I am so grateful for this post giving top tips for self-care in isolation from the lovely Jess Collins that I am sure can help us all feel a little better in these challenging times. Jess is starting a series of journaling sessions at the end of this month which I urge you to check out now.
“It feels like pretty much everyone is talking about self-care in isolation right now. After all, with a major pandemic occurring and anxiety at an all time high, now we need a slice of self-care more than ever. But it feels somewhat lacking to suggest a bubble bath or face mask in the current climate – we need something a little more. Here are some suggestions for self-care, isolation style that offer something a little deeper and more meaningful.
Put Pen to Paper
If you only take one piece away from this blog – make it to introduce a journaling practice. Journaling is so good for you and it’s completely free of charge (save for a notebook and a pen). I make time for journaling every day – carving out creative time and space to write down how I’m feeling and to record my response to what’s happening in the world. It gives me a greater sense of calm, enhances my creativity and is a way of communicating and expressing my emotions in a safe space where it is OK to say everything I think and feel. Try putting pen to paper, even just for ten to fifteen minutes a day. Don’t judge what comes up for you, just keep writing and within a week of doing this every day, you’ll feel so much better in yourself.
Keep In Touch
Keeping in touch with people is more important than ever. We have to keep the conversation going. It can be so easy to feel we are communicating via social media apps but writing letters and having video calls allows for a much more in depth and heartfelt sense of connection. I’ve even taken this time to write to people that I don’t know through a letter writing project. Whether you are writing to a stranger or a lover, a good friend or a family member, it’s a wonderful way to communicate and keep in touch – plus how often do we write letters these days? It’s a lovely thing to do. Alternatively, you could record video messages for one another – fun, upbeat visual reminders that we are loved and have people to talk to – this is essential for our hearts and minds.
How can you create an escape in your day? Obviously in isolation we can’t particularly escape very far but how can you find a small escape in the everyday? For me, this looks like ten minutes to myself with my face in the sun, a long shower (often in the dark), curling up with a good book, lighting a candle, doing a crossword or even actively daydreaming – finding space to just gaze into space and breathe. Everything will pass. This grounding time creates little pockets of space in a fast-paced day
Another form of escape is to get outdoors. Where can you go for your designated exercise period each day? Perhaps you can walk to somewhere beautiful in nature, or maybe you could walk for a mile and make notes of anything you see en route (try to do the entire walk without looking at your phone). Getting outdoors is so good for our sense of self-care. And even when not doing your daily exercise, do you have a garden? Can you get your hands into the earth and plant something or stand barefoot on the grass? Or even a balcony? Somewhere to put some herbs and create a tiny sanctuary for some soul time. For me, the best self-care is a sea swim. I realise not everybody can do that but if you’re close to an ocean or a lake, I urge you to get in, there’s nothing better for you mentally than a salt soak.
Move Your Body
Aside from walking, yoga is so integral to self-care. I have so much resistance to doing yoga – mentally I’m always thinking there’s so much stuff I “should” be doing instead and physically my body can be stiff, resisting the poses. But eventually – about two thirds of the way through the class I begin to surrender and soften and by the time Savasana comes around I’m having the time of my life. It is the same every single time. Resistance and rigidity then softness, surrender and peace. I go into every yoga session feeling like I cannot be bothered and I come out of each class feeling amazing and grateful that I gave myself this gift of time. There are several online classes but my favourites are with my local yoga studio, Falmouth Yoga Space (I adore their kids classes as well) and Montezuma Yoga who also does really uplifting meditations online.
This naturally brings me to meditation as a tool for self-care in isolation. Meditation is so good for me but again, something I resist. I find I’m sitting there running through my to do list and my mind is racing. I’m still not great at it to be honest – but I am committed to the practice because afterwards I feel an immense sense of calm and balance. This is essential self-care, a way to go within and allow yourself to feel everything, acknowledging but without judgment. It takes self-discipline but it’s so rewarding and worth the persistence.
Dress It Up
I’m not even joking. Pretend you’re meeting a friend for lunch somewhere nice but casual. What would you wear? Let’s say it’s a summer dress with a blazer on top. Put it on. Make-up? On it goes. Some nice jewellery – all day long. No dry shampoo here – hair is washed and ready to go. Except there is no lunch. There is no restaurant. But I promise you’ll feel better about yourself. It’s such a small thing but when I sit round in my dressing gown all day (because who even knows if it’s Thursday or Sunday anymore) I feel worse for it. When I look good, I feel good – I walked the dogs yesterday in my favourite blazer. Just to feel good about myself. It sounds shallow but how you dress affects how you feel – just try it.
Get Some Shut Eye
Does it get any less sexy than suggesting sleep as part of a self-care plan? But it’s so essential. Rest is the number one thing that is going to have you firing on all cylinders so it needs to be prioritised. It’s so easy to resist – to stay up late, indulge in excess screen time and overdose on the drama and the constant chaos of the news stream. Choose to switch off – perhaps introduce an evening wind-down routine to make this time of day something you look forward to. For me that often looks like – a chapter of a good book, a calming pillow mist, an eye mask to block out all light and a sleep meditation or inspirational audio from Oprah.
Learn Something You Love
Take this time to invest in yourself and do something you love. Learn a new skill, take up knitting, start writing poetry, learn a new language – whatever it is, make it something for your soul rather than your CV, something that makes you feel good and that you do for pure pleasure.
Lastly, do nothing. Just soak up this time for some deep restorative rest and a body/mind reset. It’s what we all need right now, in a world full of timelines and to do lists, let this time be a reminder of how we are human beings rather than human doings. This is a time for stillness and a sense of space. Just breathe.”
Do you have any ideas for self-care in isolation to share with my readers?