Fifteen Tips To Get Through Social Distancing

Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

Hey y’all!

I’m back from my hiatus and given the current situation and my newfound endless free time, I’m on a bit of a blogging kick. I’m sure, especially by the time of posting, I don’t really have to tell you all about the Social Distancing situation at hand — it’s probably a bit of old news by now, but personally I’m finding that the reality of it all is really starting to kick in.

I’m not going to get too deep into it all, as I’m sure you’ve all heard it already. All I’m going to say about the virus is that apart from this, I won’t be mentioning it — it’s a bit of a stressful topic for many people, and the whole point of this post is to generate helpful ideas and reduce your worry about the situation. However, the world is coming to a bit of a stand-still, and it can definitely be a difficult and anxiety-inducing situation. However, it’s important that we all do our parts, and for now that means limiting social contact and staying inside for the time being.

I’m not sure about you guys, but I’m barely into the first few days stuck in my apartment and I can feel myself starting to go a little stir-crazy. All I’ve wanted for the last few months was just the ability to take some time off and catch up on everything in my life, but as soon as it was actually mandated I became a little overwhelmed with anxiety and at first I couldn’t put my finger on why. I’ve come to realize that just because we’re supposed to stay home all day (which really would have sounded so enjoyable back in 2019), doesn’t mean that I, personally, can just kind of ride the wave of it all and just do whatever, whenever. If you’re feeling the same way, I’ve compiled some helpful tips to help you get through this period as easily as possible!

