Self Care Checklist for When You’re Stuck Indoors

self care

Around the world in an unprecendented situation, many of us are being asked to stay indoors. Unsurprisingly, this can take its toll on our wellbeing, where we’re not able to see our loved ones and we’re cooped up in our homes. It’s important that we don’t forget to take care of ourselves every day, both mentally and physically. So I encourage you to take some time for yourself throughout this period – no matter how little time you have or small your actions are. To get your started, here are a few ideas!

  • Write down your thoughts and feelings down in a journal
  • List out everything you’re grateful for
  • Watch a comfort film or TV series (mine would be Gilmore Girls, the West Wing or Friends!)
  • Video call a family member or friend for a chat
  • Read a book that’s been sitting on the shelf
  • Light a candle and meditate for even ten minutes
  • Do some exercise or stretching
  • Put some extra effort into your morning coffee
  • Treat yourself to a warm bubble bath
  • Try out a new cooking or baking recipe

Have some more? Leave them in the comments!

Tips for staying productive whilst working at home

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More and more, people are taking advantage of the freedom and flexibility to work at home, rather than in the traditional office space. And now with coronavirus sweeping across the world, more of us will be finding ourselves at home. With that comes a certain mind-set shift to ensure we stay productive and on top of our work as much as we can. Here are some tips:

Create yourself a workspace – it’s tempting to grab your laptop and chill in bed whilst you work. But that won’t help get yourself into work mode – or help you switch off later at night. Find a space away from your bed to work peacefully, whether that be the kitchen table, the sofa in your living room or a desk in the bedroom. Having clear separation between work and relaxation will help put yourself in the right frame of mind.

Get dressed – similarly, getting yourself out of your pyjamas and into some everyday clothes shifts your mood from lounging to work mode. It doesn’t have to be a full on suit or tonnes of make-up, but putting on proper clothes can really help to boost your productivity.

Set up a group chat – how many times do you ask the colleagues sitting around you a question? I do all the time! If you’re lucky enough to have Skype, Microsoft teams, Slack, or another instant messaging services on your laptop, use it to your advantage to ask questions, delegate, or discuss tasks. Even WhatsApp could work. This will also help you not feel so alone if you’re not used to work at home.

Put away the distractions – whilst you might take more advantage of the freedoms of being at home, like listening to music whilst you work, make sure you don’t find yourself giving into more temptations – like scrolling through Instagram, getting sucked into a YouTube video spree, or online shopping – just because nobody is around to see you do it. Put away your phone if you need to.

Try the Pomodoro method – if you find it hard to stop yourself from succumbing to your distractions or you find yourself constantly finding something to do other than the work you’re meant to be doing, try the Pomodoro technique. It consists of breaking down your worktime into 25 minute chunks with short breaks in between. That way, you always know when you can check your phone or make a tea during your next break and focus on the task at hand when it’s time to work.

If you have any of your own tips, let us know in the comments below. Happy working from home!

 

How are you spending your time?

Question of the week: How are you spending your time?

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. We all have the same amount of time in a day, yet we spend it so differently.

Some of us go after our goals with everything we have but don’t stop to enjoy it, some of us dream bigger than our imagination but hardly put anything into action, and some of us go along with the path set out for us even if it’s not what we want. And there’s every other combination in between.

We all have less and less time as we get older. Are you wasting it? We need to be more conscious of the excuses we’re using and be more honest about what is holding us back. Only then can we move onto what makes us happier and keeps us fulfilled. We might not spend every day to its highest potential, but we can always do better, before it runs out.

How to approach a new challenge practically

Taking on a new challenge can be thrilling. But the excitement can also wear off and quickly turn into overwhelm or dread when we think about our goal. Passion is essential, but some practical steps can really help us stay on track:

  1. Take it a week or a month at a time – instead of looking at the habits you want to form as ones you’ll need to live by forever or looking at goals as ones that will take years to achieve, dedicate yourself to your new challenge for a week or month. This could be challenging yourself to a new habit for a month or splitting out your goal into mini-goals that take you in the right direction. Having a ‘deadline’ in reach really helps to push yourself, stick to it and remind yourself that its doable. At the end, not only can you celebrate, but accomplishing it will leave you wanting to do more.
  2. Plan it out – there’s no point in throwing yourself into something without first having a plan of action. A habit tracker that you can tick off every day or a calendar where you schedule in time to reach your goal helps to keep you accountable and organised, ultimately helping you deliver! Otherwise you’ll quickly find that you aren’t getting anywhere.
  3. Have a place to visualise – keep your sights set on that goal you’re trying to reach every day. I like to use a Pinterest board to collect pictures that represent my goals. Other ideas include a physical vision board on the bedroom wall or a daily morning ritual of visualising yourself accomplishing your goals. Whatever works for you!

Have any practical tips of your own? Please share in the comments!

Page 5: Gratitude

Gratitude underpins happiness. When you’re grateful, you’re appreciating and grateful for what you have right now, sometimes physically (like having a roof over your head, food to eat, money to provide for your family), but most importantly mentally (like feeling loved by your family or partner, being at peace with your body, laughing with your friends). Noticing those things and giving thanks to them – not constantly looking at what you don’t have or what you do want or what might be wrong – will exponentially increase your happiness.

