My husband and I live in the worst possible location for riding out a pandemic—the neighborhood surrounding our third-floor walkup is a frenzy of people and their dogs, which makes it hard to actually social distance. That’s why we decided to shelter-in-place with my in-laws in the suburbs. I’m lucky to have a really great relationship with my in-laws, but the transition to living and working in a new normal still required me to step up my self-care game.
Thankfully I had a few tricks up my sleeve as the founder of self-care company, Inner Workout. Here’s how, even in these circumstances, I’m still making time for my mental and physical health.
1. Do a self-care audit once every so often
It’s easy to think of self-care as something we just set and forget. The reality is that we’re constantly changing, and our environment is evolving, too. What worked for you last month may not work for you today. When you feel a shift—whether that's once a quarter or every two weeks—I recommend making a list of all your current self-care practices. Then ask yourself:
What do I want to start doing?
What do I want to stop doing?
What do I want to continue doing?
Through my self-care audit, I noticed that I hadn’t been moving my body. Movement really helps me process my anxiety, so I started integrating my favorite workouts back into my week.
2. Make space for silence
Even though we’re sheltered-in-place, a lot of our brains are highly stimulated right now. Video conference calls. Binge-watching TV. Sharing a space with partners, pets and kids. It’s actually pretty loud, no?
Try to find a pocket of your day to sit with your thoughts in silence. I’m naturally an early riser, so my mornings have become especially sacred. I give myself lots of time to think and breathe and journal before I leave the bed. You might find your silence after your partner has gone to bed or in between meetings.
The magic of silence is that it creates space for thoughts, emotions and sensations to surface. Even a few minutes of daily silence can go a long way towards increasing your self-awareness and your ability to meaningfully practice self-care.
3. Be vocal with your needs
This is an aspect of self-care that I’m constantly working on, but quarantine jump-started my progress. People aren’t mind readers—especially when they’re trying to live, work and play in the same place.
If you need space, say so. If you’re feeling a little cranky, give the people you live with a heads up. Tell people where you’re at so that they can best support you instead of walk on eggshells around you.
4. Embrace silliness
The world is a serious place right now, so I’m thankful that my in-laws bring out my silly side. We joke around. We make up guessing games. I have a good belly laugh at least once a day.
Take a note from Goldie Hawn and try to infuse your day with silliness. Watch an episode of a show that cracks you up. Go down a TikTok rabbit hole. Giggle at your pet’s quirks. And don’t forget that it’s OK to laugh at yourself.
5. Mind your consumption
I’m spending a lot more time consuming content than I normally do, and that can take a toll on me. I try to notice how different pieces of content impact me. When I start to see trends, I act accordingly.
Do breaking news updates make your chest tighten? Maybe it’s time to turn off those notifications. Does that women’s career newsletter always leave you feeling more grounded? Make a point to read it every day.
Content is flying at us from all directions, but—shocker—we do actually get to choose what we engage with. So choose the adventure that speaks to your needs.
Taylor Elyse Morrison is a certified 200-hour yoga instructor and the founder of Inner Workout.