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Self-Care Ideas for Uncertain Times

Tools to Help Us Thrive

As I write this, the vast majority of us are having to get used to a new normal, to use the language of the time.  Spending large amounts of our days inside.  This article will highlight some things that I am focused on personally, during this time.

Truth be told, I was reluctant to add to a storm of online articles on this topic.  However, a long time reader of my work changed my mind, by requesting an article on just this.  For that person, and for you, here are some ideas that I hope are of some value.

1) Exercise

The gyms may be closed but exercise is still necessary.  Luckily for me, most of my regular fitness routine is bodyweight based and I have a few bits of kit at home (bands, gymnastic rings, yoga mats, rollers, push up handles etc).  Still, I miss a gym.

In terms of what I do during this quarantine period, I am covering a mix of the following:

  • Walking daily (fortunately we can still get one outdoors exercise session in per day in the UK)
  • Uphill sprints (1-2 times a week)
  • Calisthenics strength training 2-4 times a week (inverted rows with gymnastic rings, push ups, one legged squats and other basics)
  • Yoga and mobility flows (daily)

Exercise is important for mind and body, so I really cherish this time.  More than that, I need it.

For specific ideas on what to do, you can do no better than following Danny Kavadlo and Al Kavadlo for some ideas on how to use your bodyweight to get strong.

2) Meditating without Meditation

I don’t consider myself to have a formal meditation practice as such, but I do all of these things to ensure I get the benefits of this practice anyway.  I call this, the art of meditation without meditating.

3) Walking in Nature

This is big for me, one of my favourite parts of the day, it combines two of my loves.

This most often means getting up very early to exercise and then walk in nature a little, before spending the rest of the day at home.

We are lucky enough to have an amazing park close by so this is my preferred place to do both.  On my walks, I keep up with the latest goings on for the Spring babies (goslings, moorhens, ducklings etc).

I love this time.

4) Showing Gratitude for the Small Pleasures

I’ve written about the power of small pleasures and a gratitude practice before but this outlook becomes particularly important right now.  I find this helps keep life in perspective.  Rather than being focused on what I cannot do, I focus on things I feel grateful to be able to do.

This might be savoring the first cup of coffee of the day, settling into a new book, enjoying a nice home cooked meal with my wife or something else.

“Rather than being focused on what I cannot do, I focus on things I feel grateful to be able to do”.

Carl Phillips

5) Staying In Touch with Friends & Family

Being on video calls is not my preferred method of communicating with loved ones but it has become a necessary evil at this time.  Make the most of the wonderful technology we now have by staying in touch with others.

6) Avoiding the News

There is much hype, panic and misinformation in the air at the best of times, right now that is magnified.  The media has a duty of care at times like these.  I take my news in from selected sources only and try to avoid the noise.

7) Music

Music is one of the things I’m most passionate about in life so my favourite artists are a regular part of any day, as is my trusty guitar.  Music gives me energy and can make even the toughest days better.

8) Reading More

This is an ideal time to read more.  I normally read a lot anyway but this enforced time indoors has meant I can catch up on some books that have been waiting for attention.  Currently this means I’m midway through reading Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki  and have just finished Beth Kempton’s Wabi Sabi.

Strangely perhaps for someone that loves simplicity in life, I like to read more than one book at a time.  Hey, I’m human!

9) Creating (Writing)

My biggest creative outlet is my writing, so I have made good on this time by putting the finishing touches to two new book projects that will be released soon.  I’m also in the middle of reworking a project that had already seen the light of day but is getting a spring clean.

I encourage all of you to find a creative outlet of some sort.  Writing might not be it but find something that works for you.

10) Movies and Shows
My wife and I love to go to the movies, so cinema is high on the list of things we miss.  That said, we’ve been catching up on shows and movies as they become available at home.  Ozark, Better Call Saul and catching up with missed episodes of Parts Unknown, have been some highlights.

These are some areas that I’m focused on right now, during strange times.  To be honest, all are a part of my life anyway, but having them as part of my daily routine is helping me through a time where we all have a little less freedom than we are used to.  Let’s hope that is not for too much longer.

Stay safe readers.  Take care of yourselves and those you are sharing space with.

Note: This post was originally featured on my blog and has been adapted and updated.

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