Three years ago, Kirsten Thomas started her own skincare line. As she worked on building up the Ayr Skin Care brand, she began educating her children (then hitting middle and high school) from home. On top of everything else, Thomas also started cooking and writing a cookbook. Once her skincare line took off, Thomas discovered her time spent with her children, as well as the time used to plan meals, slowed to a slow stream. A few months ago, she wished there was a way she could rearrange her schedule to have more downtime at home.
The coronavirus hit shortly thereafter. Thomas stopped formulating in her lab. While the skincare business is still running online, the lab remains closed. Her family surrounds her at home and she is able to balance the lighter weight of work from home with the pleasurable time spent with loved ones.
“Returning to the thing that I value more than anything else in the world — my family — has been a blessing,” Thomas says.
For Thomas, the everyday contains so much natural beauty. “My daughter and I plan meals together, and she is doing more baking too,” Thomas says. “Our dogs are crazy happy to see us home!”
Whether you’re on your own or with loved ones, time spent in quarantine has become a time to learn new hobbies or embrace familiar self-care practices. If you’re seeking a bit of calm from the crisis, look into pursuing some of these self-care activities.
Did you ever dream you would grow up to become a famous singer? Did you practice piano when you were younger and miss the creative outlet? Have you always wanted to learn to play the guitar someday? Make that someday today. Bring music into your life through the following, fun ways:
Play for 20 minutes a day.
This is what Meg Marrs, founder of K9 of Mine, does as she plays the piano each day.
“I haven’t touched a piano since high school, but it’s amazing how much muscle memory comes back after a couple of weeks,” Marrs says.
Returning to playing the piano has also been soothing for her mind. “Playing music puts me into a meditative mindset,” she says. “I’m so happy music has come back into my life this way!”
Learn to play instruments via YouTube tutorials.
Recently, Mylen Yamamoto bought a keyboard. Yamamoto is the founder of Certified B Corporation Cropsticks, a sustainable chopstick and biodegradable bamboo straw startup. She’s using the keyboard to learn how to play movie theme songs via YouTube tutorials. When winding down the day, Yamamoto says it’s the perfect activity to do.
Make a mix tape.
Ready to channel your inner DJ and revisit nostalgia for cassettes and CDs? Emmy Ellison, founder and CEO of DeMaroc Home, is currently embracing her inner child in making mix tapes again.
Ellison says she can remember spending hours perfecting the timing and curation of a mixtape. “This childhood activity always brought me joy! Revisiting it has been an incredible gift.”
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to movement. The key is to get moving and let the endorphins boost your mood!
Lisa Sedlar is the CEO of grocery company Green Zebra Grocery. She’s also a huge sports fan, especially racquet sports. Badminton, tennis, ping-pong, and pickleball — she’s playing each and every one from the safety of home. Playing her favorite sports helps Sedlar to stay busy and active so she can continue to work hard and be positive.
Ride a bike.
For years, Dawn Britt’s bicycle sat in her garage and gathered dust. Britt is the CEO of OneSeven Agency, an integrated marketing and public relations agency. Now, Britt is back on the bike.
“Every day I take it out for a spin, even it if is only for 20 minutes,” Britt says, “I feel great afterwards and enjoy the fresh air. It helps to clear my mind for a little while.”
Practice shorter workouts daily.
You can still get in a great workout, even if your current space is a bit small and cramped. Lizzie Brown, CEO of Yoga Wake Up, encourages the practice of shorter workouts throughout the day.
“Think 10-minute ‘chair-yoga’ sessions, a quick plank drill, or physically ‘shaking’ off any anxiety or stress,” Brown says. These workouts will ensure you’re able to get your blood flowing, plus break up the monotony of working from home.
As Julia Child once said, “Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” Whether you’re baking a sourdough starter or making pasta noodles from scratch, it’s time to embrace your inner chef.
Plan out your meals.
Krista Martins is the CEO of Wukkout!, a high energy Caribbean dance fitness program. Before the pandemic, Martins already liked to cook and bake. She just didn’t always have the time to do it. Now, she plans out all her meals.
“Finding new recipes to bake has been a great way to break up the work day!” Martins says. “I love the satisfaction of having this project that has a beginning, middle, and end. It rejuvenates me and helps me feel more accomplished.”
Start from scratch.
Skip largely premade meals in favor of the ones that allow you to start from scratch from a recipe.
Productivity and leadership coach Alexis Haselberger has been getting down with dough during the quarantine. Some of Haselberger’s ambitious projects, so far, have included hand-pulled Chinese noodles and Russian pelmeni.
“There’s something about the rhythmic nature of working with dough that is really calming me down,” she says.
Make a meal — and a memory — together.
Danielle Tate, founder of MissNowMrs, loves watching cooking shows with her 11-year-old son. Tate signed the pair up for a knife skills class. Partially so the pair could learn to mince, peel, and julienne together — but also to create positive quarantine memories.
“We both look forward to our next segment of class and practicing our skills in the kitchen!” Tate says. “It’s a memory we will both cherish from quarantining together.”
Allie Fleder, COO of fintech startup SimplyWise, admits she didn’t always “get” gardening. Fleder now credits the activity for helping her stay positive and calm in order to best help SimplyWise’s customer base.
“My fiancée and I put on our masks and gloves and buy plants at a nearby greenhouse every Saturday,” Fleder says. They return home to garden for hours together, blasting opera music from a portable speaker the entire time.
“Gardening is meditative and restorative,” Fleder says. “It brings me peace.”
Casi Yost feels the same way. Yost is a wedding and elopement photographer who recently purchased a house with her partner in Portland, Oregon. Gardening allowed her to entirely remodel the backyard: from weeds to two raised beds filled with vegetables, a flower garden, and relaxing back porch.
“Working out and walking aren’t enough to burn off my nervous energy,” Yost says. “I used to garden with my mom as a kid, so this is a source of comfort. Gardening, and smelling the dirt and plants, calms and centers me.”
Painting and Calligraphy
Anna Osgoodby, co-founder of social media and design agency Bold & Pop, has taken up watercolor painting and learning calligraphy in quarantine. Pushing herself to try new things allows Osgoodby to express her creativity and. It also helps her to feel more relaxed and ready to tackle work tasks during the week.
In a time of chaos, revisiting familiar creative activities — or area where you would like to develop creativity — is calming. Madeline Fraser, CEO of jewelry company Gemist, was an avid artist in high school and college. She now creates paintings and sculptures again regularly.
“I’ve been oil painting on the weekends,” Fraser says. “It helps me to unwind and release the day or week’s tensions.”
Additionally, re-embracing creative activities allows Fraser to have even more great ideas or come up with solutions to problems.
“It’s a fantastic way to focus on something else which gives your mind room to rest and rejuvenate,” Fraser says. “In turn, a lot of good comes out of it.”