  1. Stick to a routine. It’s so easy just to think of this time as a “mini-vacation” and just wake up and go to sleep whenever your body feels like it. However, I personally found that doing this caused my life to crash pretty quickly into just having no real sleep schedule at all, which was pretty detrimental to my ability to function and my overall mental health. Take a few days to catch up on sleep if you need to, but after that stick to an 8-hour sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. It’ll help you keep on track later on once we’ve been at the whole distancing thing for a while. Plus, if you’re someone who struggles with this normally, hopefully you’ll be so used to it by the time this is over that you’ll stick with it in the long run! This also goes for eating meals at a regular time — it’ll help you not lose all sense of time if you’re keeping your days as routine as possible.
  2. Get some fresh air. Make sure you open your windows at least once a day and let the air in your home circulate. Not only will it help move around stagnant air and keep your place from feeling a little gross, but the fresh air will help you feel more alert and a little less claustrophobic during long days inside.
  3. Catch up on everything you need to get done. While it can be easy to view social distancing as an annoyance, it really can be a precious resource for getting on top of your sh*t. Don’t delay it — start now! We have no idea how long this will last, really, but it’ll feel amazing if you come out on the other side completely on top of all your tasks that you’ve been putting off for a while. I’m sure just a few weeks ago you were thinking about how you wished you had some time off to help you get on top of things — so take advantage! This can mean anything, from getting ahead on blog posts, to catching up on schoolwork and work tasks, to home repairs or decorating or anything else you’ve been putting off lately.
  4. Get moving. Even if you don’t exercise regularly, you probably don’t even realize how much movement you’re missing out on right now. Walking to get around isn’t something you’re probably doing for the time being, and if you live in an apartment like I do, there’s not even much space for moving around inside. A whole lot of companies such as Lululemon (as well as many of your local fitness spots) are holding online Instagram live work out sessions that you can partake in from the comfort of your home. It’s easy to fall into the routine of just sitting on the couch or lying in bed, but keeping active will help improve your physical and mental wellbeing, and will help keep your spirits up.
  5. Pick up an old hobby. I’m honestly someone who can binge-watch Netflix for ridiculous periods of time — name any TV show on their site, and I’ve probably seen it. Given the situation, I’ve gotten back into visual art — I was an art student in high school, and I spent just about all my time filling up my sketchbooks. However, with how hectic university was I ended up rarely having time. (Also, I can’t lie, the pressure of having to complete art on a deadline for a grade in first year along with all the other classes I had to complete kind of sucked the fun out of it for me — but that’s kind of just how I am, I can’t turn hobbies into work). I’ve tried a few times to get back into it over the years, but I finally have the time to put real effort into it and I had honestly forgotten how much I loved it. It really helps the time pass when you’re actively doing stuff!
  6. Take time for self-care. I always try to stress how self-care isn’t a luxury, but a necessity. However, time and time again I hear about how people don’t have the time, and don’t realize how important it is to reduce stress levels and take care of your mental well-being. For the foreseeable future, you have all kinds of time to practice self-care. If it’s something you’re not used to, you have plenty of time to experiment and find out what works best for you. Self-care can (and should!) be both practical and enjoyable, so if taking baths or self-indulging isn’t really something you’re interested in, there’s still plenty of other options. Hopefully, if you make a point of it, you’ll get into the habit of taking around half an hour to an hour a day (or a week) to yourself and will be able to add it into your routine going forward. If you need some ideas, you can check out my post on Fall Self-Care Ideas (and don’t worry, I’ll be coming out with a spring edition soon!).
  7. Keep up your hygiene. This one kind of falls into the category of keeping up a routine. Especially if you live alone, it can be easy to fall into the mindset that it’s okay to kind of let things such as showering, brushing your teeth or washing your face slide when you don’t have to go out into the world. However, you should aim to keep your life as normal as possible — it’ll help you FEEL as normal as possible, even though this is a very strange time.
  8. Spring clean. Now is the perfect time to totally Marie-Kondo your life. I’m going to be posting a spring cleaning guide sometime soon, but for right now, just take this time to tidy, organize, clean and sort through your belongings. Regardless of the benefits a good spring-clean can have, just making sure your space is tidy will make it a lot more livable.
  9. Meditate. Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of being unable to leave my house and having no work or class has sent my anxiety through the roof. Why? I have no idea. Just a few weeks ago the idea of time off would have been heaven, but I guess it’s probably to do with feeling like there’s stuff I’m supposed to be doing and being inside by necessity rather than by choice. I know it sounds a little corny, but meditating has helped to mitigate my anxiety in the past — so I’m trying to make a point to practice it at least once a day. Even if you’re not sure how you feel about meditating or don’t see how it would be beneficial, there’s no harm in giving it a chance!
  10. Generate some Insta content. I mean, why not? If you have time to spare, try out that make up look you’ve been meaning to master or throw on some cute spring clothes you want to show off and take some photos of it! I know for bloggers Instagram is a hugely beneficial platform, but I personally find I never have time to create content to post. Personally, I’m going to take this time to stock up!
  11. Limit how often you check the news. Shout out to my roommate, Beth, for giving me this idea. This one is especially important if you’re already feeling nervous about the situation going on, but it’s a good practice anyway. If you’re stuck inside and feeling bored, it’s tempting to check up on hourly updates about what’s going on in the world. While it’s important to stay updated, consuming every piece of news constantly does a lot more harm than good. At the best, it harms your productivity — and at the worst, just fuels your anxieties (which may about news in parts of the world that don’t really effect you). It’s important to stay educated, but you can accomplish this by checking the news just a few times, if only once a day.
  12. FaceTime family and friends regularly. Social contact is important, especially during such isolating times. Texting is great and all, but the best way to feel connected and socially fulfilled is with FaceTime or a good old-fashioned phone call.
  13. Learn a new skill. Back over the summer when I had more free time, I used Duolingo to help me learn Japanese. I lost track of it as things in my life picked up between work and school, but now’s the perfect tome to pick back up where I left off! Who knows, maybe I’ll have a whole new language under my belt by the time this all blows over. It doesn’t have to be a language — maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new musical instrument, or paint, or sport, or whatever it is you’re feeling.
  14. Take a day off. Again — why not? Don’t feel any pressure to spend every second of this time being productive — not only is that not what life should be about normally, but especially right now. There’s still value to spending time doing nothing. The beauty of productivity in this time is that you can complete tasks stress-free, and it helps you keep your life on track. But apart from whatever your current life demands are (such as homeschooling or #WFH), it isn’t a requirement. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for just taking some time to chill — whether it’s Netflix, scrolling through Insta, or just lying in bed — who cares!
  15. Do whatever makes you stay positive. These are really weird times for all of us. Just try your best to relax and make sure to take care of your mental health — whatever that means for you is whatever you should be doing right now.

