like? An easel for painting, or a few notebooks for watercolors? A restock of random craft supplies?
Maybe it's as simple as designating a corner of your home for quiet. Do you have a favorite chair that you can stock with new books, or a journal? Can you use it to quietly meditate in?
This step is all about making a list of items that you need to not only create the space itself, but set the tone. I also think this is the step when a reality check can settle in: Do you have the space for this? The budget? If not, how can you get creative with both of these areas? If you've got kids at home, how can you make room for this self-care time in your new routine?
STEP FOUR: Integrate and Motivate! At this point, you've ordered all the things and are ready to decorate, refresh, or simply create intention around your self-care space. Yay! This is gonna be great. If you've done all the work up front, this part should be easy. Now, comes the accountability. Shiny new things are exciting at first, but will you stick with this? How about creating a little virtual club to keep each other accountable!?
If cooking is your new thing, sharing recipes online or creating a weekly cooking club with real-life or virtual friends could be fun! What about a weekly flower-foraging walk with neighbors or your kiddos? Many meditation apps help you log your progress, but maybe doing it with your partner as a part of your morning or evening routine will get you fully on board. (PS, there's meditations for kids too!).
Of course, if your new self-care includes having a glass of wine in the bath, or other more indulgent (and just as important!) moments, I doubt you'll need the motivation! To that point - balancing your self care with time intended just for you (with no pressures or 'deliverables') alongside time you virtually or personally share with others could be just as important during this moment, depending on your level of isolation. Know what feels good to you.
As for the decorating part, if you're stuck or struggling... call on your friendly neighborhood decorator (that's me!) to help out! Remember, we're all in this together now... and we're not going anywhere.