Listen: we’re living in some weird times. And for most people in my generation (late-Millennial/early-Gen Z), this is the craziest, most life-changing event we’ve yet to experience. Some of us are still working full-time (I’m grateful to be among that group), others are unemployed for the first time ever and still others are in limbo (looking at you, college students and recent grads).
That said, I think it is more important than ever to take care of ourselves. For some, that means relaxing as much as possible, binging Netflix, eating all the yummy food, etc. For others, it means focusing on goals like eating better, exercising more, working on a side hustle, etc. Both of those approaches are totally valid and acceptable! However, I’ve found that practicing the latter (with a healthy dose of binge-watching TV and being lazy sprinkled in) has greatly improved my mood. So, I thought I’d share the steps I’ve been taking to practice self-care during lockdown - and what I’ll continue to practice when we return to our new normal.
Eating a Healthy (for Me) Diet
Some of you may know that I’m a big believer in the ketogenic diet. I am not a healthcare practitioner and everyone has different body chemistry, but for me, a keto lifestyle helps a ton. I‘ve seen and felt improvement in my skin, mood, energy levels and symptoms of my autoimmune disorder when I stick to this way of eating. I’m definitely not saying that the keto diet will work for everyone, but having found a way of eating that works for me has noticeably helped me feel better during lockdown.
Not going to lie; it’s difficult to stick to a specific way of eating when my pantry full of delicious junk food is a mere 30 seconds away at all times. But in my case, the long term benefits of a healthy diet far outweigh the short term delight of that box of mac and cheese in my pantry. I’m definitely going to practice this form of self-care after lockdown is over (and I know it will be much easier when I’m back in my office without easy access to snacks!).
Getting Enough Sleep
I think everyone knows that sleep is super important, but I’ve been taking extra care to get in a full 8-9 hours every night. Admittedly, it’s a lot easier to do when I don’t have a commute and can sleep in for an extra hour.
I know it will be more difficult to get enough sleep when I go back to work. Having less time in the evening to get stuff done at home and a 30-minute commute in the morning means I’ll want to squeeze all that I can out of my time awake. However, this is another practice that I hope to implement long term. I know I feel better and am more productive throughout the day when I’ve gotten enough Zs, so while it will be more difficult to practice after lockdown, I’m excited to challenge myself to get enough rest.
Taking Care of My Skin
I think of this as a more traditional form of self-care; think face masks, bubble baths and a solid skincare routine. But I’ve found it particularly helpful during lockdown for two reasons. First and maybe most importantly, it helps my anxiety to have a routine that I can start and end my day with. Second, and more vainly, consistently taking care of my skin during lockdown has helped to quell my stress-induced breakouts.
I’ve always been fairly consistent with following a skincare routine, but like anyone, occasionally I forget to take off my makeup after a night out or am simply too tired to deal with a multi-step routine. But I definitely want to keep up with a routine moving forward, especially since I have a wedding to look forward to next year (and great skin starts now!).
Setting Attainable Goals
Since I've had a bit more time at home during lockdown, I've taken the opportunity to set reasonable, attainable goals. These range from producing a certain amount of content for the blog or Instagram, to keeping my room clean, to going for a walk every day. I don't know what it is, but there's something about checking an item off my list of goals that has been great for my mental health. I hope to continue some form of this practice when my schedule goes back to normal!
Growing up, I was a voracious reader. Since entering the real world, I don't think I've read more than one or two books. So I decided I was going to read at least a few pages every day before bed. I almost feel like I'm a kid again, getting in my nightly required reading time! It's been so nice spending even a few minutes a day immersed in another world (one that doesn't exist on my TV screen). I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep this up after lockdown since I'm usually ready to mindlessly scroll through my phone before bed, but again, fingers crossed I can keep up the habit.
Connecting with Friends and Family from Afar
I usually see my family 3-4 times a months at least, so not being able to see them has been hard. But we're very fortunate to live in an age where we can so easily connect with people who live 2,000 miles away, so I've made a concerted effort to keep in touch with my friends and family who live far away. I think I've spoken to my out-of-state friends and family more during lockdown than I did before! I hate to admit that, but I've definitely found myself missing connection with my people and Zoom happy hours have become my latest form of self-care. I will absolutely be making a better effort to stay in touch with these people when life goes back to normal.
How have you been practicing self-care during lockdown?