It's a scary time right now. That's for sure. There are a lot of uncertainties and unknowns, and it can be really hard to stay calm and focused on other things when you're inundated with the news, social media posts, and texts from your friends and family asking you if you're staying safe. It seems like everything you read, watch, and hear is all about the coronavirus. While it's important to stay educated about what's going on in the world right now and what you can do to help (e.g., stay home if you can, avoid panic-buying), it's also crucial to take care of yourself and others at this time.
Just knowing that someone is looking out for you and vice versa can make all the difference during a scary time like this. So to help, we've compiled a list of self-care ideas you can do for yourself and your loved ones right now. It helps to remember that we're all together in this. Do you have an idea or suggestion? We'd love to hear it. Send us an Instagram DM or comment at @thethirty.
Things to Do for Yourself
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Meditation can help improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression, boost your mood, and also reduce stress. Make it part of your daily routine and take a few minutes to close your eyes and breathe in and out. There are plenty of meditation apps to download, like Headspace or Calm, that make it easy for newbies.
2. Watch Something That Makes You Laugh
Turn off the news for a bit and start streaming something that makes you smile. It could be a silly show on Netflix or Hulu or a funny video on YouTube or Instagram. Laughter is the best medicine, right?
If you're social-distancing and staying at home, it's easy to forget to get up and move around. Make it a point to set aside time during the day to exercise with an at-home workout, or remember to get up and stretch every 30 minutes or so.
4. Open That Nice Bottle of Wine
You know, the one you got as a gift and have been saving for a "special occasion"? This might not be the special occasion you were thinking of originally, but use this time to treat yourself and enjoy it.
There's nothing like a relaxing bath to make you feel a little calmer and refreshed. And if you don't have a bathtub, a warm shower will do, too.
6. Take a Break From Social Media
Whether it's for an hour or for the entire evening, taking a break from the endless scroll on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook just might give you some peace of mind. It's great to stay updated with what's going on right now, but sometimes hearing everyone's take on the subject can get a bit overwhelming, and you can go down a rabbit hole of worry and despair. (Dramatic? Maybe, but isn't it true?) Set aside some time each day for a social media ban of sorts.
Putting your thoughts to paper can help you process and release your feelings. You can write about your worries and observations, but you can also write down the things you are grateful for at the moment.
8. Take a Walk Outside
If you can, go outside and take a walk. Or step outside in your backyard, patio, or balcony for some fresh air. Just remember if you're walking outside, you should still maintain distance from others (about six feet).
Like the fancy wine, you might know what we're talking about here—that expensive face mask, cream, bath salts, candle that you haven't used yet because it's just so nice. Take it out and indulge.
10. Take a Nap
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If you have some time, go ahead and take a quick nap. A midday siesta can be so refreshing. The National Sleep Foundation says one of the benefits of naps is a psychological one. It can be a way to feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
What better way to get your mind off things for a bit than losing yourself in a book (whether it's new or your favorite one) or an interesting podcast?
12. Keep Up With Your Everyday Routines
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Just because the situation isn't normal right now doesn't mean your everyday routines have to be upended completely. Keep up with them if you can, whether it's your skincare routine, haircare, or even cleaning or cooking. Sticking to your daily habits can bring some normalcy to your days.
13. Clean and Organize
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Now is the time to get to that decluttering or organizing project that's been on your list for a while. It will make you feel useful, and it might even be fun to do some problem-solving, trying to figure out where you want to put everything.
14. Do Something You've Been Putting Off
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Again, now's the time to cross something off your to-do list since you're probably not out and about seeing friends right now. Chances are you'll feel so much better and accomplished when you're finished. For me, I recently used my quiet time at home by myself to finally get my taxes done.
15. Sing or Read Aloud
This works if you're quarantining with your roommates or partner, or if you live alone—but especially if you live alone and can't get out to see people. It can get super quiet at home, so why not turn on your favorite song and belt it out? Or read aloud that book you can't put down. It's nice to hear your voice sometimes, right?
Things to Do for Others
16. Offer to Help an Elderly Neighbor or Relative
Older people are more vulnerable right now, so help them out by offering to run errands for them, like picking up groceries or prescriptions. Just remember to practice safe social distancing when doing so.
17. Make a Donation
If you are able to, research a charity or cause you would like to support and donate to during this time. For example, if you donate to Feeding America, every $1 you donate provides 10 meals to families across the U.S. You can also donate to your local food bank, whether it's supplies or money.
18. Send a Friend a Lotion or Hand Soap That Sparks Joy
This idea comes from Who What Wear's editor in chief, Kat Collings. Send someone a thoughtful gift to let them know you're thinking about them, especially one that can come in handy at this time. You don't have to go to the post office or shipping center to mail it out. Just buy it online and send to your friend's address.
19. Schedule FaceTimes or Video Calls With Friends
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It can get pretty lonely right now, and this is where technology can be helpful. Schedule some time to do a group video chat with some of your friends to check in on how they're doing. It can be a regular chat, or you can get creative. We've seen friends eating a meal, watching a movie, working out, or even playing a game together virtually.
20. Offer to Do Something for Someone Who Can't Work Remotely
Some people aren't able to work from home, and if you know someone who can't, offer to do something nice for them, like ordering dinner or running an errand (while practicing safe social distancing, of course).
21. Donate Blood
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This is something to think about if you're able to. The Red Cross says it is seeing a significant drop in donations right now, "which is limiting the ability for the nation’s blood supply to be adequately replenished." The organization and other experts say that the coronavirus doesn't pose any known risks to blood donors during the donation process or blood drives.
22. Order Takeout or Buy a Gift Card
Preferably from your favorite neighborhood joint. Restaurants are being hit hard right now, so if you can, support local businesses by ordering food or purchasing gift cards from your favorite spots.
There's nothing more meaningful than a card or letter from someone you love. Spend your extra downtime at home writing some notes to your friends and family.
24. Say Thank You
When you do go outside to pick up groceries or run errands, make sure you say thank you and are polite to the people who are working. This should be a given all the time but can be especially thoughtful right now.
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.