Tips and Tricks to Feeling Better About Yourself as You Practice Social Distancing and Shelter in Place during COVID-19.

Jacqueline wearing a mask

Life is a bit different right now while we shelter in place and practice social distancing during the outbreak of COVID-19.  The world is a bit different right now. For me, it has been a challenging last couple of weeks in self quarantine. I find myself having a lot of anxiety, eating more than I “should”, my sleep patterns are off and I am not going to sleep until like 4 am and even then, still cannot seem to have a good nights sleep and wake up several times during the night. When I do eventually get out of bed I find myself crying a lot, feeling overwhelmed and anxious, scared and very sad. To say some days are better than others is an understatement. But the truth is…some days, even moments are better than others.

It took me a few weeks to get used to this self-isolation and being quarantined situation, and finally, I feel like I somewhat have a better plan in place where I do feel like I am in more control. The first thing I had to do was let go of the fact that I was not in control, and what was happening around me was going to happen, even if I did not like it or want it to happen. I had to let go of that control to try and “fix” things that were actually out of my control. After I let that go, I was able to really focus on me. What I was feeling, what I had to do and ideas and things to do to help me calm down when I did feel like I was spinning out of control.

As I said, I still have moments and days that are better than others, but I thought I would share with you some tips and suggestions that are working for me to help me stay in a little bit of control and to try to have the best days possible..under these very uncertain times.

I still struggle, have hard days, still cannot get this sleep thing under control, but I am still trying. I am not giving up and I am doing the best I can every day.
Honestly, that is all, any of us really can do right now!

Here are some things that I am working on that are helping me control my emotions, my urges to binge out and to help keep me happy and sane throughout the day.

1- Its ok not to be ok!!!

Jacqueline Selfie
Yes, it really is ok to be upset, sad, scared, and mad. All of those emotions that you are feeling are valid, important and are ok to feel. With everything going on with the world, it is impossible to imagine not feeling any of those emotions. Especially with how much life has changed in the past few weeks, the uncertainty of our jobs, financial stress, homeschooling, having to stay away from our family and friends….then on top of that, adding in our everyday struggles like weight loss, exercising, eating disorders, depression, other medical issues….ITS A LOT!!!!!

If you are sad, cry. Let those emotions out. Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling without any shame or without feeling like you have to keep it together all of the time. Remind yourself that it is ok to be sad or upset. Remind yourself that this too shall pass, it will not be like this forever, and staying home and social distancing is helping to flatten the curve and helping to save lives right now. It will not be like this forever. The “normal” we are dealing with right now will not be “normal” forever. Allow yourself to be upset and sad, but also allow yourself to be able to move on. Let all of these negative emotions out, then, wipe your tears, roll up your sleeves and handle it. You can get through this. I know you can, we all can. I tell myself that just because it may be difficult, it does not mean it is impossible. We are all in this together and we will overcome this together. Allow those tears to flow, allow yourself to express your emotions and then stand back up and keep fighting.
Talk to someone, write in a journal…get all of those emotions out without shame…..its ok to feel that way, we just cannot allow ourselves to stay in that place. Feel it, release it and move on!

2- Call, FaceTime, or text a friend

This may seem like a no brainer but it is definitely one I need to work on and do more myself. When I can reach out to the ones I love, check in with them, vent to them, cry with them, laugh with them..it makes me feel better. It makes me feel like I am not alone. Last week was my friend’s birthday, so we picked a restaurant we wanted to go to when this was all over, bought a gift certificate online and we know when this is over we can see each other and go out and celebrate. Make a date for the future. It helps give you something to look forward to. Also, plan FaceTime dates, game nights, happy hours, girl talk, sister chats….plan a time during the day or the week to actually “get together” with the ones you love.
Checking in on my friends has been something that I also love doing. Even a simple text that says I love you or a funny emoji or gif to let them know you are thinking about them. Make sure to keep that connection with your loved ones going, reach out if you are struggling and see what creative ways you can think of to still see each other or spend time “together”.

