Choose Productivity and Self Care

I think that most of us can agree that the past month has likely been the strangest time we’ve experienced in our lives.  The outbreak of COVID-19 has saturated our thoughts, our news streams, our social lives, and our daily routines.  It’s evoked fear, panic, worry and hoarding, but also given the gift of unexpected down time and family connection.  During times of uncertainty, a regular practice of self-care is even more important than usual. Many people think self-care is an individual act, but in reality, when we allow ourselves the grace and the time for ourselves, it positively affects all of our other relationships as well.  When we’re feeling the most vulnerable is usually the time when we can dig deep, practice ourselves, our internal reflection, and maintain our mental stability for weathering storms.  What we starve shrinks; what we feed strengthens; what we practice we become.

As I am writing this, it seems we’re all home-bound for much more time than we’d like. The kids are out of school, we’re all trying to work from home and navigate new territory around all household responsibilities.  It does seem daunting, but luckily, we have the ability to choose and decide this time will be productive and a season of growth.  Here are some of my favorite things and suggestions for maintaining mental clarity and a positive attitude to help through this season of ambiguity:

  1. BREATHE: The simplest of chores, the greatest of gifts.  Spend just 5 minutes each day to sit still, close your eyes, breathe, and practice gratitude.  What does this extra time make possible?  Try to make the exhale longer than the inhale, as that actives the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing your body to take a much needed “breather.”
  1. MOVE! Even if you can’t get to your gym or studio right now, go outside everyday for a walk.  Fresh air and a change of scenery can be game changers. We’re lucky to live close to the Swamp Rabbit Trail, so take advantage of it, whether walking, running, or biking. 
  1. STREAM: For added movement, most local studios have been offering live and on-demand streaming of their classes. If studio exercise is part of your normal routine, this can be extremely helpful in maintaining a sense of normalcy and accountability.  Check out the following for live streaming and online class options:
    1. Barre 3 Greenville
    2. Soul Yoga Studio
    3. Club Pilates Greenville
    4. Swamp Rabbit Crossfit
    5. OrangeTheory Fitness
  1. READ positive things. If you only listen to the news all day, chances are you are feeling overwhelmed, and negative.  It’s good to stay informed, but rather binge watch some good Netflix series rather than CNN. Here are my latest good reads:
    1. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
    2. The Joy of Movement, by Kelly McGonigal
    3. Rising Strong, by Brené Brown
    4. How Not to Die, by Michael Greger. MD
  1. LISTEN to positive things. If you can’t find time for a book, here are some great podcasts that always inspire:
    1. Alter with Nicole Meline
    2. Practice You with Elena Brower
    3. One Part Podcast, Conversations with Jessica Murnane
    4. But Not All At Once with Anne Smith
  1. CONNECT with friends and family. It can seem isolating right now, especially if you live alone, but luckily we have technology to keep us connected.  Make a point to call or FaceTime with a different friend or relative each day to chat, or even write some old fashion letters. Who doesn’t smile when they get a little love letter in the mail? 

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