This post was originally written in April 2020 in response to the anxiety many were feeling in covid lockdown. I’ve updated a few things today in August 2021 in response to what’s going on in Afganistan and Haiti. Learning how to calm our nervous system in times of crisis is essential so that we can show up more fully to help the people around us, as well as stay healthy in the process.
If you’re seeking professional help, I personally recommend the online therapy platform BetterHelp. They offer affordable and immediate access to licensed therapists and psychologists in a variety of specialties.
For 10% off your first month of therapy on BetterHelp…
head to betterhelp.com/findyourmagic or enter the promo code “findyourmagic” at checkout.
…Below is the original post…
To be honest, Magic Makers, I’ve been all over the place mentally and emotionally the past two weeks. Understanding how to effectively deal with this pandemic has seriously challenged my productivity, as well as my mental health.
I’m extremely grateful I can be safely self-quarantined right now. Still, this whole situation feels so wild and scary and unfair and uncertain. Not to mention, isolating (literally).
If you’re experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression related to the coronavirus, this post is for you.
As a mental health advocate, I am constantly seeking out ways I can #endthestigma, and promote healthy self care. These self soothing techniques are ones I’ve collected from various mental health resources for over a year now, and they’re particularly relevant and helpful as we all practice social distancing.
No matter what your situation right now, I hope you can use these self soothing practices to take a moment and re-set. These techniques are all designed to be done on one’s own, which is helpful if you’re quarantined or working from home. They’re gathered from various therapists, mental health organizations, and neuroscience studies, though of course, as always, if you’re feeling like you need to speak with someone, please seek professional help*.
*see bottom of post for more professional resources
10 Ways to Self-Soothe During Times of Anxiety or Isolation
1.Run warm water over your hands and notice the sensation
We’re all washing our hands a lot right now to minimize Coronavirus risk. Make it a self-care moment by really noticing the sensation of the warm water and soap on your skin. Enjoy it!
2. Take a “4-6-8” breath
Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 6 seconds, and breathe out your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat.
3. Listen to a song, album, or playlist that connects you to a positive memory
This technique has actually been proven by neuroscientists to improve brain function and mood! My go-to is showtunes. I also love listening to music from late 90’s early 00’s (playlist here) and the soundtracks of old favorite TV shows (I’m on Felicity right now!).
4. Read a book or watch a movie or TV show from a happy time in your life
In a similar vein to the above tip, this one is about losing oneself in stories… I’m re-reading the “Harry Potter” series right now as an adult and lemme tell ya, it holds up!
5. Rest a gentle hand on your heart and repeat a comforting phrase to yourself
Some ideas: “This too shall pass”, “All is well in my world”, “I am safe”, “I am loved”…My personal one is: “I am enough”. Feel free to use it! You can also practice “self-holding” instead of the hand-on-heart thing; To do this, wrap your arms around yourself, lightly squeeze, let your spine relax.
6. Experience outside SAFELY, however that might be accessible to you
Open a window, take a short walk in your neighborhood or an uncrowded area, go for a scenic drive. Bonus: get some houseplants and bring the outdoors indoors for a natural boost of energy and wellbeing!
7. Make a mini at-home spa date for yourself
Draw a bubble bath, take a hot shower, use essential oils or light a scented candle (check out my favorite eco-friendly candle company, Rejoy Living, HERE and use code KELSEY10 for 10% off your order!). Bonus activity: give yourself a mani-pedi! Keeping your nails clean and trimmed actually helps prevent the spread of germs! SCIENCE.
8. Practice a body scan from your toes to your head
If you don’t know what a body scan is: here’s a helpful, easy, 15-minute YouTube video that explains what it is, then talks you through a scan step by step.
9. Write a list of things you’re grateful for – even tiny things
Click here to watch my friend Julie Hassett describe how she turned bullying about her thighs into a gratitude practice being thankful for her legs.
10. Drink a glass of water and have a healthy snack
It sounds so simple, but don’t forget to drink enough water. We are 90% water- water is nourishing! Not only will taking a water break help your mental health, it will help your brain and body function better and even boost your immune system.
*If you need professional support right now, there are many options for you, even if you’re in self-quarantine. Click here for a list of coronavirus anxiety resources.
Speaking of resources, these are a few of the accounts and sites I reference in this blog post. Please follow and support them!
Free meditations from Calm app for anxiety relief, sleep, and more
Psychology Today, TONS of resources, including an online therapist-finder
Women Talk Mental Health (& Business)
If you haven’t seen it yet, I have a podcast & YouTube series called “Find Your Magic” for those of you who struggle with feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, imposter syndrome, etc.- especially as it relates to business.
I was tired of people selling online business resources while ignoring the very important mental health aspect. So, I sat down with some incredible Boss Women in a variety of fields of expertise to talk about EVERYTHING.
Find Your Magic is one part mental health, one part business, one part girl talk. Grab a cup of tea and join the conversation as we dig deep & find our magic!