20 Ways (and Counting) to De-Stress at Home
As we continue to flatten the curve, minimize the spread of COVID-19, and socially distance ourselves from one another, it also means that many of us are at home, faced with a never-ending stream of coronavirus media updates and its ripple effect of anxiety, uncertainty, and concern.
We absolutely believe it’s important to take this situation seriously as it unfolds, and by the same token, it’s just as important to strike a balance with healthy habits, self-care, and moments of pause while we ride this out. Today, we’re here to lighten the mood (even in the smallest of ways) with a list we compiled of activities and hobbies that bring us joy and calm.
1. Light yoga and meditation with Adriene Mishler
We teamed up with Adriene Mishler (of Yoga with Adriene) to live stream a gentle yoga and meditation session from the lounge of our Arboretum Market spa in Austin, Texas. Now available on our IGTV, this practice was intended to relieve stress and generate warm, positive energy.
2. Try something new: dry brushing
If you’ve always wanted to try dry brushing (AKA body brushing), now is certainly a good time to give it a shot. This practice allows you to slow down and practice mindfulness as you exfoliate dry skin and increase lymphatic flow. To familiarize yourself with the ritual, check out our simple tips in this video.
3. Find a bingeable Youtube Series
Whenever you finish binging the Architectural Digest Open Door videos, we have another Youtube series to add to your list: #ArtOfTheBath. Our new series steps into the bathrooms of its subjects as they outline their five-sensory recipe for ultimate relaxation as they bathe (or in some cases, shower.) Consider this your instructional manual to building a solid bath/shower routine.
4. Have a dance party
Whether your dance party is solo or via Facetime, this playlist is guaranteed to uplift spirits and elicit your most enthusiastic dance moves. Instagram communities are also one-upping themselves with IG Live dance parties like this one from Mark Kanemura on March 16th at 5pm ET. The virtual dance party will surely include his favorite Cut to the Feeling by Carly Rae Jepsen and will remain on his story for 24 hours.
Pssst. If you’re aiming for chill vibes, we made a playlist for that, too.
5. Read a book
If you’re like me, you have a stack of books you’ve been meaning to finish. I’m planning on taking this forced slowdown as an opportunity to catch up on my reading list. Plus it’s screen-free. Win, win.
P.S. Don’t forget to support your local bookstores during this time. Austin-based favorite, Book People is offering free shipping through 3/22, as well as curbside pickup for locals.
6. Breathing exercises
Breathing techniques are essential to have in your relaxation toolkit. One well-known exercise is the “relaxing breath,” which helps to reduce anxiety, clear your mind, and help your body prepare to rest or relax. Try it with three simple steps:
- Inhale for four seconds.
- Hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Exhale for eight seconds, then return to the first step.
7. Plan for the future
First and foremost, remember that social distancing isn’t forever. In the future, we will have the freedom to shake hands, hug our friends, and enjoy supporting our favorite businesses IRL. Until then, give your local faves a hand by buying gift cards to use at a later date. You can also think of it as a gift to your future self.
8. Join TikTok
No, we’re not joking. TikTok is fun, encourages you to move, and is technically a social tool. Tag your friends in TikTok challenges so you can enjoy one another’s renditions. A fun place to start: Supalonely by BENEE.
9. Learn a language
We know this sounds like a tall order, but hear us out. Whether you’re starting from scratch or brushing up on that language you learned in high school, there’s an app for that. Some of them train your memory, while others team you up with a virtual pen pal who speaks the language. No matter how close you get to fluency, making time for a new language is a great way to challenge your brain and learn something new.
10. Appreciate your pets
As far as your dog (or cat) is concerned, social distancing is the best. news. ever. Everyone’s staying home, cuddling them on the couch, and giving them more attention than ever. Use this time to appreciate their unconditional love and if you feel like it, consider sharing pet #content on social media to brighten your followers’ days. There’s nothing like a good dog or cat photo to ease stress and break up the coronavirus content filling our social media feeds.
Don’t have a dog or cat? Consider fostering one while you’re spending more time at home. If you’re not ready for that, consider joining the Dogspotting Facebook group for joyous pet content.
11. Ditch screen time and do a puzzle!
Even without social distancing, my ideal activity for a chill evening is a jigsaw puzzle and a nice glass of wine. I love it because I’m using my brain, but I’m not staring at a screen or taking in any information — stressful or not. If you ask me, the vibe is made complete with the addition of Tame Impala’s new album or a classic Rumours moment from Fleetwood Mac.
12. Light a candle
A simple and effective way to set a relaxing mood, whether you’re taking a bath (recommended) or working from home. This quick trick speaks to two different senses — vision and smell. Go for your favorite candle or if you need a recommendation, shop our signature spa blend.
Pro tip: We highly recommend flipping on a lightswitch before that Google Hangouts meeting, as to not freak out socially distant coworkers with your lowlit vibes.
13. Go for a walk
Spending time in nature is healing for the nervous system and allows for a change of scenery. Still, be sure to stay distant from other pedestrians — about six feet or more just to be safe.
14. Virtual hangs or chats with friends
If you’re spending a good chunk of your time at home, I encourage you to consider scheduling these virtual hangouts in advance. Put it on your calendar like you would any IRL social commitment and try to stick to it. A silver lining of social distancing could easily be the time and space to reconnect with people who aren’t physically near us. Make time to catch up with an old friend from school. Face mask with your BFF over Facetime. Call your mom — she will appreciate your newfound free time the most.
15. Hone your green thumb
If you’re lucky enough to have the outdoor space, now is a good time to give gardening a shot. Gardening is an effective way to physically reconnect with the world around you and make a very loving mark on Mother Earth. If you don’t have the outdoor space — try bringing plants into your home. They make great decor, provide a living thing to care for, and are soothing to the nervous system.
16. Try new recipes
If you’re on Instagram, odds are you’ve seen Alison Roman’s Lemony Turmeric Tea Cake — and with good reason. Last night, I doubled the recipe to share with a neighbor and it was a delight to make. Serve it with a little bit of honey, greek yogurt, and a tiny bit of powdered sugar for best results.
In times of stress, I gravitate toward healthy, healing soups. My favorite place to browse soup recipes is bonberi.com or Nicole Berrie’s Instagram.
17. Enjoy your skincare routine
This is the time to make time for the skincare steps you often skip. Take time to slow down and incorporate masques and try out tools like gua shas and facial rollers.
18. Practice gratitude
When you’re full of gratitude, it is all consuming and leaves little room for stressors, sadness, jealousy, or any other negative feeling. Start thinking of gratitude as a tool that can be used to clear our minds of toxic thoughts and harmful stressors. It can be used to maintain control over ourselves, even in stressful or difficult situations. In fact, studies have found when feeling grateful, people experience increased self-control.
Alex Elle’s Growing in Gratitude
19. Learn about astrology
In the age of popular astrology apps like The Pattern and Co—Star, it’s easy to absorb ground-level knowledge of your natal chart. There’s also a handful of aesthetically-pleasing Instagram astrology accounts.
20. Write love letters
Writing letters to loved ones can be similar to a gratitude exercise. It feels wonderful to tell others how much they mean to you and physical notes are certainly meaningful to receive. When was the last time you received a letter via snail mail? Bring the gesture back and spread love to those near and far.
Did we miss something? Share your ideas in the comments with your Instagram handle. We’ll post your suggestion in our @milkandhoneyproducts Stories soon!
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