Welcome back to my blog!
It has been exactly 6 months since my last post, an open letter to myself, expressing my hopes, dreams and goals for the year. At the time, this seemed like a good idea.
Well, six months have passed and it is safe to say, so far, 2020 has been completely facocta (a fancy Yiddish word for shit-storm).
Between a global pandemic, tragic deaths in the hundreds of thousands, and racial injustice, let me be completely honest with you when I say it has been hard to stay positive.
I don’t need to tell you that right now, everything is not fine. And with so much out of our control, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But the one silver lining of quarantine has been having the extra time to revisit how I live my daily life.
Over the last few years, DBT (which stands for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) has taught me how to cope with distress and pain, two things in life that are unavoidable and unpredictable. When things seem out of control, having a tool kit of self care activities can help relax, distract and cope with the uncertainties of life. It is important to note: distracting is not the same thing as avoiding. Distracting yourself through self-care activities gives you time to regulate those emotions and chill the f!ck down when dealing with distressing situations. When you feel good, you are able to do good for yourself and others.
So here is a list of 12 self care activities that have helped keep me sane over the last three months.
1. Media detox.
Let me be clear: ignorance is NOT bliss. It is important to know what is going on in the world. But sometimes, taking a break and setting limits to how much you watch and when, makes you feel more in control. I like using theSkimm’s daily newsletter which offers a daily summary of current events.
2. Don’t forget to eat!
Make sure you are eating and drinking enough during the day, Set a timer as a reminder. And don’t shame yourself if you need to share (or don’t share) that lactose-free pint of Ben and Jerry’s Netflix and Chill with someone you love.
3. Learn something new!
Lynda.com is an online learning portal with over 3500 tutorials led by experts on various topics and skills. I’m currently learning a course about photography because I would like to take better photos for my blog and ‘gram! The Toronto Public Library offers free access to the entire catalog!
4. Create your own soundtrack.
Build a list of songs that get you feeling good. Create one for every mood. Search for one on spotify or even better, borrow mine.
5. Get cozy!
Hang out in your coziest clothes and even rock the blanket fort. Embrace the comfort and look good while you relax. My favourite designer shmatas’s are Free City, Aviator Nation and Chaser.
6. Get moving with FitOn.
There are not enough amazing things to day about the app FitOn. The app is free, super fun and allows you to exercise in the comfort of your own home. Plus you have workouts led by celebrity trainers like Julianne Hough (Dancing with the Stars), Gabrielle Union (Bring it On, LA’s Finest) and Cassey Ho (Blogilates). Oh, did I mention it’s free?
7. Watch a funny movie!
Allow yourself to watch something fun, so stick to movies and shows that make you laugh and keep your spirits high. They just uploaded Funny Girl and The Mirror Has Two Faces on Netflix. Is there anything Barbra Streisand can’t do?
8. Bring fresh flowers into your home.
Every Monday morning I go for a walk, clear my head and buy myself a fresh bouquet of flowers. Flowers are a great way to brighten up your home and liven things up a bit.
9. Read a book.
And even better? Support local bookstores in your city and neighborhood. In Toronto, I love GLAD Day Bookshop and Type Books.
For the last two years, I have been writing in my journal twice a day: first thing in the morning (to set my intention for the day) and at night before bed (I make a to-do list, express gratitude and clear my mind). Guided journals are a great way to get started and I have found a lot of success in the past with the Goal Getter journal and The Happiness Planner.
11. Get gaming.
Video games are a great way to boost your mood, connect with others and literally escape to another world. I recently got to play some of the retro NES games on the Nintendo Switch and it is a lot of fun! You can also play some of your favourite games for free online here.
12. Connect with people.
Whether it’s by blood or by choice, stay in touch and maintain long term relationships with the people who truly get you. Give them a call, send them a text or even better, go on a socially distant walk to catch up and shoot the shit. Just reach out and get social.
I really hope you take some time today to try one of these activities. It’s hard to take moments for yourself without feeling guilty all the time (the mom guilt is real, especially during a pandemic). But at the end of the day, the way to care for others is to first care for yourself. This is something that is entirely in our control and sometimes doing things that makes you feel good is the best way to deal with all the meshuggah.
Have you seen anything on this list you want to try? What are some activities you are currently doing to boost your mood? Please be sure to share with me in the comments below and be sure to follow me on IG for regular updates, motivation and tips!
Stay well and be safe!
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