May Self-Care Ideas!

Hey everyone!

Often times when it comes to self-care, I’ve heard people repeat the concept that self-care is self-discipline. While I personally believe self-care can be so much more than that, I’ve really come to understand what people mean when they say this about self-care the last few months. While I still believe that concepts such as spa nights, taking baths and face masks are an important part of taking care of yourself and helping you stay relaxed — discipline is needed to take care of yourself of a daily basis.

During stay-at-home, while I have absolutely nothing but my own willpower to keep my life on track, I’ve really began to see the value in the idea of self-discipline as self care. The best way I can think of to explain is that good things are only good in moderation. For instance, as much as I love the idea of eating pizza and Chinese takeout every day — it would be expensive and wildly unhealthy. And as much as I really do love sleeping — if I don’t set alarms in the morning, I oversleep, leaving me feeling tired for the rest of whatever’s left of the day. As well, when it comes time to sleep the next night, I have trouble falling asleep — causing me stress and ruining my sleep schedule. And of course, as I explained a little in my stay-at-home routine blog, as much as it sounds like a great idea to sit around watching Netflix 24/7, it means I won’t complete any of my tasks, I’ll stay in bed all day, and I’ll eventually get extra-bored when I run out of shows to watch. I think you’re probably getting the point — while a lot of these things are great every once in a while, it’s the concept of moderation that keeps them from having a negative effect on my health, mental well-being and stress levels.

As such, I’ve kind of decided to take this self-care list in a bit of a different direction for this spring — and I’m sharing my favourite ways to maintain self-discipline in the face of having absolutely no responsibilities and nothing tying you down to your routine. If we can take the time to master these now, imagine how much more productive, relaxed, and happy we’ll all be with our new habits when we’re back to normal life!

Keeping A Routine

Okay, yes, I know I just went over this. But it’s really been crazy helpful in terms of holding it together. I think something that’s important when you’re trying to settle into a schedule is to remember you don’t have to have it down perfectly from the get-go. It’s hard! Trust me, it won’t happen overnight. It took me WEEKS to really get my schedule and wake up times to regulate — and then they ended up falling apart shortly thereafter. But even when you’re just starting out, having the routine will help you do everything you’ve been meaning to do, stay organized, have your own free time, and seriously help reduce stress. Plus, even when it’s not perfect, it’s still better than nothing.

Meditating 

This gets thrown around a lot on people’s lists, but I feel like it rarely gets taken to heart. I think a lot of people either mean to incorporate it into their life and forget, or don’t see how it will benefit them. If you have trouble remembering to meditate, but have been meaning to, start small! Try practicing every other night, or even just once a week. As well, with habits I’m trying to incorporate into my daily routine, I find it helps to do them first thing in the morning or right before bed — whichever you prefer. For those of those who don’t understand how meditating will help — that’s fair! But when was the last time you intentionally took a break, or checked in with yourself? Put aside all your responsibilities intentionally, and took a moment to relax? I’d suggest trying it once — there’s no harm, and if it doesn’t work out then it’s no biggie!

Morning Workouts

This is something I had always wanted to get into, but didn’t have the motivation to start before now. One of my biggest challenges with working out daily was the inconvenience of finding the right time — waking up early to do it was challenging (but otherwise the perfect time), the middle of the day really eats up a lot of time and leaves you feeling kinda gross and sweaty all day after. Early evenings after class ended up too close to dinner time (however I can see how after a 9-5 could be very convenient), and late night I just hated for so many reasons. I’m taking this time now to add in a little morning workout to my routine in hopes that I’ll stick with it once we’re back to normal. It’ll definitely be a challenge to keep it up every day in the future, but for right now, I love how refreshed it helps me feel, as well as how it’s trickier to put off and helps me get a good start on my day.

Positive Affirmations

This aspect of self-care is something I’ve really been trying to incorporate into my days lately. The way we speak to ourselves MATTERS. If nothing else, remember that “faking it ’til you make it” often works. If you don’t feel confident? Fake it. Saying positive things about yourself every day feels wrong? Fake it. There’s absolutely no downside to practicing positive affirmations, but so much to be gained. So go ahead, try it! Speak some good things into existence and try hyping yourself up every once in a while.

Eating Healthy 

Yes, this is another really obvious one — but it’s vital to feeling your best. It’s hard to get into the habit of eating healthy every day, but once you start it’s not hard to keep it up. The best way to maintain a healthy diet is to maintain balance — it’s next to impossible to never eat an unhealthy snack or meal EVER. I usually go for one unhealthy snack or meal per day, but the rest should ideally be healthy. As well, when you’re busy it’s almost impossible to maintain a healthy diet without prep — I always ensure to meal prep and have three breakfast/lunch ideas planned out and ready to make so I can switch it up when they get repetitive. I’ve found it really easy with my stay-at-home lifestyle to make all my food myself — with all my newfound time and energy, it’s actually a lot less stressful than ordering takeout — and the way it has me feeling is AMAZING.

Doing Things That Make You Feel Good About Yourself

This one is really anything you want it to be. Does doing your makeup every so often make you feel better about yourself? Maybe dressing up nice, or doing your hair, makes you feel a little more put together and normal during this absolute not-normal time? Who knows! It could be a face mask, or a hair cut, or whatever it’ll take to make you feel a little happier with your appearance. It’ll help you feel happier and more confident — which is important to maintaining good mental health right now.

Going Outside

This is extra important right now — get some fresh air! It doesn’t have to be anything huge — it can literally just be sitting on your front lawn, at a local park, or whatever your heart desires. Getting in some sunshine and getting out of our inside spaces is so important — it really will do your mental health a world of good. I’ve even been thinking of adding a little walk to my daily schedule to help me spend more time outside and to ensure I get a little fresh air every day.

Staying Organized

As someone who was formerly super-messy, totally unorganized and completely winging it in every situation, I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how much being organized reduces your stress. Even though I was a highly-functioning hot mess (never missed assignments, meetings or social activities, never lost or damaged items in my messy living space, never really felt my life was out of control), just knowing that everything is written down, planned out, or cleaned up just takes an extra load of worry off and frees up extra space in your brain. I know it’s all pretty obvious in theory, but you don’t really realize how helpful it is until you try it for yourself. No matter how organized you already are, take a day or two to deep-clean and re-organize all of your things, organize all your important deadlines and to-do lists, and schedule out everything you need to do. Not just once — doing this once a month will really help you keep everything under control and keep you stress-free.

+ Regular Self Care!

Don’t forget about taking time out of your schedule to treat yourself and unwind — it’s still important! Self-discipline isn’t the only kind of self-care out there. Plan a little spa night, take a day off to watch Netflix in bed, take a bath — whatever it is you love doing for self care most! This one’s really up to you, so feel free to free-style! (Plus, if you need any ideas, you can always check out my previous posts on self care.).

I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy, especially with everything beginning to re-open around the world. I’ve personally been finding re-opening weirder than quarantine — it’s strange having life at a different new-normal, and it’s hard to tell what’s actually safe or not. As such, I’ve kind of been leaning into my routines and habits even more lately — no matter what’s happening in the outside world, they remain consistent. As for what’s up in my life — I’m about to begin the job hunt for my first post-grad job! Getting started (especially with the world right now) is definitely a little daunting (but also incredibly exciting) — wish me luck!

Xo,

Meredith

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