I think it’s safe to say we’re living in an incredibly uncertain time. Covid-19 was named a pandemic on March 11th, we’re all being advised to practice social distancing, and the government’s recommendations are changing day by day. The scariest thing of all though is we don’t know how long this is going to last. It’s unsettling, to say the least.
In the past week, all teaching at the University of Manchester has moved online – a concerning prospect considering I’m supposed to be graduating in less than four months. As for graduation itself, I’m doubtful that I’ll experience the grand ceremony I’ve always dreamed of, or, at the very least, it’ll be severely postponed. My trip to the United States next month to represent my country at the ICU Cheerleading World Championships? Postponed indefinitely due to the travel ban.
And, as of March 16th, I’m enduring a period of self-isolation. I have myalgic encephalomyelitis, more commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome. Amongst other things, this means I can’t fight off infections as effectively as a healthy human and getting the coronavirus could result in me being very unwell for a long time. Not ideal.
With all that’s going on right now, it’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed, so looking after yourself both physically and emotionally is more important than ever. Whether you’re continuing to head out to the workplace every day or choosing to distance yourself from the outside world, practice a little self-care every day and take some time to look after yourself and those around you.
Whether you’re a regular at your local gym, attend weekly dance classes or go for a run each morning before work, it’s super important to continue being active. If you’re none of the above, now’s the perfect time to start. Exercise releases bursts of endorphins that are the perfect way to keep you feeling positive during this uncertain time.
Can’t get out? YouTube has a treasure trove of online workout videos to follow. Boutique fitness brands, Sweaty Betty and Lululemon both have channels featuring workouts lasting between 20 minutes and an hour, and Yoga with Adriene is my personal go-to when it comes to all my yoga and meditation-related needs.
Engage with Nature
This is easier for some than others, depending on where you live, but engaging in the natural world around you is a great self-care strategy. Sit outside in the garden with a good book (weather permitting, of course), take your dog for a walk, or, if you’re lucky enough to live by the coast, spend time by the water, taking in the beauty of the sea. Even if you live in a high-rise block of flats in the city, open the window and let the fresh air circulate.
I actually took the featured image for this post whilst isolating. It’s of the magnolia tree in the front garden of my family home and it blooms every spring just in time for my birthday (March 26th, in case you were wondering).
Limit your Social Media Usage
Being mindful of how you engage with social media is important no matter what, but particularly so at the moment given the constant stream of coronavirus-related content filling your feed. Limit the number of sources you’re looking to for information and consider unfriending/unfollowing any people or pages that seem to be sensationalising things.
To keep updated on Covid-19’s development, stick to trusted news sites and spend the rest of your time taking your mind off things.
Working from home may seem like the perfect excuse to laze around in your pyjamas binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy but forming a daily routine and using your time productively is one of the best things to do during isolation. I’ll be spending my time doing exactly two things: getting ahead on uni work and putting a bit of heart back into Blonde Sartorial.
Remember all those times you wished for an extra hour in the day or an extra day in the week? Well, here’s a whole load of them. You could use your time to learn a new language. Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read. Take an online course. Have a Marie Kondo-level clearout and set up a Depop shop to sell your unwanted goods. The possibilities are endless.
Stay in Touch
Being alone doesn’t have to be lonely. Just because you’re social distancing physically, doesn’t mean you should fall out of touch with your loved ones. Talking to friends and family, whether by FaceTime, Whatsapp or Messenger, is the most important form of self-care there is.
I’m part of multiple group chats with friends from uni and we check in on each other most days. I’ve always thought that, because I’m an introvert, self-isolating would be a dream come true. But, in all honesty, staying in touch with friends is the only thing that’s keeping me sane.
We’re going through an incredibly tough time right now but every cloud has a silver lining. That silver lining is that you’re getting a break from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. Although I worry about my degree, I’m also super grateful for some time away from Manchester. Monday was the first time in almost two months that I didn’t have to set a morning alarm and God knows, waking up naturally felt good.
The effects of the coronavirus are overwhelming but there’s nothing stopping you from using this extra time to your advantage. Light a scented candle, take a long hot bath, and look after yourself!