Add a little extra self-care to your routine with these proven techniques
The pandemic has put our lives on hold, forcing most of us to spend more time alone than ever before. We’ve been deprived of socializing, travelling and plenty of adventure. There's been a resulting toll taken on mental health, probably more than we realize. But—along with these struggles—have come silver linings. We've been able to adopt new hobbies or pursue new passions. Maybe we've found deeper connections within relationships, or more flexibility and freedom in our work lives.
For me, the pandemic has come with major challenges, but has also been flooded with positivity. Here's the thing about positivity: it breeds more positivity! Good vibes attract good vibes, people. (If you don't know, now you know.)
This past year has strengthened relationships while filtering out others that were no longer serving me. I adopted an almost-daily yoga practice and am working on mediation. This year opened up my eyes to racism and my role and responsibilities. I launched a travel business called Adventurelust, and it is already delivering my dream life, offering mind-blowingly exciting opportunities in the near future.
All these changes point to one common theme, and that is self-care. The process is always a work in progress, but I like to say that I have become a self-care queen, if you will. It's an essential tool for surviving tough times. Test out these techniques and consciously (and consistently) apply them to your current situation...
1. Make yourself a priority
Your energy is precious and you have much to be grateful for, but life is demanding. We can get distracted, so prioritize 'me time'.
Unsplash/Dane WeltonIdentity things that make you happy: meditation, yoga, exercise, podcasts, music, hiking, time with friends and family, bike rides, or even binging Netflix. Apps like Insight Timer, Headspace and Down Dog help. Make a conscious effort to do those things, for no one else but yourself. Remove the devices that are flooding your mind with FOMO, and step away from people or forces that alter your energy.
Another big determinant of happiness is social media, as it can easily consume thoughts and our overall understanding of self-worth. If you don't see positive benefits from following someone on social media, unfollow them. (If this article is annoying you more than it's resonating with you, stop reading!) For the most part, we have control over what we let into our lives, and—at the very least—we have control over the impact we let it have on us. Choose to welcome only the positive.
Learn to prioritize your life so you can find a balance between work and other responsibilities, like relationships, physical and mental health. Learn your limits; learn when to keep pushing and when to take a breather.
2. Get a fresh perspective
Stepping out of your current situation can bring a whole new perspective. This may mean taking a few days off work or planning a self-care staycation.
Eckhart Tolle’s acclaimed book The Power of Now shares that there actually are no problems in the present. The only problems we perceive are anxieties about the past or stresses about the future. There is actually nothing wrong in the present moment. That is why we can be our happiest selves if we live in the now. The author encourages readers to step outside the mind to observe emotions, without falling victim to their power.
Another extremely powerful way to get clear your mind? Talk to someone. Bottling up your emotions will only cause them to combust in the long run. If your support system will listen, that’s fantastic, but going to see a professional, such as a therapist, will add fresh perspective. I even went to a tarot card reader the other day, something I have never done in my life, and it was an incredible experience. Her reading was scarily accurate and brought me a ton of clarity and peace, even if it may have only validated what I already knew deep down.
Unsplash/Viva Luna Studios
3. Manage relationships with balance
We are all evolving, so relationships take work, sacrifice and introspection. None of this is easy. We must know our value and our limits and ensure our needs are being met, while also respecting those of the people we value in our life. If you are being led down different paths, it’s okay to let go of relationships you have outgrown.
Author Bianca Sparacino recently wrote, "Nothing that is meant for you will ever get away. Love deeply, and without the need to possess or own. Let beautiful connections pass through you without attachment. Slam your heart into the people and the places and the things that ignite something deep inside of your soul, and I promise, I promise: the right things will stay. You will never lose what is for you."
Unsplash/Alexandru AceaLiving with an open mind, heart and soul is one of the best tips to self-care. Go in full force, and trust that what's meant to be will be.
Incredible, supportive, positive and uplifting people support self-care. Figure out who your support system is, and allow them to be there for you just as you would for them. (When distance is a challenge, I love communicating via voice notes, which facilitate communication in a personal but also non-demanding way.) Lean on your people, but don’t rely on anyone else for your own happiness. That part is on you!
4. Don't become stagnant
When we're unhappy, we must either accept it, do something about it, or leave it. The pandemic has prompted many to feel that their happiness must be put on hold because of external challenges, which is simply not true! (Take it from this digital nomad who launched a travel business during the worldwide travel bans.)
Are you living your happiest life? If not, what are you doing to get there? Author Greg Reid surmised, “A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.”
When I lack motivation, I remember Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and this assertion: “Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.”
Even small action gets the ball rolling, with inspiration flowing to propel you toward happiness. We are never stuck—we are in control of our happiness. Lifestyle changes can be scary, but if we are not happy in our current situation, we have no choice but to do something about it.
My career as a travel writer, editor, content creator and founder of Adventurelust is something I never would have imagined four years ago when I was working a nine-to-five office job. The pandemic has equipped me with techniques that keep my life in proper flow and my energy and surroundings positive. While I am immensely grateful for the contributions along the way, it’s empowering to know that the only person that truly got me here was myself. That’s self-love for ya.