1. Make a list of activities that feel restorative to you right.

It could be taking a walk outside, petting your dog, meditating, baking, drawing, organizing your closet, listening to a podcast or anything else you enjoy that alleviates stress.

You can make a list of such activities when you’re feeling pretty good, so that when you feel burnt out — which happens to everyone — you don’t have to then think of self-care activities.

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14 Small Self-Care Tips That Will Make A Big Difference Right Now

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2. Identify what you’re grateful for.

There’s a lot happening in the world to be upset, angry and scared about, especially right now. But in these darker moments, finding things — big and small — that we’re thankful🙏 for is even more essential.

Each day, write down three things you’re thankful for in a journal, save them in the Notes app on your phone or share them out loud with a loved one.

Your effort to search for goodness in the midst of this chaos is good exercise for your brain and mood.

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3. Set boundaries with work.

With many people working from home during the pandemic, living spaces now double as office spaces, blurring the line between work and play.

To create more structure, try to stick to the same start and stop times for your workday as you did pre-COVID-19. When you’re not on the clock, put your laptop and other work material in a closet, bin or drawer until you need them again. Out of sight, out of mind.

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4. Make a “done” list.

Many of us aren’t as productive during a pandemic as we are under normal circumstances — and that's totally understandable. But staring at a long list of unfinished tasks on your to-do list is only going to make you feel worse about yourself. Instead, compile a “done” list of all the items you’ve already accomplished.

Include all the tasks, large and small, that you’ve successfully completed, from grocery shopping to folding clothes to getting kids through a day of school.

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5. Put limits on your news intake.

Staying up to date with the news and latest developments is important ― but not at the cost of your sanity.

When the news becomes a source of dread, anxiety, and futility, it’s time to take a step back.

To curb your consumption, block out specific windows of time where you let yourself read or watch the news and try to avoid checking for updates otherwise.

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6. Crack open a book.

Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read and try to get 30 minutes of reading in a day. It doesn’t have to be a straight 30 minutes. You could also break it up, doing something like 10 minutes of reading three times a day.

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7. Let yourself grieve losses big and small.

People are mourning all kinds of losses right now: the loss of their loved ones, their jobs, their health, their plans, their normal routines, just to name a few.

Take a breath and let yourself feel whatever you’re feeling without judgment. Then, when you’re ready, grab a pen and paper and write down all of the supportive forces in your life. They could be “personal, professional, financial, familial”.

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8. Pause to check in with yourself every day.

Taking the time to check in with yourself daily can bring focus and awareness to an otherwise dizzying time.

Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. “What is captivating your thoughts right now?”
  2. “What emotions or physical sensations are you experiencing or feeling?”
  3. “What do you want to accomplish today?”

Pairing this practice with an already ingrained part of your routine, like brushing your teeth or making coffee in the morning, will make it easier to stick to.

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9. Try a breathing exercise.

Try "box breathing". The technique, outlined below, is popular among Navy SEALs and only takes five minutes:

  1. Inhale for four seconds.
  2. Hold the air in your lungs for four seconds.
  3. Exhale for four seconds, emptying all of the air in your lungs.
  4. Hold your lungs empty for four seconds.
  5. Repeat for five minutes.

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10. Work out.

Working out the way we used to do may be hard to do in our current reality. Moving your body can do wonders for your mood and mental health. That’s why it’s important to find ways to sweat safely.

You don’t need to do a high-intensity workout to reap the benefits. There are many free videos that are body-positive, mindful of folks with chronic pain or disease and are designed for people with physical limitations and you can find enjoyable forms of exercise at home.

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11. Create a bedtime routine to encourage good sleep habits.

Getting a good night's sleep can set a positive tone for your day and help you better manage stress and anxiety. To facilitate this, create a nighttime routine that helps your body wind down and puts you in sleep mode.

Try including a hot bath or shower because the hot water can help lower your core body temperature, which is needed to initiate and maintain a good night’s sleep. That plus Sleepytime tea and a good book ― and no Instagram scrolling! ― and you’ll be out in no time.

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12. Do some stretching.

When you can’t muster up the energy for a workout, stretching is a more manageable option that still benefits your body and mind. 

Choose two to three stretches that are your go-to stretches and set a timer on your phone and try to hold each exercise for two minutes.

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13. Keep a journal.

If racing thoughts are weighing you down, consider starting a journaling practice. Setting aside some time to self-reflect will help quiet your busy mind and clarify and process what you’re experiencing.

If this is something you’re struggling with, try taking 10 minutes each day to reflect on how you’re feeling, write down any worries or concerns, and acknowledge that it’s OK to feel these things.

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14. Be extra gentle with yourself.

Cut yourself some slack. Practice self-compassion.

Instead of beating yourself up because you are not ‘leveling up’ right now, try to validate yourself with kind self-talk.

Consider what you would say to a dear friend or relative struggling during this time. Then say those things to yourself.

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Tamara levitt

“Gratitude, like anything, is a practice, and neuroscience shows us that if we make efforts to cultivate appreciation, we’ll find more to be grateful for, even during times of loss and grief.”

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