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Whether we’re kicking it with our cat, hunkered down at home with our kiddos, or getting to know a lot more about our roommates than we ever wanted to, there's one person we are all definitely spending a lot more time with these days: ourselves.
And—no judgment—but for most of us, our self-care muscles aren’t exactly bikini season ready.
It’s understandable—we normally live busy lives, and many of us don’t have time to focus on (really focus, not just read memes about) our mental wellness. But letting your mental health sit and eat chips on the couch just won’t cut it anymore.
In the times we’re living in, self-care isn't a luxury—it's a necessity. If we’re going to make it through these dark and stressful days, we quite literally can't afford to not take care of both our bodies and our minds.
So, while you may not be able to attend your favorite Bootcamp right now, that doesn't mean you can't enroll in a Bootcamp of mental wellness. And honestly? It's a lot less sweaty.
Here are six helpful tips based on the tried and true advice from mental health care experts.
Cultivating good routines is one of the mainstays of a healthy mind. Sure, gratifying your inner ten-year-old and eating ice cream for breakfast for a week started off fun, but at some point, it can make you feel untethered and contribute to your anxiety. Having a routine doesn’t mean scheduling every hour of the day, but it does mean having consistent patterns for waking up and going to sleep, as well as dedicated time for both work and fun. Bonus: a sense of routine will give you things to look forward to, and will help the time pass more quickly.
Right now there's still a lot we don't know, and you probably don’t need a therapist to tell you that it’s a pretty straight shot from uncertainty to anxiety. Staying informed is smart, but spending hours reading the rants of strangers online won’t diminish your stress level and will clutter up your brain. So pick a few trusted sources of information, and limit the time you spend reading up on them. And be strategic about when you do so—for instance, consider wedging in your research during the day so that it's not the last thing you're thinking about as you try to get some restful sleep.
Now that you’ve cut back on the negativity coming from your phone or your TV, you might be noticing it from another source—your own head. That’s because it’s easy to be hard on ourselves, particularly when we’re stressed. But when the world outside gets toxic, it’s even more important for the inside of our minds be a safe place. So, make an effort to talk to yourself like you would a friend who’s going through a difficult time. Take the time to acknowledge your accomplishments for the day, even if they’re minor (you did laundry!? Heck yeah!). And if you just can’t silence the negativity, it’s okay to ask for help. There are a lot of fantastic and affordable remote therapy options, and now may be the time to make exploring them a priority.
Now that you’re in your own head—in a good way—the next step to learning what you need is to ask questions. It’s a great time to try out something like a personality test to learn more about who you are and how you relate to the world around you. But don’t get stuck feeling existential—you should also learn how to pay attention to what you need in the moment with easy mindfulness techniques like a Body Scan. Once you’re done, follow it up with some gentle probing: What would taste, smell, sound, or feel good right now? You’ll be surprised at what your body is asking for if you listen. Or, try a virtual meditation class to help you find focused calm.
Once you’ve determined what your body and mind are craving, be intentional and generous. We all have a tendency to mentally multi-task, even when we’re doing things we enjoy—but being intentional means taking time to hyperfocus on whatever nice thing you’ve chosen to give yourself. So savor the sensation of taking that deep breath of air, or throw yourself into a performance of your favorite song. And don’t hold out on yourself: do this kind of thing multiple times a day! It may seem insignificant given the larger life problems you’re up against, but performing small acts of kindness for yourself throughout the day can provide the serotonin boosts that your body desperately needs to stay functional.
Not only is learning super good for us, but it’s also a healthy distraction, which is a very powerful tool for mental wellness. If there’s a topic you’ve always been curious about or an achievable skill that you want to improve in (think organization, not opera singing) now’s the time. Listen to a Podcast on a topic that fascinates you. Open a language learning app and dust off your high school Spanish. And while you’re learning, remember to set reasonable expectations for yourself, because it’s okay if you’re not the next Marie Kondo. The point is to continue to stay mentally active, even if your physical activity’s taken a hit.
Shelter-at-home can mean a lot of time alone with some very scary thoughts. We can either be totally swamped, or we can be kind to ourselves.
Taking time to learn and apply good mental health hygiene will benefit us long after this crisis is over. Hang in there. Be nice to you.
It’s safe to say, the way we conquer our daily routines has changed drastically over the last few months. The way we perform our jobs, how we socialize—even the way we workout—have flipped from in-person, group settings to virtual platforms to keep us safe and healthy. There's no denying that navigating this new normal has certainly come with its ups and downs, to say the least. In fact, a recent survey revealed one-third of Americans said this pandemic has caused more stress and anxiety in their lives, which isn’t surprising given the circumstances.
With anxiety levels at a high, people need relaxation, self-care, and movement more than ever. Enter yoga.
Yoga has long been touted for its amazing ability to calm the mind and help folks stay in-tune with their body—which is probably why more and more people are embracing an at-home practice.
Whether you’re looking for a powerful Vinyasa class to help kickstart your morning or yearning for a gentle, evening flow to wind down after a busy workday, taking a yoga class is now more accessible than ever. With 91% of group fitness studios offering or planning to offer live stream and/or on-demand classes, those who are ready to get their asana on have plenty of yoga classes to try all over the country.
While there’s no place like om, most of us could go for a little virtual vacation right now. I know I could! Ready to get a taste of what yoga classes are like all over the country? Here are the U.S. cities with the most virtual yoga classes available.
It seems poetic that Chicago hits our number one spot on this list because it was the first city in America that was introduced to yoga back in 1893. Swami Vivekananda presented yoga at the World Parliament of Religions and made a speech on the concept of body, spirit, and mind. It seems the presentation made a lasting impression on the city.
Try getting your Zen on with one of these studios:
• The Lab Yoga
• Bottom Line Yoga
• Bare Feet Power Yoga
Everyone knows that Washington DC is where you can visit some of the world’s most famous monuments, memorials, and museums. But you may be surprised to learn that it also offers one of the most robust libraries of virtual classes to help yogis sample some classes at the nation’s capital.
Houston is one of the most culturally diverse cities in America—in fact, you can folks speaking 145 different languages and thousands of restaurants serving up food from more than 70 countries. If those facts have you working up quite an appetite, feel free to indulge. They also have plenty of virtual yoga classes available to help you torch some calories.
Did you know one of the first businesses to open in the City of Brotherly Love was a brewery in 1683? If you’re familiar with the ever-evolving trends of yoga, then you have most likely heard of or participated in beer yoga sesh. Get ready to try yoga the Philly way by cracking a cold one and doing some downward dogs in the comfort of your own home at the end of the day.
New York City is home to 8.4 million people, making it the most densely populated city in the entire nation. With that many people, you know there must be a ton of yogis looking to relax from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Start spreading the news and flowing with some of the most dedicated yogis in the U.S.—there are a ton of virtual yoga classes to choose from in the Big Apple.
Get ready to make some virtual yoga neighbors. Did you know that Columbus, Ohio is considered the heart of the country? The reason for that is because nearly half of the America’s residents live within a 600-mile radius of the city. Ready to put your heart and soul into your at-home yoga practice? Then check out what this city has to offer virtually.
San Diego is known as one of the happiest cities in America—mainly because of the beautiful weather, picturesque beaches, and the abundance of yoga classes available. While a vacation to this area may not be in the books for this year, you can certainly flow with the best of them by booking a virtual class at a San Diego studio.
This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the yoga studios offering virtual classes to help you stay fit, healthy, and calm during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope these offerings inspire you to either start a new at-home practice or are helping you seasoned yogis continue your path to wellness. Interested in seeing what other cities are hosting a bevy of online yoga classes? The options on Mindbody are endless—literally!