Ways to stay happy and healthy while you're stuck at home!
I’ve spent the past 5 years figuring out how to maintain my sanity while spending most of my time socially isolated as a stay at home mom, so I wanted to share some of my best wisdom and insight on the best practices for mental and physical health during self isolation.
While some things on my list might seem like common sense, the magic only happens when you put the effort in to form these as habits, which is where some of my tricks come into play. It is conventional knowledge that we should drink 8 glasses of water a day, but how many of us actually manage to do so?
Try out my at home hacks for a healthy quarantine!
Make Your Bed
If you are going to be spending all of your time at home, this is a key habit to form. There is a mental shift that happens when you take your physical surroundings from disorderly to orderly and it is profound.
This is a simple way to start out the day on a productive note and it really makes a tremendous difference in maintaining a sense of clarity and focus throughout the day. Do it as soon as your feet hit the floor. If you share a bed with someone else, make a rule that the last person out of bed makes it.
This sounds so simple, but when you are staying home all day it can seem pretty pointless to get out of your pajamas. The truth is though, that just like with your bed, what you wear also has a serious impact on your mental state.
Even if you are just upgrading to a cute athleisure outfit, making the physical switch from sleep mode to go mode helps your brain to do the same.
Drink Lots of Water
Easier said than done of course, but a trick I learned from a friend while breastfeeding makes it pretty hard to not stay hydrated.
Keep a full glass of water on the kitchen counter. Each time you pass the glass, drink the whole thing. After your champion chug, refill the glass and leave it ready for the next one.
Keep a Routine Not a Schedule
While you will obviously have things that do need to be time specific, like a conference call, the best bet for a successful and productive day is to follow a routine and not a schedule.
This is especially true if you have kids who are home with you.
Figure out a rhythm for your household and try to keep to that. So instead of planning out 8am breakfast, 9am work while kids do reading, 11am family walk, 12pm lunch, 1pm you get the idea - just allow the day to unfold with a predictable pattern of breakfast, work while kids read, walk, lunch, etc.
You will feel more at ease and more often than not things will not take the same amount of time each day so you won’t be setting yourself up to get off track.
Do not use social media scrolling as your social outlet. This will quickly become unhealthy as it does not provide the quality connection that we as humans need.
Facetime a friend or family member, set up a Zoom happy hour or talk to a neighbor at a safe distance. If you are only interacting with the people inside of your home, you are going to go nuts. So reach out and get some real socially distanced interactions.
Plan Your Meals
Not only is this going to help you reduce food waste and save time and stress - it will also help you avoid unhealthy snacking. When you already know you are going to have avocado toast with eggs at lunch in another hour or so, you are less likely to fill up on those potato chips you panic bought.
Build Exercise into the Routine
This is one area where until the pandemic I was not so great at. I loved my time at the gym because hello, childcare.
But now, like everyone else, I am having to find the motivation to make it happen. For me, this looks like taking advantage of my favorite yoga app being offered for free during this time.
You can also find so many great free workouts on Youtube.
One of the best ways to form a new daily habit is to tack the activity onto something that you are guaranteed to do each day. So I am trying to find my mat each night after putting the kids to bed. This is not always what I want to be doing, but I’m always glad when I do.
Even if it is just to go and get the mail, getting out and getting some fresh air is a great reset button when tension, anxiety or screaming children run amuk.
If the weather is shit or you live in an apartment without easy outside access, you can also fake it til you make it by simply sitting near an open window or closing your eyes while playing some nature sounds.
Whatever form it takes, making this a daily practice will help you to keep a sense of calm during an otherwise chaotic time.
Take Personal Space
Even the most extroverted among us needs some time for self reflection and to be alone. For those of us who require quite a bit of alone time, being cooped up with our families can become quite stressful.
Do whatever it is that you need to so you can feel fully charged. Maybe your alone time comes as you shower or get that exercise in, maybe everyone takes their own space while the baby naps or kids are watching a movie. Just make sure to get some headspace on your own for as much as is possible each day.
If you are going to be stuck at home, you can at least make the most of it. Being home feels soooo much better when you love the space you are in.
This is a great time to tackle yard work, organize the pantry, rotate all the kids’ clothes or maybe even take on some home improvement projects.
When you stare back at the nice and neat spice collection you finally organized, you are going to feel so good and so grateful. Feeling grateful is a powerful mood to be in, especially now.
Best of luck as you join me in the stay at home life, or stuck at home life as I now call it.