Doing your part to stay at home and help flatten the curve? It can definitely be tough adjusting to a new live/work/eat/play scenario in the same space...add in the stress and uncertainty of our current COVID reality, and it's easy to let fear and anxiety overwhelm you. Here are some ways to help keep your anxiety levels low, balance live/work life in a single space, and keep your creative juices flowing.
Shift your Mindset, Stay Informed, and Connect with Loved Ones: It's tough to stay positive right now, but remember that we're all in this together. This is affecting everyone from every walk of life around the globe. Take time to be grateful for the little things each day, reach out to friends and family to stay connected, and shift your mindset...this is temporary, humans are incredibly resilient and have been through cycles of incredibly trying and difficult times. Remember that we will make it through this together. Make your extra time at home feel more productive and rewarding by getting to those little projects and tasks that you've been meaning to get to, but never have time for normally (it's the perfect time to KonMari that cluttered closet that you dread opening). Staying busy will help pass the time and being productive can help to maintain a positive mindset and a sense of control. Feeling overwhelmed is normal...so is feeling sad, anxious, or depressed. Please reach out to a mental healthcare professional, friends, and family if you need help.
It's very important to stay informed during our new COVID reality...there's a good mix of balanced and informed facts plus human interest stories happening on NPR, plus you can stream and listen online. The NY Times has created an incredibly helpful and informative Coronavirus thread showing outbreak maps for the US, health tips, and also helpful economic information for those dealing with unemployment.
Keep Structure to your Day: Living and working (and doing everything) in the same space can get weird...adding structure to your day and honoring life and work boundaries are really important to keep your flow fresh. Set specific work hours and keep your work area and computers in one dedicated area, if possible, so you can get up and leave it when you're finished for the day. Don't forget to have lunch and take breaks away from your work area as you would normally. At the end of your work day set your phone to silent and put computers and laptops to sleep and out of sight if possible.
Reduce your caffeine intake at home: A morning cup of coffee or tea is a thing of joy and a real comfort, but you may want to rethink your afternoon cup...too much caffeine can contribute to heightened anxiety and poor sleep. Try switching to an herbal tea blend from 3pm on to ensure you get solid sleep and keep your vibes chill. I adore Yogi's Kava stress relief tea, and I've found all of their herbal blend teas to be therapeutic, effective, and delicious.
Breathe Deeply: When we're anxious, we breathe more shallowly and rapidly as part of our natural fight-or-flight stress response. Take a few breath breaks through the day to loosen up, still your mind, and lower your heart rate. Close your eyes and breathe in for a count of four...and exhale for a count of four. Repeat 5-10 times as needed through the day to let off shake off anxiety and stress.
Walk & Stretch: Simple walking and stretching are two of the best ways to shed stress and get feel-good endorphins flowing. Stop, stand, and take frequent stretch breaks during your work day. Plan a 15-30 minute outdoor walk or jog each day and practice smart social distancing (maintain 6 feet of distance from others, only walk with a member of your household).
Listen to Music: Music is an instant way to lift your mood and the vibe of your personal space. I've been deeply digging this Spotify playlist. Dancing is a great way to exercise and shake off stress indoors!
Get Crafty or Learn a New Skill: Always wanted to learn how to build a ship-in-a-bottle? There are endless options now for learning from home or ordering books and supplies to enjoy a fun craft night solo or with the kids. Painting, sketching, sewing, knitting, pottery, cooking, baking, home brewing...and I can personally attest that making is an incredibly rewarding and uplifting daily activity.
On the baking front, here's a fantastic recipe for Katharine Hepburn's brownies...best served while watching a Katharine Hepburn film (Adam’s Rib and Desk Set are two personal faves). Learn to bake your own bread with this famed no-knead recipe from Mark Bittman.
Take Time for Quality Self Care: Working from home can have benefits (like 9am meetings in your PJ's with no commute). Toss in a face mask and hair treatment and you're self-care multitasking like a boss. Linger over your am/pm skincare routines. Enjoy a hot bath with therapeutic salts, a spritz of rosewater plus a moisturizing facial oil, and a luxe hand balm to soothe overwashed hands before bed...you'll sleep better and wake up to happier skin. Bust stress while enjoying the added benefits of taking care of yourself and enjoying some much-deserved TLC.
Create a Nightly Sleep Routine: Solid sleep is critical for overall health and wellness plus it boosts mood, mental acuity, and your immune system. Stress and anxiety can greatly impact our sleep patterns and reduce the quality and length of sleep (you want to get in all of your REM cycles as they are critical for memory and learning). Creating a nightly sleep routine can help improve how easily you fall asleep, the quality, and duration of your zzz's plus it's simple to do and it's a great way to take care of yourself and boost overall health.
•Establish a set bedtime each night that allows for 8 hours of sleep. Even if you don't feel tired, going to bed at the same time each night trains the body and mind to go to sleep more easily. Reading for 1/2 hour prior to bedtime has been shown to help with falling asleep faster plus it's a great way to escape the daily grind, relax, learn, and unwind.
•Reduce the amount of blue light (TV & electronic devices) that you are exposed to 1-2 hours prior to sleep...there are many studies that show that blue light interrupts our natural circadian rhythms and can disrupt sleep patterns.
•Ditch the TV and phone in your bedroom. Dedicating your bedroom to the sole purpose of sleep and relaxation will help you fall asleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep. Switch your phone to silent mode at night and keep it in another room. If you use your phone as your morning alarm, try to keep it at least three feet away from your sleeping area to help prevent circadian rhythm disturbance.
•Lavender is fantastic to help improve the quality of sleep, calm the mind, and to help lower heart rate and blood pressure...all things that you want to reduce stress levels. Use 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil in a bedside diffuser or make your own pillow spray by adding 15 drops of lavender to 2oz of witch hazel in a small glass spray bottle. I also love the Calm and Balance essential oil blends from EO. A high quality broad-spectrum CBD oil can also help calm an anxious mind and improve sleep quality if taken 1/2 hour before bedtime.
Stay safe, stay home, take care, and be well...sending so much love your way.