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8 Wellness Experts On How-To Practise Self-Care During COVID-19

"Stay moving, stay mindful and stay positive"
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As the world continues to struggle against the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, our regular daily routines have been disrupted beyond recognition. While the virus forces us indoors to self-isolate and prevent the spread, it is now more important than ever to focus on self-care to keep us feeling calm, grounded and give us a sense of normalcy during these unprecedented times.

WATCH BELOW: Courteney Cox Dances While In Quarantine Amid COVID-19

marie claire spoke to eight health and wellness experts to uncover their best advice for practising self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stephanie Miller, Co-Founder of Keep It Cleaner

It is a really stressful time and right now, self-care is more important than ever. I think finding balance is key. I need to stay connected with those people that are important to me – even if from a distance, and I need to take a holistic approach to my health. 

Of course, exercise is really important and I am lucky to have the Keep It Cleaner community on hand to keep me motivated to move my body – even on those days when I might not necessarily feel like it. However, just as important to me is my mental wellbeing, now more than ever I need to take care of my mind to help me navigate everything that is going on. 

I’ve been maintaining my mental health by increasing the amount of yoga and meditation in my routine. It helps me to slow down and remember to just breathe. I have been practising this lifestyle for a little while now, and it was actually requests from the Keep It Cleaner community that saw us launch a Wellness Hub earlier in the year. Our experience is that mental health is just as important as physical health. 

Sjana Elise Earp, Yoga Instructor

One of the main things keeping me sane right now is giving back the best and only way I know how – I decided to create a 10 day online retreat called The Retreat Yourself Series. 10 days of daily yoga, meditation, mindfulness and journaling practices. Things to keep you moving, healthy, happy and thriving at home. I wanted it to be accessible to everyone so I made sure it was completely free. 

Besides that, I’m keeping busy with other creative projects, and preparing to publish my first book soon! Staying in routine, sleeping as early as possible, and rising with the sun. Eating natural whole-foods, exercising and moving my body daily (walking, yoga, at-home DIY movement things etc, and surfing when the surf isn’t too big! I ensure to call and Facetime my friends to stay up-to-date.

This is trialling time for us all as individuals, a community and the global collective.  Because there are no prescribed solutions and it is such unfamiliar territory, I think it is important we continue to support one another in whatever ways we can and continue to live as normally as possible – within the suggested guidelines and regulations and/or adapting with grace where necessary.

Be kinder to yourself, understand that some things are beyond our control, but each and every happening is a divine unfolding of an opportunity. Ask yourself: “What can I learn from this? How can I act resourcefully, giving, selfless, kind etc in a situation I would usually react from a space of fear or insecurity?”

Sleep is PIVOTAL to regular cognitive functioning, energy levels and all-round well-being. If you didn’t have a good sleep routine before, now is the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself and go to bed a little earlier, and wake up lighter and brighter. Move your body because it CAN move and because it is FUN too!

Adopt or become curious as to what a mindfulness or meditation practise might do for you. I have never met anyone who didn’t come out of a mindfulness or meditation practise slightly calmer and more grounded.

Just remember that we are all just doing the best we can, with what we know. Be kind, compassionate and considerate to others, because love really is what it all comes back to, and the strongest tool we have against not only this virus, but the strongest most stubborn virus we will ever know; fear.

Kirsty Godso, Fitness Athlete and Nike Master Trainer

During any time of uncertainty, I always come back to things I know to be true and that will calm my body and my mind. Routine is a big one for me, it instantly relaxes me when I am organized and on a schedule.

Although for almost all of us our daily endeavours have been changed and we’re trying to operate in much smaller spaces whilst being agile to changes and uncertainty with work, health and the future, getting up every day with a plan in mind will help dramatically.

I try and keep as much of a schedule as possible: getting up early, drinking water, stretching, moving my body and getting into my work. There are many unknowns so it is more important than ever that you show up for yourself in the ways you know you can and structure will be the framework for that.

Don’t fall victim to leaning into or developing bad habits. Use your time wisely: Are excessive Facetimes or 1pm live-stream Instagram workouts something you’d normally do on a workday? No. Keep some boundaries in place – time is energy. Stay moving, stay mindful and stay positive whilst aware, because one thing we can agree on is that this is the perfect time to be in the University of Self and find out ways to build ourselves to be better and brighter, not only in our own lives but for the world.

Fiona Tuck, Nutritionist, Skin Expert and Founder of Vita-Sol

Mindfulness and routine are really important during this time. I find that having structure to my day and following a to-do list is really helpful. This gives me a sense of accomplishment to be able to tick things off the list and stops the day being wasted. Getting outside to exercise provides a refreshing break and helps to clear my head.

I am also craving yoga at this time and so I have been doing more at-home yoga which is a fabulous way to stay grounded. At-home facials have become a thing too and every week I have been trying out new skin treatments and masks at home.

Practising mindfulness is something that can also be really beneficial. We can go through a rollercoaster of emotions during the day and if you latch on to a negative thought it can send you into a spiral of negative feelings which can be hard to pull yourself out of. Just being aware of your thoughts, feelings and allowing them to surface can be therapeutic, without putting judgement on them.

It is also ok to have a bit of time out too. Everyone reacts differently and so whilst some may seemingly have got it all together, others may need time to stop and process what is going on. Be kind to yourself and try and listen to what your body really needs.

