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A Self-Care / Self-Isolation Challenge: 50+ Ideas For Making the Best of a Really Crappy Situation

I just bet your email box is flooded with messages from everyone you have ever done business with updating you on their closures or plans to continue to stay open. Mine sure is. All emails include messages of support and encouragement, to stay safe, be strong and by all means to cough into your shoulder. […]

I just bet your email box is flooded with messages from everyone you have ever done business with updating you on their closures or plans to continue to stay open. Mine sure is. All emails include messages of support and encouragement, to stay safe, be strong and by all means to cough into your shoulder. Thanks, got it.

Wow. This s**t is getting real and scary.

How ironic that I recently wrote an article about how to handle being frozen in fear which was published in Thrive Global just last month. Never in a million years would I have imagined that we would all be standing in fear of the unknown together. As a world.

But I don’t think my advice about how to unfreeze in the face of fear is going to work for this situation as we are being told to ‘freeze’ and stay in place. Our world has truly been turned upside down indeed!

All this brings to mind a quote I’ve loved since childhood and still have up in my powder room where I see it every day.

Hopefully that made you smile and brought back fond childhood memories for you if you read it as a kid.

Yes, this is a forced change in routine, income and priorities. While everyone’s situation is different, we still all must make a concerted effort to take care of ourselves through all this so we can A: maintain our health B: get something done in the face of a global pandemic  and C: don’t go insane.

Yet I’m not seeing any of this in the flood of emails I’m receiving! I want to see my inbox flooded with advice and ideas on how to continue to give myself the self care I need to get through this since the world is on pause. I know from personal experience as a burnout survivor the importance and impact of self care on both the body and the psyche.

The reality is

We are entering a phase of constant, ongoing mental stress of which we have no idea how long will last. Constant, ongoing mental stress (in the workplace) is a key marker of burnout. This experience will be similar to what can bring on burnout, so now more than ever it is imperative that you provide yourself with the self care you need.

There is a science behind stress and burnout, which isn’t my favorite thing to talk about so I’ll go down that rabbit whole with you in another blog. I have spent the last 5 years cracking the code on this and I can promise you, the best thing you can do to lower your stress levels and prevent burnout is to maintain your health. How? Keep your tank full by administering self-care.

None of us are happy about the situation and are missing our normal self care (I miss my gym and for the third year in a row I am missed the Toronto Blue Jays / Boston Red Sox Spring Training Game!). We all need to start getting really creative with how we provide ourselves with self care.

What exactly is self care? Whatever fills your tank! A passion for something. An activity that gives you joy or brings you peace. For me it is things like shelling or taking my dog into town and meeting up with friends for drinks. Sitting on the beach with a good book or hunting for sea shells. Yes, I get that we can’t do a lot of these things right now so its time to get creative with the options.

Here is a list

of 50 things I’ve thought of that I (or you) can do while isolated at home. While all of these resonate with me, they may not with you so it is important to give some thought to what you do like to do and what will fill your tank while isolated. There’s also several bonus ideas from friends who shared their self-care plans with me.

