7 Easy Habits to Cultivate during COVID-19 Quarantine
There's a lot of really stressful and chaotic things happening right now due to COVID-19. And being stuck at home kinda sucks. But there are also opportunities to slow down, rest, and cultivate new habits. If you're really struggling and another "to do" list feels like too much, I get that. Just try one or two of these that feel easiest to you. If you're feeling up for it, try all 7! Each one can add a different perspective to quarantine and make it all a little more livable.
- Mindfulness and Meditation
If you’ve never practiced meditation, start with just a few minutes each day. I like to start with guided meditations through YouTube or apps- A few of my favorites are Headspace, Insight Timer, and Calm. Guided meditations are a simple way to start, because you can just follow along.
Mindfulness is a meditation in itself. It simply means being present to your internal and external surroundings without passing judgment. Start with a sensory awareness meditation:
Stop right now and look around. Name 5 things that you see. Now name 4 things that you can touch. 3 things that you can hear. 2 things that you can smell. One thing that you can taste.
I know there is a lot of chaos, stress, negativity, disappointment, and suffering happening right now. That is exactly why gratitude is so important. It brings us back to what is good. Gratitude doesn’t have to happen at the exclusion of negative emotions, confusion, or disappointment. Life is so much more complicated than “all good” or “all bad.” But gratitude helps us build resilience to get through the difficult times.
Start with a simple gratitude journal. It can be on paper, in a word doc, an app, anywhere you like. Just list out a few things you’re grateful for, and try to continue to write more each day without repeating anything.
Reflection can happen written down, spoken aloud to a friend, or simply in your mind. You can reflect on your day, on particular emotions, on relationships, on things that are bothering you, on how your body feels.
Reflection helps us dig a little deeper. You can ask yourself what you’re learning about a particular situation, what’s going well or not going well, what you want, what matters to you. It can be anything you want! It simply helps you get in tune with your body and heart.
- Free Exercise
No gym? No problem. There’s an endless supply of apps, websites, and YouTube channels out there with every kind of workout you can think of, and many of them are completely free. A few of my favorites right now- the Down Dog app for yoga, the official Zumba YouTube channel, and a good ol’ free walk outside.
- Keeping in Touch with Friends and Family
Not having the option to see our friends and family suddenly makes us feel the pull to reach out, and that’s a really good thing. I’m somewhat used to this as I live in a different state than several of my friends and most of my family, but the quarantine has also reminded me to check in with my local friends.
Reach out to at least one person each day, especially if you live alone. And if that feels frustrating because you want people to reach out to you, I get that and I’ve been there. But we’re all stressed right now, and everyone is hoping someone will reach out. Choose to be that person, even if it hurts your ego a little.
- Reduced Social Media Time
I’m not really advocating for reduced screen time right now. There are a lot of amazing ways we can use screens to our benefit, including several of the things on this list! But what I do think we should reduce is mindless scrolling and social media time.
That might also include reducing your news intake if it’s just adding more stress or reducing mindless Netflix binges. If your screen time drains your more, numbs you out, stresses you out, or get that inner critic of comparison rolling in your head, it’s not worth it.
While it’s good to support local restaurants doing take out right now, you’re still probably making more meals at home than usual. Take the opportunity to try a new recipe, or learn a cooking skill. Enjoying the art of cooking will make meal preparation so much more fun, and it’s a skill you’ll take with you long after the quarantine is over.