Self-Care Tips, Ideas and Activities
Updated: Oct 17, 2020
Things you can do to keep feeling positive during lockdown - Ideas from our Virtual Mini Retreat
With weeks of being restricted to our homes and the uncertainty of what lies ahead it's so important to make sure we take care of our mental and physical health, keep reading for things you can try at home to create the perfect self-care routine...
Use a bullet journal to note down how you feel during the day so that when we're feeling down you can always look back and see all the good moments. This also helps remind us that everything is temporary.
You can use different colours or symbols or even stickers - make it your own and get creative! Which links onto the next tip...
Yaz, from Yaz Illustration, guided us through a lovely art class in the Virtual Retreat. Drawing, or any creative activity, can really help bring you into the present moment and when you get lost in what you're doing you'll notice that the mental noise starts to fade away. Her class was based on "taking our pencils for a walk" through nature, which leads us onto...
Yaz explained that walking and noticing the flowers and spring plants have been a helpful self-care activity that she's been doing during lockdown. To practice mindful walking you can slow down your pace, become aware of the ground beneath your feet with every step, listen to the sounds, smell the air (maybe even some flowers) or simply notice what's around you. You might spot something on your daily route that you've never noticed before.
The Virtual Retreat began with a heart-opening and self-love yoga sequence which included backbends to open the heart-centre and forward bends for moments of introspection and self-appreciation. Yoga has been a daily practice for me for years and has been invaluable during this time so I love sharing it with others and hope it helps them just as much. Some benefits of a regular yoga practice are that it helps calm the mind and reduces stress and anxiety, creates a better relationship with your body and how you feel about your body image, improves your flexibility and balance, and helps you become more conscious and aware.
Listening to music is a great way to boost your mood. Try spending some time creating the perfect playlist to get you in the mood for a great day or listen to it whenever you're feeling down. Also, if you feel like it let your body be free to express itself and have a little (or big) dance too. Movement feels great, especially being inside all the time, and self-expression cultivates happiness!
You can also use music as a way to calm down and relax. A suggestion made in the retreat was listening to nature sounds before bed, here's the playlist they recommended: https://open.spotify.com/user/spotify/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX4PP3DA4J0N8?si=VAnzu9rBTLSNpAgys2a9dA
In this retreat we did a meditation to bring stillness to the mind and body. It can help change the way you you see yourself and the world in a more positive light. Meditation has become a daily habit for me and I've witnessed it help many people so to share this practice with others during this time is so important.
If you'd like to listen to my guided meditations click here.
Just before the meditation class we did a little coconut-oil self-massage focusing on our hands. But you can massage any part of your body with other kinds of oil (got some (cold-pressed) olive-oil or sunflower oil in the kitchen cupboard? That'll do!) Massage is a great way to calm you down and stimulate the central nervous system.
I regret being grateful for things - said no-one, ever! Writing just three things a day of things or people that you appreciate help give you a positive outlook on the day ahead or put you in a great mental state before you sleep. Whether you do it first thing in the morning or right before bed cultivating the feeling of gratitude will always bring you joy.
Less Screen Time
It is OK that most of us have, at some point during this lockdown, been on a total Netflix binge. It is absolutely fine but as a daily habit it can definitely have its downsides (like headaches, less sleep, lack of motivation to do other things for example). So if you feel like you've had enough and would like to get out of the Instagram rabbit hole of endless fitness videos that you've saved but probably still haven't tried yet, here are some tips for you! (But if you're enjoying the screen time by all means carry on, these are strange times and if that's helping you cope then you do you)...
Set a daily limit for the amount of time on social media / watching TV
Turn off all screens one hour before bed and do other things instead (like one of the activities in this blog post)
Keep all electronic devises outside of the bedroom and use an alarm (instead of your phone) so that first thing in the morning you...
Resist the urge to check your emails / social media / TV and instead dedicate an hour or two to only yourself and your morning routine.
Connecting With Others
We ended the evening with a "Tea & Chat" discussing the importance of self-care habits and routines, and what we individually do to keep our well-being in check (and it's great that everyone does their own thing as it shows how different we all are and what works for some people might not for others). The chat also highlighted the importance of feeling connected with others and being in a community, even if it is just virtually for now. So even though some of us getting used to being in more try not to forget to regularly check in with that relative, friend, colleague etc. You never know who might be feeling extra lonely and not coping so well. But also feel grateful that we have the ability to call and virtually see each other.
Another suggestion that was made was to go outside and find a big expanse of space where you can look out and see everything, feeling connected to everyone and everything within that space and on the other side.
"I attended Sara's Virtual Mini Retreat and must admit that I am already looking forward to the next one. Self-help and mindfulness literature constantly reminds us about the power of the Now, however, with a crazy workload and busy lifestyles we often forget how to be in the moment; thinking instead about past events and what's next on the 'to-do-list'. During the retreat - which included yoga, meditation, self-massage and a drawing course (the latter taught by lovely Yazillustration) - I, for once, managed to forget everything around me and to tap into the now for the whole duration (4hrs) which was a wonderful experience. I also ended up carrying (or rather I was being carried by) the positive feeling into my week. Definitely can recommend it!" - Karolina Gruschka
"Sara is a very dedicated and skillful yoga teacher. I attended her virtual yoga and meditation retreat and learned a lot from the experience. If you want to go deeper in your practice from any level, I would highly recommend Sara as an instructor." - Nat B