I hope you guys are all doing well out there! I know it’s weird and difficult, but do your best to stay inside and minimize contact with others. The more we stick to it now, the sooner this will all blow over and we can all return to our normal lives. Just keep in mind that this “social distancing” isn’t about you — even if you’re absolutely certain you’re going to be fine, it’s about those who may not be. Please try to keep them in mind during this difficult time.

Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow for my all-time favourite post of the season — my FabFitFun Unboxing! I’m already loving my spring box so much, and I can’t wait to share it with you guys! And in the meantime, stay safe, stay indoors and feel free to hit me up for Netflix recommendations (I have plenty!).

Much love,

Meredith

How To: Plan The Perfect Fall Self-Care Night!

Hey y’all! Happy Sunday!

Fall is in full swing now, which certainly has its ups and downs. I personally love fall, because it means cute clothes, cozy vibes, my birthday and the holidays. However, it certainly has some rough patches too — cold weather (and rain, for my fellow PNW readers), work and school stress, seasonal depression, and cold and flu season.

The best way to make fall as easy going and enjoyable as possible is to ensure you’re taking care of yourself. And the best way to do that is to plan out a self-care night! Even with my crazy-busy schedule, I try to plan out a night for self-care every week or two. Especially with stressful times, it’s important to take some time to unwind and rejuvenate yourself — while it may seem worthwhile in the moment to spend all your time constantly working and pushing towards your goals, it can lead you to become tired, sick, and slow you down in the future.

Step One: Clean Your Space!

I’ve definitely gone over this one before, but it’s really just not possible to fully relax in a messy space — it’s uncomfortable and you’ll be worrying about having to clean it in the future. Start off your night by taking the time to tidy up, clean your sheets and towels, take out the garbage, and take a shower (or a bath, even!). Make sure to take care of all the little tasks stressing you out in this time as well — if it takes half an hour or less but has been causing you a lot of stress lately, just get it done! It’ll help to get you into a space where you can fully unwind and enjoy yourself.

Step Two: Pick Out A Fall Scent!

One of the best ways to eliminate negative vibes in your space and let go of the week’s stress is to light up a scented candle or use a diffuser. If you don’t already, try to go out and pick some fall scents to help you get into the seasonal spirit! Once you’ve cleaned up your space, this is the next step in fully reviving good vibes in your space and life. If you’re not a fan of scents, I find using a regular, unscented candle still has the same effect.

Step Three: Get Cozy!

For this step, you’re going to want to get into your comfiest clothes and do whatever you can to make your space as cozy as possible. Layer up on blankets, get some ambient lighting going, adjust your thermostat, play some music/ambient noise, whatever makes you feel the most comfortable and at ease.

Step Four: Make Some Fall Snacks!

This next step is to pick out a fall food and drink of your choice. One of my favourite snacks for a self-care night is this edible cookie dough recipe, but you can choose whatever you want — Pillsbury cookies, pumpkin flavoured snacks, even just popcorn, whatever it is your craving! Then, you’re going to want to choose a drink as well — maybe it’s just me, but I find that this is a huge aspect of self care nights. I’m personally a HUGE fan of tea, so I’d usually go for that (and make one of David’s Tea’s special fall flavours, just to make it festive)! However, you can pick anything you want — apple cider, chai tea latte, pumpkin spiced latte (or even just a nice glass of wine!).

Step Five: Choose A Self-Care Activity!

Now you’ve just got to pick out whatever activity (or activities) you want to spend your night on. If you want to get into the festive spirit, you can pick out a fall/Halloween movie or show — lately I’ve been watching Buzzfeed Unsolved Supernatural because it’s got the spooky Halloween vibes I’m looking for, without being actually scary. Otherwise, this is pretty much up to you — watch a movie, read a book, do a hobby, listen to some music, dance it out — whatever your heart desires!

Step Six: Unwind!

This step is just to ensure you’re completely relaxed before the end of the night, and ensuring you reap all the benefits of taking this night off for yourself. This can be done in any number of ways; you can meditate, stretch, listen to relaxing music, watch some relaxing ASMR — just be sure to end the night on a calming note to relieve any residual stress you may still be holding before bed.

Step Seven: Get Some Sleep!

For this final step, you’re going to go to bed early and get some rest. There’s no point in doing all this work to relax if you’re just going to wake up feeling exhausted tomorrow! On top of that, staying up late and pushing your body too hard makes it a lot easier to get sick, so as nice as it is to enjoy this time to yourself — get to bed early, rest up, and try to make time for yourself again soon.

