When asked about her life philosophy, Michelle Obama wisely said, “We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to-do’ list.” Without a doubt, the past few months have been filled with change and uncertainty. From working at home to caring for young kids, despite having nowhere to go, many of us have found ourselves busier than ever before.
As the lines between work and home blur, we’ve been reminded that a little self-care can go a long way. And that taking a moment to take care is not just a luxury but a basic need. From picking up old hobbies to creating new routines, making time for yourself provides much-needed relief from the buildup of daily stress and anxiety. So, in the spirit of making space to slow down, we asked our coworkers how they unwind after a hard day's work and rounded up our top 5 tips for taking better care of yourself.
"We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to-do’ list."
1. Commit to a Socially Responsible Outdoor Activity
Home has taken on a whole new meaning the past few months, becoming a place where we live, work, eat, and play. And while we couldn’t be more grateful for the comfort a home can bring, the reality is that it leaves little opportunity to go outside, let alone be active. When asking around, it became abundantly clear that spending time outdoors was a top pick. Whether that means squeezing in a pre-lunch workout or going for a drive after work, fresh air can work wonders for your mental health. While heading outdoors will look different for everyone, here are some of our go-to activities to serve as a starting point:
For those short on time: With gyms temporarily closed, many fitness studios are offering free or reasonably priced online sessions. Plan a regular workout in your backyard or go on a quick neighborhood walk during your break.
For an adventure: If you find yourself able to commit to a longer stretch of time, camping, hiking, and kayaking are all great seasonal activities. If your schedule allows, take some time off and go on a weekday to avoid others who may have the same thing in mind and enjoy a much-needed reset.
For a double-duty outing: Opt for buying groceries at a nearby farmer’s market instead of the supermarket. Not only will you get some outside air, but you’ll also return home with beautiful, seasonal produce. As an added bonus, you can then use said produce to make a fantastic dessert, like this Easy Peach Blackberry Cobbler.
For an unconventional outdoor excursion: If you find yourself wanting to get some fresh air, but you’ve never been a fan of traditional outdoor activities, try wine-tasting. Many wineries are away from the city and offer a safe, socially distanced space outside or overlooking a valley to unwind.
2. Spruce Up Your Space
There’s something about the physical act of decluttering that brings joy and clarity like nothing else. From organizing your interior to making simple home upgrades, refreshing your space not only elevates the everyday, but it also brings a welcome change of scenery.
Bridgette, Sales Order Management Lead: "One thing I have been doing to keep myself sane is revitalizing and rearranging everything. It’s so easy to feel like so many things are out of my hands, but my space is one thing in my control."
Here are a few how-to's to help kickstart your home projects: Swapping Out Hardware, Inventive Tips for Apartment Living, Simple & Sustainable Cleaning Tips
It’s so easy to feel like so many things are out of my hands, but my space is one thing in my control.
3. Find New Appreciation for the Analog
It’s no secret that here at Schoolhouse, we hold a special place in our hearts for the calm that slowing down brings. In days filled with emails and text messages aplenty, it’s important to take a break from the digital. Whether that’s reading, cooking, painting, or puzzling, spending some time to reset away from a screen is a great way to stay sane.
Bria, Web Quality Assurance Assistant: "The things that have been the best for self-care are those moments to create space to breathe. Limiting media intake is well worth it because it reminds me that I still have impactful choices to make for my mind and body. One of my favorite things has been going through cookbooks with my husband at the start of the week and choosing three dreamy recipes we want to get after. On the nights we cook them, it’s not only yummy, but it’s quality time together where we get to be a little 'extra'”
Bria's Favorite Recipes: Israeli-Spiced Tomatoes + Chickpeas, Raw Asparagus Salad with Breadcrumbs, Classic Carbonara
Beverly, Supply Chain Manager: "My favorite activity has been making time for reading! I’ve read more books so far in 2020 than in the last 3 years combined. It’s a great habit to develop and has been a joy to get caught up in a thrilling story, learn something new, or be inspired. My tips for how to read more: try different mediums and have more than one book in progress at one time. Many options will make it possible and enjoyable to read in different situations."
Beverly's Book Recommendations: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, There There by Tommy Orange, Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
4. Treat Yourself
While there is a clear difference between practicing self-care and indulging, it only feels fitting to treat yourself mid-pandemic. This could look different depending on what your day-to-day looks like. If you spend most of your weekdays ordering food due to a busy schedule, take some time to make a home-cooked meal (we highly recommend this Homemade Spring Pasta Primavera Recipe). If the opposite is true, treating yourself to takeout is a great way to relax while supporting the small businesses in your neighborhood.
Austin, Supply Planner: "This time has allowed me to cut back from a lot of scheduled obligations and spend significant quality time with my wife and beagle! I’ve been really trying to rest well. We’ve started trying a new bottle of wine every week! Amidst the chaos, we’re finding ways to make the most of this time in quarantine!"
Austin's Wine Picks: 2017 Matua Sauvignon Blanc, 2016 ArborBrook 777 Block Pinot Noir, 2017 Cooper & Thief Red Blend
We’ve started trying a new bottle of wine every week! Amidst the chaos, we’re finding ways to make the most of this time in quarantine!
5. Connect with Others
Mindfulness goes beyond the physical. In this time of isolation, finding creative ways to connect with others is crucial to our mental health. Let a friend know you’re thinking of them by spontaneously sending them a sweet treat. With so many app-based delivery options, you can easily gift it to them in a responsible way. If you don’t live close to family, send a letter, or if you have loved ones nearby, host a socially distanced picnic.
Self-care can take many shapes and forms depending on what you appreciate. The important part is to find something that brings you joy and make it a daily priority because in the words of Oscar Wilde “to love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”