Living in a crisis as extended and intense as the COVID-19 outbreak isn’t something the average person is prepared for. As anxiety and isolation have weighed on us for weeks, it only makes sense that we’d be exhausted. We know it won’t be like this forever, but it can be hard to remind ourselves of that while we’re in the midst of this pandemic. We’re becoming aware of our own vulnerabilities more than ever. We’re all feeling overwhelmed by the challenges that are mounting against us, whether they’re finances, health, loneliness, or grief. This is why it’s so crucial for us to make sure we give ourselves a break. Without intentionality it can be so easy to spend every waking moment worrying about our lives and ingesting news. While recognizing those feelings and staying informed is important, we have to take steps to give ourselves moments of peace and joy as well.
With the knowledge that this crisis is ongoing, we have to also recognize we’ll burn out if we spend all our time worrying. We might not have the full access to our normal relaxation repertoire but there are still ways we can take time in quarantine to give ourselves comfort and love. Mini escapes can be a great way to get a little relief. A mini escape is anything you can do to distract yourself from your normal stress and worries for a few moments, a little paradise in the midst of hard times. Here are a few I suggest:
– Spend more time with your thoughts. In times of great stress, silence can be frightening. But giving yourself the chance to reflect on the changes we’re all going through and recenter yourself can be a great way to add more peace and balance to your life. Try carving out some time in your schedule to journal or meditate. Meditation can seem intimidating at first but there are so many apps that can help make the practice more approachable and personalized. Insight Timer, Calm, Headspace and Aura are all great apps and a good place to start if you’re looking to work more mindfulness into your routine. If you’d rather meditate while connecting with a guide, Jay Sheddy releases live meditations every day that are only 20 minutes long. Meditation is a vital part of my daily routine and I try to work it into my Carrie Ann Conversations livestreams when I can; you’re always welcome to join me there to take a few moments for yourself.
– Move around. Take yourself on a walk around the neighborhood (maintaining distance!) to get some fresh air and sunshine. If you can’t get out, look up a quick workout you can do from home and listen to some music that gets your blood pumping. If you’re not a workout person, it can be enough just to put on your favorite playlist and have your own dance party. It might sound silly but I guarantee it’ll make you feel better.
– Change your environment. Whether it’s rearranging the decor on your shelves, moving furniture around, bringing flowers in from your yard or even clearing out clutter, refreshing your living space can do wonders for your peace of mind. Changing our surroundings can give us an easy way to feel productive, accomplished, and revitalized.
– Spend some time with your favorites. Pull out your favorite book for an afternoon, or put on your favorite movie. I’ve recently broken into my DVD collection and rediscovered two of my favorites: Moulin Rouge and Watership Down. It’s amazing how much surrounding myself with familiar media, culture I have connections with and memories of, can help me connect to a comfort outside of this moment.
– Give yourself a spa day. Paint your nails, do a face mask, draw a bath for yourself. Use whatever special skin products you’ve been saving, or even just take a long shower with a candle and some music. Give yourself whatever you need to feel pampered and relaxed.
– Treat yourself. Dig out an old recipe for special occasions or just make a simple tray of your favorite cookies. Invite household members to help, and maybe even experiment a bit. Try making your favorite meal if you have the ingredients, or looking up what new thing you can make with the ingredients you have on hand. Cooking is so many gifts at once: a relationship builder, an act of creation, and a way to nourish our bodies, all in one.
– Learn something new. Find an online class that’s being offered for free, start learning a language, or just spend a little time online researching something you’ve always been curious about. You don’t have to expect yourself to earn a master’s degree in this quarantine, but picking up an interest and discovering something new is a great way to reconnect with our passion and intellectual side in a time that can make us feel stagnant.
– Talk to someone you love. If you’re living with family or loved ones, try putting effort into a special meal you all love. Set aside whatever time you’re able, even if it means having pancakes for dinner. Get all your friends together on a Skype call for a wine night, to do games or puzzles together, or have everyone come prepared with crazy questions to ask each other. It’s such a good reminder that, while it may feel like it right now, we are not as alone as it seems.
– Don’t forget to laugh. Humor can be one of the best escapes from hardship. If there’s a funny show, a comedy that always makes you laugh or a Netflix special you treasure, give yourself permission to spend a little time laughing today.
What do you do to give yourself little escapes from our current challenges? Let me know here or on the Carrie Ann Conversations Instagram what mini escapes you love to take yourself on while we all get through this together.