  1. Enjoy the silence….fewer cars on the road you are going to hear and see more nature and wildlife (yeah!!)
  2. Take a break from the news cycle! Once or twice a day check in is plenty
  3. Binge watch GOT
  4. Toss out all the expired cans and boxes in your pantry
  5. Marie Kondo your closet and drawers! (this should count for 5)
  6. Download books (hey, how about the Douglas Adams trilogy, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)
  7. Order some Overtone and play with hair color (it washes out)
  8. Clean out the garage
  9. Start writing that book that has been sitting in your brain since college
  10. Go through your address book and call everyone you haven’t talked to in the last 4 months
  11. Same as 10 but do video calls!
  12. Download the Tasty app and get creative in the kitchen with something you’ve never made (I want to try lamb chops and beef wellington!)
  13. Go through old photos, start scanning them into the cloud or put them on a external drive
  14. Garden
  15. Re-arrange your furniture
  16. Go online and look for a new work out to try
  17. Start that renovation project
  18. Paint a room that needs refreshing
  19. Meditate (daily! It will change your perspective!)
  20. Clean the grout of your tile floors (enroll the kids to help!)
  21. Got boxes that you haven’t opened in years taking up real estate in a closet? Go through them and make three piles: keep, toss, unsure. Put the unsure stuff back in the box and in the closet. IF you don’t open the box for six months simply TOSS IT
  22. Board games
  23. Arts and crafts
  24. Take a webinar or five – many organizations are offering free webinars specific to your industry
  25. Take an online certification course in your industry
  26. Better yet, take an online course for something you’ve always WANTED to do!
  27. Wash the car
  28. Clear the clutter from around your home (seriously, make it go away)
  29. Purge that stack of papers you’ve been avoiding for six months (you’ll thank me later, make it go away)
  30. Guys: GO THROUGH THE WORKROOM – please…..please…please….
  31. Sell your duplicates from your workroom on eBay – please….please …please
  32. Wash the dog’s bed and toys
  33. Wash the dog
  34. Gather your friends online and start a D & D game. Don’t know how to play? Ask your teenage and young adult kids! They are all playing it these days with folks from around the world.
  35. D & D not your thing? Try online backgammon, ma-jongg, chess or even poker
  36. Better yet, gather your besties in a private zoom room and watch a movie together
  37. A massage therapist will come to you so long as you are healthy!!
  38. Closet overflowing with things you just can’t let go of but haven’t worn in years? Turn all the hangers around. When you wear an item hang it back up the proper way. In six months time, whatever hasn’t been turned back around get rid of, donate or consign.
  39. Refinish a piece of furniture
  40. Pimp your ride (you can order all sorts of cool stuff online)
  41. Learn a new language
  42. Proactively use this time to freshen up your resume!
  43. Clean up your social media profiles and friends lists
  44. Gussy up your LinkedIn professional profile
  45. Teach your dog a new trick
  46. See if you can get your cat to finally walk on a leash
  47. Got a pool? Skinny dip
  48. Get into a better sleep schedule. No time like now to start getting that recommended 8 hours a night of sleep and experience how life changing it really is (reduces anxiety, better mental clarity, more energy)
  49. Step up your nutritional program – gut health is SOOOOOO important!
  50. Go for a walk in nature (mountains, beach, sidewalk….get moving and leave your phone at home!)
  51. BONUS: Block 3 hours a day for everyone to be off all technology and TALK to each other
  52. BONUS: Look up Feng Shui ideas and implement into your home with what you have on hand
  53. BONUS: Go for a drive just to drive.
  54. BONUS: Take a virtual museum tour of a museum in another country
  55. BONUS: Start a journal – gratitude, your experiences, favorite childhood memories
  56. BONUS: Next time you make a grocery run, pick up a few extra items for a senior neighbor and leave them on their doorstep (don’t forget to knock or ring the bell if there are perishables, and remember to maintain proper social distance)
  57. BONUS: See how you can help deliver meals for Meals on Wheels or call the local food bank and ask how you can help support them

Hopefully there is a nugget or three in this list to keep you busy, or at least get you thinking about what you can do to have a little fun and refill your gas tank during this. Pick things that YOU enjoy, it’s a great stress release, gets your mind off the turmoil and serves you way better than just vegging in front of the TV watching the news.

I promise by administering self care for yourself, you will notice better overall health, be able to tolerate the on-going constant stress better and experience greater mental clarity.

What am I doing

during my self imposed self-isolation? Well, I went to ACE hardware a few days ago and bought all the supplies I’ll need to refinish two pieces of furniture I’ve been wanting to do for years. I also have let the cleaning go in the house the last couple of weeks figuring that too will be something I can sink my teeth into (I actually like to deep clean and will probably hit the grout in the kitchen. Again). I work from home anyway so I plan on lots of video calls with friends and family. I also have always wanted to read all the Jane Austin books and have them downloaded already to go.

Actually, re-reading this list, I think I am going to download the Douglas Adams trilogy too. It was a great read as a kid and it will be fun to read it again as an adult.

Be strong, stay healthy and for goodness sake, make sure you are administering Self-care to yourself through all this!

Where you might get stuck

Unsure where to or even how to get started? Simply email me and we can set up a 30 minute zoom call ON MY DIME to see if we can get you kick started on a self-care routine you can fold into your new world. I’ll be here playing with the dogs until we connect, cause puppies fill my tank!

BEFORE YOU GO

Want to stay in touch? You can join my mailing list here. I send one monthly newsletter and post one blog a month only – who has time for anything more? We are all busy!! Easy consumption on your part and NO SPAMMING ever.

Are you a high performer that can’t say no and are fearing burnout? I love to coach high performers through the process of learning how to set boundaries and navigate the challenges of being a high achiever. Coaching provides you with an outside perspective, someone to hold you accountable to your goals and gets you to the finish line quicker all while advocating for you to succeed. Let’s chat for 30 minutes on my dime and see if I am the right match to support you in your current journey.

Want to learn more about staying on top without burning out as a high performer? Request membership in my private the Fork in the Road community on Facebook. Here you’ll find useful tips, inspiration, a safe place to ask questions about burnout and monthly group coaching along with early bird discounts to upcoming Life In Balance retreats for high performers (coming soon).

Did you find some useful gems in this? Let me know your thoughts by sending me a message at [email protected]

And if you (or someone you know & love) are anything like I was and would rather be more like what I have become – someone who wants to do great things in your career while still loving life – I invite you to hop on over to my website and take a look around. There’s a really cool and quick assessment you can pick up for FREE which will help you determine your current state of capacity and balance right on the home page. Then let’s stay in touch!

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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