If you’ve been taking breaks throughout your work-from-home-day, no longer need to remind your kids to be quiet when you are napping, and manage to squeeze in some exercise in-between doing household chores — congratulations! You have made self-care a part of your life and are on the right track to experiencing reduced stress, more energy, and increased resilience.
How about trying a few other ways to destress, decompress, and reward yourself? We’ve compiled some suggestions for you:
- Watch a different genre on TV. We all love our Hollywood movies and sitcoms, but how about trying out some new categories for a change? If your goal is to temporarily escape reality, Korean dramas, cooking shows, and home improvement shows will surely take you there.
What we recommend: “Start-Up” if you are a K-drama newbie, “Nailed It,” if you want a comedic baking show (yes, there is such a thing!) “Tiny House Nation” if you want tips on how to live simply.
- Engage in light reading. Reading is good for your brain but that doesn’t mean your bedside table has to be stacked with Pulitzer-Prize winning works or other serious tones. Romance novels, comic books, and other forms of light reading do not tax a brain that’s already tired from a full day and provide much-needed stress relief.
What we recommend: Dilbert and Calvin & Hobbes comic books for humor; anything by Julia Quinn for romance; the Trese comic series for action and a fresh take on Philippine mythology.
- Build something. When you work with your hands to create something from scratch, you trigger your brain’s reward centers and experience pleasure, which leads to reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.
What we recommend: Lego and other construction blocks if you are a beginner and need step-by step guidance; jigsaw puzzles if you’ve had more experience; plastic model kits (i.e. Tamiya, Bandai) if you are up for a challenge.
- Dress up, just because. Holiday parties may be put on hold because of the pandemic, but there’s no law against jazzing up your looks in the comfort of your home. Nothing will make you feel better faster than the sight of you in the mirror looking well-groomed and stylish.
What we recommend: Set aside one day of the week (i.e. Fancy Fridays) where you and your partner will both swap the loungewear for dressier choices, complete with styled hair and makeup for the ladies.
- Pop some bubble wrap. Odds are you’ve amassed quite a bit from all the orders that have arrived from your online shopping. Instead of putting them straight into the recycling bin, spend a few minutes popping the row of bubbles. What makes it so pleasurable is the instant gratification you receive from pressing out all the air; studies have even shown that popping bubble wrap for 60 seconds relieves as much stress as a 33-minute massage!
What we recommend: Another way bubble wrap can bring relief — cut up big sheets into the shape of your shoes and use them as shoe inserts the next time you have to go out to purchase essential items. Instant foot massage!
- Cook or bake something simple. Both activities can help improve mood by providing small tasks to focus on in a manner similar to meditation. Let’s also not discount the sense of accomplishment you get when you smell or taste the end result of your kitchen experiment. If you find the prepping or cleaning to be a chore, round up the partner and kids to help out — instant family bonding time!
What we recommend: If you’re a beginner in the kitchen, start with store bought cake mixes that only need a few additional ingredients to yield the finished product (less mess to clean up too!) If you want to try your hand at cooking, we love Laura Vitale’s Youtube videos (laurainthekitchen.com) because the recipes are beginner-friendly but no less yummy.
- Keep physically close to your partner. According to Hans Delos Reyes, a MindNation wellness coach, positive physical contact with a partner can increase your mood and decrease your stress levels.
What we recommend: If privacy is hard to come by because the kids are home ALL day, you and your partner need to get creative and even go easy on some of the household rules. Put them to bed earlier than usual, or wake them up later in the mornings (because 1-on-1 time does not only have to happen at night). If you can only spare an hour in the middle of the day, let them play with their gadgets or watch tv longer, then find other spots at home where you can have privacy.
- Take care of plants. There’s a reason more people are buying plants during the pandemic. “It’s not just a trend, it is also a good way to take care of yourself,” says Hans. When you expose yourself to nature, you help the body increase melatonin, which is responsible for regulating sleep and lowering stress labels. “In addition, watching your plants to grow provides you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction,” he adds.
What we recommend: Don’t have a green thumb? Try puttering with succulents first, which are inexpensive, don’t take up a lot of space, and are low-maintenance.
Always remember that self-care isn’t just important, it’s crucial. Practicing self-care doesn’t make you weak; it helps you stay strong and recharges you so that you can care for your family and do your work better.
Written by Jac of MindNation