Tips for intuitive self-care

Alternative forms of self-care for quarantine

Written by Abigail Swoap

For those of us who are fortunate enough to stay home right now, there’s a lot of pressure to use our newfound hours at home in productive ways. There is an abundance of articles online (some of which are featured in this journal) that focus on establishing a daily schedule that organizes time into manageable chunks. While routines help some people accomplish personal and professional goals, rigid daily regimes don’t work for everyone. Here are some ways to be a little more lenient with yourself during quarantine.

Re-examine the pressure to be productive

Replace your to-do list with a to-try list

Now that we’ve all got to fill our days at home, there’s extra pressure to use this time to improve ourselves. For some people, making a to-do list of skills to learn, books to read and recipes to try works wonders. For others, it’s a surefire way to ensure that those things will never happen. Instead of planning out each activity, make a giant list of your interests in no particular order. Revisit it when you’ve got a chunk of time you’d like to fill, and try whichever one of your ideas inspires you in the moment.

Try switching up your schedule

If you’ve started to feel the days pass by in a monotonous blur, it might be time to experiment with your daily routine. If you normally exercise in the morning, see what it’s like to work out at night. Take your weekly trip to the grocery store at a different time. Surprise your mom with a call she’s not expecting. Switch it up!

Practice the art of self-forgiveness

Now that we’ve been experiencing this strange new rhythm of life for a couple months, it can feel like we should have it all figured out by now. Remember that it’s perfectly normal to spend days in a funk. If you can’t accomplish everything you told yourself you would, forgive yourself for not living up to your own expectations. You can even physically write out the words “it’s okay” in your journal. It might sound bizarre, but it can help!

Listen to your body

Self-care shouldn’t be stressful

Let go of the pressure to schedule your self-care into your day. The best kind of self-care happens when you listen to what your body needs in the moment and respond accordingly. This can mean taking breaks when you need them, choosing to read a book instead of reading the news or staying in bed a little longer when you feel like you need the sleep.

Self-care is more than bubble baths and face masks

It can be these things, of course. But if you’ve been working for hours and your eyes are starting to strain, self-care can also be taking a quick walk outside. If you’re absolutely sick of cooking meals at home, self-care can be supporting a local business by ordering takeout. No need to complicate things.

Self-care doesn’t have to have a goal

People often only engage in self-care with the goal of improving themselves. Instead of telling yourself, “I’m going to do self-care so that I become a more relaxed person,” see what it’s like to just be with yourself and your emotions. Self-care can be as simple as acknowledging that you’re having a feeling and sitting with it for a while.

Switch up your social life

Throw a Netflix party

If you’re experiencing Zoom hangout fatigue, you’re not alone. There are only so many online happy hours you can handle before they start to feel a little mundane. The next time you want to hang out with friends, try a Netflix party instead. The Netflix Party Chrome extension synchronizes everyone’s video playback and allows you to chat about what you’re watching together.

Plan a game night

Another (albeit slightly more involved) alternative to regular old video chatting is the remote game night. Create your own Jeopardy! game using online templates like this, then share your screen with your friends for an evening of fun trivia. Recreate the Jeopardy! buzzer by having your friends “buzz in” in the chat.

Don’t forget about the phone call

Remember when we used to call our friends on the phone to check in on them instead of scheduling video conferences? It’s time to rediscover the joy of a phone call with your friends. Instead of being cooped up in a dark room looking at your friends’ faces, try calling them up during a walk. It’s oddly freeing to remember it’s possible to connect with others without staring at a screen. Blue light-blocking glasses not required!

Haven’t installed it yet?