It’s a practice. Nobody is grateful all the time, although some may be more well-practiced than others. When you feel ungrateful, resentful or unlucky, say, it’s about turning your mind in those moments towards what you’re grateful for, what you already have. It’s also about taking quiet moments to yourself and talking yourself through what you’re grateful for, perhaps when you wake up, before you go to bed, on a walk or whatever works for you.

And whilst this shouldn’t be a driving factor of your gratitude, it’s important to realise that someone out here in the world wants exactly what you have. So don’t waste it or take it for granted. Enjoy it, live it, breathe it, and be thankful for it.

Page 4: Rules of Commitment

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Remember those resolutions you made in the New Year? Your last birthday? Beginning of the month? Last Monday?

It can be really difficult to stay committed, stay motivated and stay on track to achieving your goals and building the life you envision for yourself.

Do you ever ask yourself why you failed? I recently did and noticed that I had unrealistic ideas about goals, habits and commitment.

So I’ve made some new rules of commitment to help me go further on my journey towards success, and I wanted to share them with you in hopes they might help you too.

Commitment one: Do your best

This rule erases so many common pitfalls, namely striving for perfection and comparing ourselves to others. When we do not (and cannot) meet expectations we have for ourselves, we quickly lose enthusiasm and give up. Instead of perfection and unrealistic expectations, we should strive to do our best. And that might be different each day. As long as you’re doing something towards your goal, it doesn’t matter whether it’s as good as what you did yesterday or as good as someone else might do. Just do your best and keep at it.

Commitment two: Get back up when you fail

When it comes to my goals and habits, I can often have an ‘all or nothing’ attitude. For example, at the moment, I am trying to cut out all sweet treats, because that’s how it works best for me. But inevitably, I sometimes cave. In normal circumstances, I would have just given up if I failed. But instead, I’m just trying to start over whenever I fail, so I can keep going towards achieving my goals. Don’t beat yourself up when you fail. Don’t give up when you fail. Every day is a brand new day to be better and do your best.

Commitment three: Have big dreams, realistic journeys

Everyone should have big dreams. But it won’t happen overnight, and if you always have your eyes to the sky, you’re bound to trip up on the ground. The best way to make progress towards your dreams is to break them down into small, realistic steps you can take and accomplish. That way, you’re also motivating yourself by achieving quicker wins that are helping you get to that bigger dream.

Commitment four: Stick to the decision

I have a bad habit of scheduling in the time to do something, making the decision, and then bailing when it comes to actually doing it. So when I made decisions, my brain was already expecting me to not follow through. Now, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to stick to my decisions, to retrain my brain and actually achieve the things I set out to do. I encourage you to do the same.

Do you have any rules of commitment? Tips on how to stay motivated? Share them in the comments!

Page 3: How to minimise stress

Stress is a symptom of too much pressure. It can stem from work or school, in family or society. A minimal amount of stress can help us perform at our best, but too much can quickly debilitate us – in worst case scenarios, lead to burnout and other health problems. It should not be a state of mind, an aspiration or a badge of honour.

I do not want to be the type of person who doesn’t prioritise their health. This week, I’m going to implement these strategies, which I’ve used in the past, into my daily routine:

Getting organised

Keeping lists of what I need to do at work and what I want to achieve to progress my goals helps me to track my workload and schedule my time. Key to this is prioritising, being realistic with what you can do in a day and scheduling in time for breaks or buffers between projects. When we’re realistic with our time, we achieve what we set out to do and can feel good about it.

My commitment: Create a to do list every morning before anything else. Prioritise the three most important tasks, and if you accomplish them, that’s a job well done.

Taking breaks

Being ‘always on the go’ may sound glamorous but is not maintainable. You can still work hard and take breaks – in fact, we often work much better when our mind is not tired. Some of my favourite ways to take a break at work, for example, is taking a walk in the neighbourhood, getting a coffee from the local coffee shop, meeting friends for lunch. It often helps to remove yourself from the work environment.

My commitment: Schedule in at least 30 minutes at lunch time away from your desk.

Nourishing the body

Eating well, exercising and pampering the body can work wonders for the mind. Giving your body the nutrients it needs gives you the energy you need. Exercising helps release the tension built up during the day. And pampering the body by taking a bath or doing a face mask helps slow the mind.

My commitment: Be a conscious eater; exercise at the gym three times this week; practice some yoga

Sleeping well

Sleep can be one of the first sacrifices we make with a busy lifestyle. But it shouldn’t be neglected. Ways I try to help my body get the rest it needs is going to bed at a similar time each night, listening to piano music before bed to signal to my brain that we’re soon going to sleep, and keeping work life out of the bedroom (if you work at home, have a separate space for work outside of the bedroom).

My commitment: Put your phone on airplane mode at 9pm; turn the light off at 10.30pm

I’ve also heard excellent things about meditation and mindfulness – I cannot vouch for them as strategies but this week I’m going to get up each morning and do 10 minutes of mindfulness.

Got any of your own tips, habits or commitments? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. I’ll let you know how I get on with mine.

(Image: Pinterest)