Let’s face it, the work week was hard enough to get through in a normal world, but now, many of us are working doubles, finding odd jobs, homeschooling our children, working from home with a spouse or roommate, and the list could go on forever! The world around us has changed drastically over the past year for many stressful reasons which is why we are putting the importance back on self-care to improve our mental states so we can get back to the grind.
So many individuals are struggling to balance their lives and seek professional care for the strain that the Coronavirus has put on our lives. In fact, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Harvard University conducted a study in 2020 polling over 1,500 hundred individuals. What did they find? 55% of individuals polled were experiencing a significant amount of more stress in May of 2020 than in January 2020, and if that wasn’t enough already, here are some additional findings from the study:
- 58% were frustrated by not being able to do their normal activities
- 53% were now worried about their personal finances
- 53% reported being more bored
So to help give you a break from the work week and Covid in general, we polled women in all different scenarios of stress to get the most practical and inexpensive list of self-care tips and tricks to help you decompress and give back to yourself.
1: Take the most amazing bath—bubble bath, bath salts, scented candles, dim lighting, a face mask, an amazing book, and perhaps that favorite glass of wine.
One of the most relaxing things to do for your self care is to take a long luxurious bath or shower. There is something sensual and therapeutic about a warm bath with aromatics and candles to light a dimmed bathroom. It touches many of our senses: the touch of the warm water and frothy bubbles on your skin, the smell of aromatic salts and candles, the dim lighting relaxing your strained eyes, the taste of a chilled crisp white or rose wine, and the sound of spa music playing in the background to complete the gentle feel of a bath. Give yourself and break and relax. To aid in your fabulous bath, here are a few items that I have found in my shopping cart on a regular basis:
Rosewood oil bath salts , and of course,
2: Skip cooking and order comfort food for yourself and/or family & partner—my personal favorites are Vietnamese or Italian pasta.
With the global pandemic and self-isolation we have been facing for the past several months, it is even more important to retreat and give yourself permission to not cook for the day. Instead, pick a food delivery service and order whatever comfort food your heart desires. My personal favorite is a big bowl of Vietnamese Pho soup. It’s warmth and complex flavor profiles make it the perfect comfort food; especially during the wintertime or a slow rainy day.
If you cannot find the specific cuisine or restaurant on a food service delivery app like UberEats, go to the restaurant’s website or call them to see if they have their own delivery service. Because of the pandemic and the rules and regulations from state to state, many restaurants were forced to move to delivery only. In an effort to support local business, I have attempted to order out at least one night a week from a local restaurant.
3: Stay up that extra hour one night during the week when you know you can sleep in past your regular scheduled time and enjoy the peace and quiet before bed.
During the typical 9-5 work week, we usually have family, cleaning, cooking, errands…you name it to attend to after finishing the regular work day. Even if we do not do those things, the average person goes to bed around 10 PM which means we only get 5 hours of time to be relaxing before we start all over again the next morning! 5 hours!
I propose that you stay up an extra hour to do whatever makes you feel happy and relaxed. Sure, it might take some extra planning on your part to have the kids eat cereal the next day vs making breakfast, or skipping the gym or doing a lighter workout to sleep in the next day, but your mental health needs it too. We are usually too focused on our physical health that we neglect the importance of our mental health.
4: Indulge in watching things that are mindless—tik tok humor, YouTube make-up tutorials, true crime documentaries (my personal favorite).
These days there are endless amounts of things on the internet that you can absorb your time watching. Yes, it is equally important to disconnect from your device and focus on actual human interaction or reading, but sometimes, we need to shut off our brains in a way that only mindless scrolling can accomplish.
Listen, give yourself 20 minutes or so to mindlessly scroll at the end of the day and then, no more. Focus on your other responsibilities later because sometimes, we all just need to tune out the world and it’s stress. Just make sure that you avoid stimulating scrolling like politics, news, etc. We want to take away the stress and not add to it. I am personally obsessed with Bailey Sarian’s true crime and make-up videos, as well as, Killer Queens Podcast.
5: Take a break outside of your normal schedule and get out of the house to get your favorite coffee or tea—I used to go to a local organic coffee shop
One of the simple pleasures that I allow myself during the work day is to take a random break when I hit a wall at work (usually around 2 PM), and get out of the house and go grab a coffee at your favorite watering hole.
I used to go to this local organic coffee shop that was amazing and also sold pressed juices made in front of you, but unfortunately, they closed down because of Covid. Now, I frequent the Starbucks down the street from me. It’s less about from where and more about allowing yourself a mundane yet equally needed adventure during your day to motivate you and caffeinate you for the remainder of your work day.
6: Have your cake and eat it too! Eat a healthy dinner and then break that diet for one night and have your favorite sweet or crunchy snack.
Although I do love a good Magnum Double Caramel ice cream bar, my all time favorite dessert and guilty pleasure is a fresh macaron or a few. Fortunately or not, we happen to live right down the street from Norman Love. If you have never heard of Norman Love, it is an amazing chocolate shop that also sells very unique pastries and other delicious confections. They sell my favorite macarons. I adore the pistachio or rose flavor. I have tried many other shops to get the same quality and have even attempted on numerous occasions to make them from scratch at home, but they are never the same as the ones from Norman Love. If you live in the area of a Norman Love shop, you can actually pay for classes to learn how to replicate the sweets…now I am thinking my husband and I need to try this.
7: Order something small and random that you would never usually buy off of Amazon to give you something to look forward to receiving during the week.
Being completely honest, I do this on a regular basis. Amazon has become my best friend which can be dangerous. We do have Prime and we also have an Amazon credit card which will give you 3% cash back to spend at the end of the year. One of the most exciting things is to be anticipating something small and rather inexpensive that will brighten your day or week.
I recently bought those trendy leggings all over Instagram and tik tok that make your ass look amazing. #shameless. My regular go-to though is home or holiday decor. Since buying our first home, we have now been investing in holiday decorations, place settings, and seasonal decor that we organize and store now that we have space to do so (our old condo had no extra space for storage and the smallest closets). Get the legging off Amazon here.
8: Set aside time in the week to engage in a fun game with your hubs, the kiddos, or a roommate.
It’s so important to disengage from our electronics and with our life being digital now, we need the in-person socialization more than we realize. Fortunately, I have been able to work virtually since March of 2020, but that also means that I sit in front of a video conference between the hours of 7AM-5PM. It also means that I do not leave my home for the majority of the day, and with my husband out at work in a physical location, the only social interaction outside of a video is with my pets. Sure, that was amazing for about 2-3 months, but then cabin fever began to set in to the point where I was finding excuses to get out of the house within reason.
We are a big game family…we get way too overly competitive, but it is always in good fun and it brings us together. In these times, we need the interaction and the laughter that comes with it. A few of our favorite games are Jack-o-box which is a virtual interactive game that you play on your phones (it can get graphic so it is more of an adult game). We also enjoy old school games such as trivial pursuit, monopoly, scrabble, or yahtzee all of which can be found on Amazon. So turn off the electronics (unless it is an interactive game) and spend that much needed quality time!!