by Cheyenne Benyi

The beginning of 2020 has been difficult, to say the least, and many are still struggling to adjust to a new way of living while stay-at-home orders are in place. Whether it’s adjusting to new work procedures, young children suddenly requiring homeschooling or being home alone day after day for the unforeseeable future, it’s safe to say that stress levels are increasing overall. While we progress through these unprecedented times, it’s essential to prioritize your mental, emotional and physical health. Here are ten things you can do to help maintain your self-care at home:

  1. Schedule an appointment for “me time.” Actually block off time in your calendar to make sure you’re giving yourself the attention you deserve. Let’s face it, if you don’t actually put it in your calendar, someone or something will steal from that time.
  2. Make a done list instead of a to-do list. Seeing your list of accomplishments grow everyday will help fight those nagging feelings like your days are being wasted while you’re stuck inside.
  3. Learn something new that’s unrelated to your job. This will help keep your brain stimulated while preventing encroaching feelings like your job is taking over your entire life while you’re at home. Sign up for Master Class and learn the ins and outs of interior designing, what goes into filmmaking, how to become a standup comedian, or join Duolingo and finally learn that new language you always said you would.
  4. Go for a long walk. Find a good podcast or audiobook, pop in your headphones and go explore somewhere new.
  5. Change the scent of the room to match what you’re doing. Studies show that different scents have physiological effects on mood, productivity and stress levels. Here are a few to get started:
    • Brain boost. Scents like peppermint, sweet orange and eucalyptus have been shown to increase memory, concentration and energy levels.
    • Relax a bit. Scents like lavender, ylang-ylang and rosemary have been shown to have a calming effect, promote deep sleep and reduce cortisol levels.
    • Be happy. Scents like lemon and vetiver have shown to be a good choice to reduce stress and anxiety and to enhance mood overall.
  6. Exercise at home. There are 1,440 minutes in a day and a 30-minute workout translates to only 2% of your entire day. Instead of saying “I can’t spare the time to workout today,” see how it feels to say, “I won’t spare 2% of my day to take care of my physical health.” Once that realization sinks in, jump online and figure out what type of at-home workout is best for you. Whether you’re interested in cardio, strength training, yoga, barre or pilates, there is a program out there for you.
  7. Catch up on your sleep. Sleep plays a huge role in your emotional and physical health and your overall general wellbeing. Now is the perfect time to get your body on a regular sleep schedule.
  8. Learn how to eat healthy. The food you consume can help promote cardiovascular health and brain function. Now is the perfect time to learn how to incorporate these foods into your diet and teach yourself how to cook a few healthy dinners to throw into your normal rotation. Look for recipes that call for oily fish, berries, nuts and seeds or eggs.
  9. Play a game. Specifically, play a logic or puzzle game to help keep your brain stimulated without it feeling like you are working.
  10. Pamper yourself by making a DIY face mask. Most at home masks call for ingredients that can be found in most pantries like sugar, yogurt, avocados or coffee!