And there you have it! Seven easy steps to the ultimate fall self-care night. I hope all of your October’s are going well so far, and you’re all out there working hard, achieving goals, taking care of yourselves and hopefully avoiding flu season! If not, I hope you get to put this list to good use soon.

Much love,

Meredith

Self Care Tips: Part One

Hey friends!

So to start off, anyone who knows me in real life knows I am a huge advocate of self-care. In this day and age, with burnout becoming increasingly common in the population, taking some time out of your day just for yourself and to relax is super important. While so many people I know claim they don’t have daily time to take for themselves, I find that if you really try, you can always make time. Whether it means finding ways to free up your schedule a bit or maximizing your efficiency throughout the day to leave more spare time for yourself, taking a bit of time every day is important to maintaining good mental health.

Mental health is important, something we all have, and not the same as mental illness. I find this distinction to be super important, as someone who has struggled with mental illness my whole life, as nowadays people advocate a lot for mental health but do not often do the same for mental illness. Often times, people lump the two together while they are really two separate concepts. Everyone has to maintain good mental health; stress is one of the most detrimental things to your health. I won’t get too deeply into it right now, but stress is truly a silent killer. Daily stress can lead to many health issues, both in the short term and in the long run. This is why I find daily self care so important — anything you can do to reduce your daily stress levels, even if just a little, is hugely beneficial for your overall health. The distinction here is not everyone struggles with mental illness, even though it is highly prevalent in the modern day population. However, many people who do not cope with mental illness don’t really seem to see the point in taking care of their mental health, which is something I have seen take a toll on so, so many of my peers. So I’d figure I’d share a little list of some of my favourite self care practices! Some of these are daily activities, while some of them are just things to improve the quality of your day to day life.

I know you’ve probably heard plenty of these before, but if you guys like this list I’ll keep publishing more and hopefully you can all find new techniques that work for you!

  1. Invest in a diffuser. You don’t need an expensive one, you can find them fairly cheap on sites like amazon. They help keep your room smelling nice and fresh and also improve the air quality in your room!
  2. Watch an episode of your favourite TV show. You don’t have to do a whole binge, just taking half an hour for an episode is a great way to take a break.
  3. Go for a walk! Just getting some outside air, exercise, and taking some time away from life’s stresses actually does wonders for your mental health.
  4. Buy some plants! It’s been shown that having plants inside helps lower feelings of depression, as well as improve the air quality of your home. Personally, I love succulents as well as medium sized leafy plants, and always keep a couple of fresh flowers in my room.
  5. Shut off all social media for an hour before bed. Yeah, this one is hard and many people may deny that social media effects your mental health. But think of it this way — so much is always going on with social media, and the constant notifications get hectic. Isn’t it nice before bed to just be able to calm down, relax, and not be distracted while you take some time to read, draw, watch TV, listen to music, etc? The amount of things you can do in this hour are endless.
  6. Pick up an old hobby! I feel the older we get the less hobbies we have. Take some time to do something you love that you haven’t had time for in a while.
  7. Use a face mask! I mean, if you’re into skin care you’re probably doing this anyway, but it’s also a great way to relax and feel refreshed.
  8. Invest in something nice for yourself! In particular, maybe a cute new outfit, makeup product you’ve been dying to try, nice decor for your room or a nice candle. Any of these things can help as a little pick me up. Personally, I’m gonna use this one soon and invest in a good candle. I love Bath and Body Works as much as the next gal, but their candles are actually kinda pricey and for the same amount you can get a nice soy candle with a nice, relaxing scent.
  9. Go on a date with yourself! It can be weird at first, but hanging out by yourself at a cute cafe, at the beach or wherever works best for you can be a great way to relax mid-day and take some time for yourself.
  10. Take a really long shower. I don’t even think I have to explain this one, but nothing really feels better than taking a nice, warm shower before bed and going to bed feeling clean and relaxed (bonus points if you’ve just washed your sheets).

Anyways, I hope everyone can find something on this list that’s new and works well for them! If you guys like these tips I’ll compile another list in the future. Make sure to take care of yourselves, it’s a crazy world out there.

Love you all,

Meredith