Whether you’re working around the clock from home or wondering how to fill your newfound (and seemingly endless) free time, your wellness rituals have never been more important. Given the uncertain times, it might feel more difficult to make the time, find the tools, and utilize what you know about your needs. Your typical routine of hitting up your local yoga studio, picking up fresh-pressed juice from the cafe next door, and enjoying some cathartic conversation with your friends looks immensely different now. Some things, though, can easily shift to fit your stay-at-home lifestyle.
Find the time.
The clock seems to be doing a whole new dance since social distancing came into play, so depending on what works for you, there are two chief options here. You can ignore the ticking clock hands completely and shift into a flow state, for one. Or, you can become more diligent and hone in on your time management skills.
Here’s where wellness comes into play: Which would be of greater benefit for you? If you’re accustomed to penciling in every minute of your day, embracing more of a flow state where presence is a constant might be the best thing you can do for yourself.
On the other hand, if you were used to paying no attention to the clock and deadlines before social distancing, creating a regimen and sticking to it might bring some necessary structure to your days. Either way, carve out some time into the time management routine that works for you. Devote that time to exploring and expanding your transformed wellness rituals.
Allow space for transformation.
Your yoga practice, workout regimen, gym schedule, meal plan, coffee runs, and skincare routine likely shifted when quarantine became a must. While all of these practices can be transferred into a home space, there will be notable differences.
For instance, your yoga practice now requires you to interact with a screen, when it used to encourage you to get offline. This means notifications, e-mails, and general clutter are now framing your incredibly zen yoga teacher (behind the scenes, though, she’s just as frazzled with the new streaming platform as you are).
How can you reshape your space to allow for minimal distractions while you move through your Sun Salutations? If possible, turn on a ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode on your phone or computer for the duration of your practice or workout. Unless something is really important, it shouldn’t be able to come through. Next on the 'before class to-do list' -- take a few minutes before you click ‘play’ or ‘join meeting’ to clear your mind of any nagging thoughts.
If needed, tidy up the space around you so that you can enjoy the time you spend moving your body without knocking anything over or tripping over a stack of books. Even your tidied and quieted space won’t be the same as the peace offered by the actual studio, but it will give you something similar. Plus, it’s the yoga itself that keeps you coming back, those studio amenities are just a luxurious bonus.
If you’re living with others during this time, communication is key. Ask for some quiet time and to be left alone for the duration of your practice. Setting up new boundaries takes time, but your housemates will come to remember and respect these new home rules. Chances are, other folks you’re living with will value some of their own quiet time. Respect their space as requested and things should shift accordingly.
After a session, if you find yourself craving some familiarity, which is a given in these unfamiliar times, see if any local businesses are practicing safe social distancing that you could go out and support. Wear your mask and gloves, bring some hand sanitizer, and go out and enjoy a juice or coffee every so often. Keep your distance from other patrons, especially if they aren't wearing a mask or have a cough. If you feel uncomfortable breaking isolation, see if you can whip up a similar brew or meal at home. A blender works nearly as well as a juicer, a french press can make your latte foam, and your creativity can create just about anything when it wants it.
Hold yourself accountable, but grant yourself some wiggle room.
The fluctuations of your mind and body are magnified nowadays. Sure, before we were all at home, we would occasionally feel as if we woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Or, when the sun wasn’t shining and the grey days stretched on, we felt a bit more glum and less motivated.
With more time to spend alone with yourself and your mind, you might find yourself more in tune with the negative thought patterns and the 'not so good' days feel more like really, really bad. On these days, lessen the load. Can you shorten your workout and practice a Yin sequence instead? Is today the day you go for a walk in the misty afternoon rain while wearing your bright yellow raincoat? Perhaps, you spend the morning stretching, Netflix-ing, and repeat. Can you see how this is wellness, too?
Take the time to allow yourself to rest and feel into the ‘darker’ parts of these days. Seeing your shadow, exploring the less ‘desirable’ parts of your being, and being with yourself when it’s not all ‘love and light’ is wellness all the same. We're multi-layered beings, after all.
Accountability is key, most of the time. In these days of harrowing news headlines, step away from it all from time to time, and let that be your wellness ritual of the day. An easy way to tune out of social media and the news cycle? Turn your phone notifications off after 5 PM every day, or as soon as your work/school day wraps.
With all of your thoughts and behaviors magnified, the days pass differently and can feel more fluid. While in flow, detach from your expectations of yourself and let yourself be as you are, however that may look. If a moment comes where you feel called to move, meditate, dance, or cook yourself a three-course meal, go towards that flow state and delve into its medicine.
On a 'good' day, or a 'not so good' day that feels like it wants to rise, do hold yourself accountable. Practice the rituals you couldn’t when you were feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. Find gratitude for your ability to be with yourself in every state of being.
Social distancing has taken everything and shrunk it into a home or apartment-sized version of what was once city-wide or globally-encompassing. When you can find the time or flow through it, grant your rituals space to breathe and transform within these new confines. Trust that your refreshed routines will flourish in due time. As new practices and wellness methods come into being, see what you learn along the way, and how it can be of benefit beyond these present standards of living.