I have intuitively known the importance of self care for decades: if I go days without moving my body I am more likely to snap at someone I love; if I haven’t journaled in a week, my mind feels full and I cannot fully show up in conversations; when I don’t take time to do activities that light me up, I get depressed and feel anxious.
As someone who identifies with a binge eating disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder, the first few weeks of this current epidemic was bringing out the worst in me. Being newly unemployed, I felt completely unmotivated to get off the couch. I turned to sugar, carbs, anything and everything in the kitchen for comfort. I found myself being passive, waiting for external circumstances to change so I can start to feel better again. My lack of drive made me feel guilty, so I would eat. My sugar highs quickly became sugar lows, so I’d return to the couch. This cycle would go on repeat and I felt powerless.
I woke up one morning feeling disgusted and tired of my state. I remembered that I do have power: I may not have power over what is going on in the world, but I get to chose how I react to my surroundings. Why did I stop doing the things that I love? I get to decide what I do and how I feel! This reminder felt so liberating. I began incorporating small changes to my daily routine, and these small changes have been making a huge difference.
I have committed to drinking more water. Every morning, I fill up a gallon container and pour a few scoops of electrolyte powder into it.
These electrolytes are my current favorite. Not only does drinking all this water decrease my appetite (after all, usually we think we’re hungry when we are actually thirsty!) but I have noticed my skin looking and feeling clearer.
I schedule self directed learning each day. I place headphones into my ears and throw sneakers onto my feet, open up Audible, and tune into a book while I walk around the neighborhood. I am currently listening to Gabby Bernstein’s Super Attractor and it puts an extra skip in my step.
Another way I use this time to school myself is by learning to speak Spanish with the Duolingo app. This free app makes learning a language feel like a game with multiple levels, features, and funny animated characters. When I have an urge to scroll through my Facebook feed, I open my Duolingo app instead.
I have been keeping a journal since I was in grade school, but I have noticed over the years – while going through challenging times – I do not write. The optimist in me only enjoys writing when I have exciting things to share.
During this quarantine, I dedicate a minimum of 3 pages each day to my morning pages, a total unedited, stream of consciousness. and I feel almost an immediate lift of anxiety once I am done.
In addition to daily walks around the neighborhood, my favorite way to move emotional and energetic tension out of my body is by dancing. I start by putting on one song and allow myself to dance like a total weirdo. One song usually turns into at least three … sometimes the same song on repeat.
Another way I move is by unrolling my yoga mat and giving myself 5 minutes to intuitively glide into any yoga poses that my body craves. And sometimes, instead of yoga poses, I break out the foam roller and massage balls to break down the lactic acid and reduce inflammation.
These simple behavioral changes during quarantine have empowered me. I treat each activity as a “homework assignment” and gleefully cross each task off my calendar once complete. If you have been feeling powerless or depressed during these uncertain times, I invite you to incorporate one of these tools into your daily routine and notice the changes you feel.