Dr Jan Orman, Psychological Medicine Practitioner and General Practitioner Services Consultant at Black Dog Institute

Stick to a daily routine. A sense of routine helps us stay calm in a crisis and a morning routine is especially important for setting us up for the day. Creating a to-do list every day can also help focus your mind on things it can both achieve and control.

Gyms might not be open but with such a plethora of free online workouts, keeping your exercise routine is another great way to feel in control. Add in 10 minutes of ‘you’ time every day to create a sense of calm whether it be a meditation app or an at-home facial, self-care will create a sense of control. Its also important to try and stick to your normal sleeping pattern and a nutritious, balanced diet.

Limit unhelpful screen time. It might feel like now is the perfect time to binge-watch Netflix, check-in in on your favourite content creators or scroll through news updates however exposing yourself to constant, alarming, anxiety-inducing stories convinces us that there is something to panic about. The more we read and hear about it, the more frightening it becomes, and the less chance we have to distract ourselves and do things that can take our minds off it.

If you’re feeling anxious or worried, you’re not alone. Channel your anxiety into action: get informed, plan, and prepare. Try your best to focus on what’s under your control. Equip yourself with the facts about COVID-19 from trusted sources.

Use coping strategies that have helped you in the past when you’ve felt stressed or anxious. Some measures I recommend include staying focused on the here and now, taking each day step-by-step, being aware of negative thoughts and not giving them too much power, and staying connected with others, so you’re not socially isolated or lonely.

If you’re feeling like you’re not coping, get professional advice. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, seek professional support. Psychological therapies can be done online, or remotely via phone or video conferencing.

RELATED: How To Cope With Anxiety In The Face Of COVID-19

Mindy Duncan, Naturopath and Founder of Nourish Naturopathy

What a surreal time we are finding ourselves in right now. Throughout difficult times such as these it’s especially necessary to maintain a level of self-care in order to keep ourselves mentally, emotionally and physically well. For me personally, right now, I’m finding it most beneficial to aim on going with the flow. Embracing and appreciating the small things each day, rather than focusing on what’s been taken away and simply remaining grateful for how lucky we are to still have access to food, fresh air, the sun and of course Houseparty.

For me, self-care is really all about the basics. I’ve found it deeply therapeutic to spend more time preparing wholesome nutritious meals. Cooking, connecting and appreciating the meals you are able to prepare for yourself and the people you love is one of the most profound acts of self-love and self-care. It’s a little luxury to have spare time these days!

Continuing to engage in a daily movement practise has also been essential. Whether that’s getting some fresh air and hitting the pavement for a walk or run or pulling out my yoga mat and accessing the plethora of amazing free classes online – just getting the blood moving is really restorative. The most important aspect of self-care, however, is to always check in with yourself and others. Are you coping okay right now? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious or stressed it’s important to connect with a loved one or professional and ask for support. We are all in this together.

Chantelle Otten, Relationship and Sexual Health Expert

My personal self-care includes virtual chats with my friends, doing exercises with my partner, cooking healthy meals, respecting my varied emotions and dressing in playful outfits. In a way, because my business is online, I am free to explore my personal fashion taste because I can now wear the clothes I would reserve for a non-work-day, every day!

When it comes to self-care tips, we need to think of the advice as being to ‘physically’ distance, rather than ‘socially’ distance ourselves – this distinction is so important. I believe that there has never been a more critical time to stay connected with those around you.

It also doesn’t mean that you can’t meet new people, instead, it is about making some adjustments and having positive and healthy virtual connections, rather than physical ones. Apps like Bumble enable you to remain connected and video chat – you can meet, talk and date – while still staying at home. You can still connect, meet new friends, date and stay safe. 

For me human connection is everything, and even though it might not be able to happen in the physical sense right now, it can still happen. There is no better way to make you feel grounded than to relate to another person. 

Dr Addie Wootten, Clinical Psychologist and Smiling Mind CEO

Physical distancing as a result of COVID-19 has presented a lot of hurdles and changes to my daily life. I’m finding the most important thing right now is to let go of my expectations of what my normal is and try and create a new routine during this time. This involves reminding myself that this is temporary, it will pass, and to take advantage of the great opportunity to talk a step back, slow down and be present.

I’ve really been working on stepping up my physical activity and building a routine around the start and end of my workday – starting with meditation and ending with exercise. I recommend bringing mindfulness into your routine to support better attention, memory, regulation of emotions and self-awareness, which is especially important now that we’re all in our loved ones spaces 24/7!

Mindfulness can be cultivated through meditation, gratitude and self-compassion practices or even just making the effort to be present during everyday activities, such as cooking or cleaning your teeth. If you’re unsure where to start the Smiling Mind app and the Thrive Inside site offers free, accessible mindfulness meditations and activities for everyone.

As the world continues to struggle against the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, our regular daily routines have been disrupted beyond recognition. While the virus forces us indoors to self-isolate and prevent the spread, it is now more important than ever to focus on self-care to keep us feeling calm, grounded and give us a sense of normalcy during these unprecedented times.

WATCH BELOW: Courteney Cox Dances While In Quarantine Amid COVID-19

As the world continues to struggle against the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, our regular daily routines have been disrupted beyond recognition. While the virus forces us indoors to self-isolate and prevent the spread, it is now more important than ever to focus on self-care to keep us feeling calm, grounded and give us a sense of normalcy during these unprecedented times.

WATCH BELOW: Courteney Cox Dances While In Quarantine Amid COVID-19

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