We are currently living in a new reality of working from home, living from home, and being present at home. It's hard to be productive when you're always stressed and anxious from the negative cycle of news, financial stress plus a new life of being cooped up at home. It is important to remember that these are unprecedented times, and there isn't a rule book for how we are supposed to feel and live.
On that note, how are you feeling during this time? Are you figuring out how to stay calm and productive during this time? Firstly it is okay not to be either of those things and softening your expectations of what you should be doing will help you transition to this new reality with less anxiety. Despite what people on social media are doing, it is entirely okay not to be making sourdough bread or learn a new skill while you are on lockdown.
However, I do believe there are plenty of self-care habits that can be implemented to lay the foundations and help you regain a sense of calm and stay on track while working and living from home.
1. Follow A Routine
Okay, this sounds a bit counterintuitive, but I promise you routines actually help to reduce stress and increase productivity. Research shows that having a routine can result in psychological benefits, including treating anxiety, stress, and insomnia. A daily morning routine can prepare you to take on the day full of energy, confidence, and a clear mind. While a relaxing night routine can help your mind and body unwind for a good night's rest.
2. Nourish Your Body
With all this extra time from not needing to commute, now is the time to tune into your body and give it all the nutrients it needs. It's important to get your necessary macros and micros each day. Eat as many whole foods as possible and take vitamins or supplements as needed. Most importantly, don't forget to hydrate!!
3. Get Enough Sleep
Now that you're working from home, you can finally catch up on some much-needed rest! Good sleep can improve concentration and productivity, prevent depression, and help with your social and emotional intelligence. Most healthy adults require between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at our best. Make sure you catch some zzZ's so you can feel energetic and alert for the day ahead!
4. Exercise Regularly
30 minutes of exercise daily is known to reduce stress and increase productivity. Exercise looks different for everybody, it doesn't only include going to the gym. You can lay out a mat and workout from home, dance around your house, do yoga, etc. Exercise can be whatever you love, as long as you get some movement going!
Here are some virtual workout classes you can attend while the gyms and studios are closed. Make sure to continue to support your local fitness studios during this trying time.
Meditation has been increasingly popular, and there's a reason for it! Meditating has a plethora of benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, enhancing self-awareness, and improving sleep and focus for higher productivity. Don't knock it 'til you try it! Take some time to connect with yourself and practise mindfulness each day.
Some meditations to try during the lockdown:
Writing in a journal is a useful way of combating stress and anxiety. Journaling allows you to process all the thoughts that may be floating in your head. Often, we have subconscious negative self-talk that plays over and over in our heads. Journaling allows us to confront and process these negative thoughts so we can be more confident and productive!
During times like this, it is important to practice gratitude and remember all that we have to be thankful for. Implementing a daily gratitude practice is scientifically proven to help improve physical and psychological health, enhance empathy, reduce aggression, and even help you sleep better!
7. Tidy Up
I cannot function in a cluttered environment. I thought it was just me, but Marie Kondo agrees! Tidying up and better organization benefits our well-being and productivity. Decluttering your space allows for clear thinking, improves efficiency, decreases frustration, and it just makes you feel better about yourself in general!
8. Take A Bath
A Japanese study shows that bathing regularly results in less stress, tension, anxiety, anger, hostility, and depression. Warm baths are also known to aid in improved quality of sleep and overall well-being- the best time to have a bath is 90 minutes before your bedtime. What are you waiting for? Put it in your diary, run your bath water and don't forget to add some Verdant Alchemy Bath Salts for an at-home spa treatment!
9. Reward Yourself
All work and no play will drive anyone mad! It's important to celebrate your hard work and reward yourself for the effort you've put in. Treating yourself helps you feel energized, cared for, and drives you further to achieve your next goal or milestone!
Controlled breathing exercises are proven to help lower blood pressure, promote feelings of calm and relaxation, and relieve stress. Your breath is your life source and one of your best defences against daily stress, frustration, and existential angst. Check-in with yourself throughout the day and take a second to just breathe. To practice deep breathing lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on the lower part of your stomach. Take a deep breath in through your nose, taking the air right down into the base of your lungs, you should feel your stomach pushed out against your hands. Breathe out through your mouth until your lungs are completely empty- you should feel your stomach pushed out into your hands as you exhale. Repeat. It is much harder than it sounds, but you will feel rewarded after the exercise.