This year has been stressful in many ways. With a global pandemic, social injustices, and a hectic presidential election, just to name a few. 2020 has not been easy. For many, our mental health has been put on the backburner and chipped away without resources, counselors and routines of self-care we did outside of the house. But throughout quarantine, I’ve discovered some at home self-care to keep my sanity.
1. Reading for enjoyment
Pre-COVID, I can’t even remember the last time I picked up a book to read that wasn’t a school requirement. Sure, watching movies and TV is entertaining and can lead to long hours of binge-watching, but maybe you’ve watched so much that you need to just switch it up, and there is nothing like immersing yourself in a really good book.
My favorite books to read while in quarantine were "First & Then" by Emma Mills, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky, and "Becoming" by Michelle Obama.
2. Learning new skills
For the beginning part of quarantine, I was in school, but once summer came and I no longer had a bunch of things I had to learn and study. I found myself eager to learn about new things that I didn’t have time for before. That is when Master Class and YouTube came in handy. I’m a communications major in school and I love storytelling, so when I found Robin Roberts’ Master Class on Effective and Authentic Communication, I was hooked. I watched, took notes and absorbed all the great information she had to offer.
If you don’t want to pay for a Master Class subscription or if you don’t have a free hookup through your school as I do, YouTube is a great way to learn new skills. You can search for any topic you want and I’m sure there will be a bunch of videos to choose from to learn about your new skill or topic. For example, the YouTube channels WhiteBoardFinance and Practical Wisdom give great financial tips about stuff I wouldn’t learn in school.
As I said, this year has been stressful and overwhelming, to say the least. For many of us it has been really hard to keep up with our mental health, especially without some of the resources we normally count on. Something that has been huge in preserving my own mental health is meditating. Meditation allows me to take a step back from the world and center myself. Meditation can be intimidating for those who have never done it before, but all you have to do is start. My favorite way to meditate is through guided meditations from the YouTube channel Live The Life You Love. You can also look for all different kinds of meditations on YouTube, Spotify and various meditation apps.
4. Developing an at-home skincare routine
I have struggled with acne and skincare almost my whole life. I love to try out new products, but sometimes my skin doesn’t love them back. I also am used to wearing a full face of makeup very often, but during quarantine that all changed. I didn’t have anywhere to go, so I went through the longest period of time ever without wearing makeup. Instead, I started to focus on my skincare. I followed a few estheticians on Twitter (@LaBeautyologist and @MakeupForWOC are my favorites), got lost on skincare TikTok, and started to revamp and develop my own skincare routine. My skincare routine starts my day off perfectly — I end up feeling fresh and good about myself.
5. DIY nails
I am a long acrylic nail enthusiast. Before COVID I would go get a new set of fresh long acrylics every two weeks. I hated not having nails on. When all the nail salons and nail techs closed down, I had nowhere to go to get my claws, and a lot of people faced the same dilemma, hence the DIY nails trend. There are a ton of TikTok and YouTube videos out there giving quick and easy at-home DIY nail tutorials.
6. Practicing makeup
Like I said, before COVID I was used to wearing a full face of makeup almost every day, but I oftentimes got stuck in a makeup routine rut of wearing the same thing every day and not really having the time to be creative and try new things. Quarantine is the perfect time to do that! Not having anywhere to get ready and rush to can give you some extra time to get creative with your makeup looks and try out new makeup products, techniques, and trends.
Personally, I love to cook, so quarantine became the perfect time to try out some new recipes. One of my favorite things to do is find a yummy recipe online, blast some music and dance around the kitchen while cooking a delicious meal. In a sense, it’s been very therapeutic for me, and it leads to some great comfort foods. Here are a couple of my favorite recipes that I’ve made during quarantine.
Preserving your mental health is so important, and we all need a release for all the emotions we are feeling. In times of stress and heightened emotions, I have always turned to my journal. I am a writer way more than I am a talker and I find that writing out how I’m feeling is a great release. The best part is that no one is gonna see it except me. You don’t have to worry about writing perfectly, messiness, or judgment. That’s the whole point. You can do a big word vomit of everything that is going through your mind. And you don’t even have to look back at what you wrote if you don’t want to. Just write and let go.
9. Listening to podcasts
Sometimes you want to listen to something entertaining, but you don’t have the time to sit down and dedicate time to watch a movie or show. Podcasts are great for that! I love to listen to podcasts while getting ready in the mornings, doing chores around the house, or even on my commute. There are podcasts on just about anything! My favorites are "We Bought A House" with Claudia Sulewski and Finneas and "Souls at Sundown" from Meghan Hughes.