3- Make a plan and routine

Jacquelines Planner
When I wake up, I make a list, I make a plan. This list each morning is of the things that I want to do that day. I try to go to bed at my normal time, wake up at my normal time and try to keep things as “normal” as possible. Since things are so different right now I decided to make a new routine and plan that works for me right now. I am not one who likes a set schedule to follow every day down to the exact times, but I do like having an outline of what I do want to accomplish. When I was up I make a cup of coffee and lay in bed, something I never got to do before. Then I get up, change out of my pajamas and do some stretching.  Then breakfast, check-in with my family and friends and then go for a walk, bake, cook, etc…I have been doing a mix between work, something fun and maybe even fitting in a movie.  When I make a list when I wake up of what I want to do that day, it makes me feel accomplished, excited and motivated.  I still try to workout around the same time as I did before, 6 pm, then shower make dinner and relax. Maybe play a board game with Kevin, watch a movie, read a book, color, write in a journal…something relaxing and calming to help get ready for bed.  For me, trying to stick to a routine, but being flexible a bit and mixing things up, is mentally helping me have better days.

4- Avoid binging

Zucchini Noodles and Chicken Sausage
I think right now I am turning to food more, and I hate it. I do not think that eating “off-plan” or eating more than usual is necessarily a bad thing right now, and I do think we need to be more patient and loving with ourselves. But I also do not want to take this time to make excuses as to what I am doing just sit up in bed, and snack and watch movies all day because I am sad. For my mental health, that will not and does not work for me. I just end up feeling worse about myself, hating myself and then turn to food more. It’s a vicious cycle that I cannot allow myself to fall into. SO I am sticking to my normal eating schedule BUT I am allowing myself some forgiveness and grace. IF I want some wine, I will have some. If I want some popcorn while I watch a movie, it’s ok! I found that by doing this, I am not binging out on food, not turning to food for my emotions and I feel in control of my choices and actions and actually want to stay on plan because I feel better.

Knowing that I can have some chips without guilt or shame makes it easier to have a few if I want, but honestly, I am not really craving them or turning to them anymore. When we tell ourselves that something is bad and we shouldn’t be doing it, it can make us want it more or feel guilty when we do have it like we are doing something wrong. So what is working for me, now, is following my normal food plan, and knowing it is ok to add in some extra treats when or if I want it and mentally it is really helping me.  (If you want to know more about my thoughts on food restriction and elimination read THIS Blog)

I think right now we have to do the best we can, focus on what makes us feel good and not just turn to food for immediate relief or comfort. Think of the big picture and how you feel after you binge out vs how you feel when you follow your plan and know it is ok to still have treats. Focus on the WHY of why you are turning to food and wanting to eat. I know that once I did that, the reason was not that I was hungry, it was because I was sad and I knew I had to work on what was making me sad, food was just making it worse. It’s ok to allow yourself some grace with your food choices, but not to use this situation as an excuse to throw all of your hard work out the door and just give up. Sure your results may be slower or moving in a different direction right now, but things are different too. It is important to realize that mentally you may need to change your goals instead of focusing so strictly on weight loss, it is ok to focus on making healthy choices (physically and mentally) to help you under these circumstances.

5- Get moving

Jacqueline Stretching
It is always important to live an active lifestyle, but especially right now when we are stuck at home. It is so important to move our bodies, get in some physical activity and just get moving. I did not really work out for the first week I was home, I just felt so unmotivated, lazy, weak and did not want to do anything. Once I began to move again, workout again and get my body going, physically my body felt better which helped me mentally to feel better. I have switched up my normal workouts and I am trying new things. Following new workouts online and I am even taking ballet classes online! Yes, ballet! And I am loving it. It is new, exciting and pushing me outside of my comfort zone to try something new. Even if you don’t feel like it, try to get active. You can’t wait until you feel motivated, you just have to get moving. Go for a walk, do some at-home workouts, stretch, yoga….just make sure to move your body in some way.  (I also talk about staying consistent and keep going even when you don’t feel like it in THIS blog post).

6- Take care of you

Jacqueline Face Mask
This means not only making sure to eat enough protein, veggies, fruit and make sure we are nourishing our body with healthy ingredients, but that means still making sure we are having enough water too. I have been seriously slacking with my water and, absolutely, I can feel it. I feel puffier, have headaches and very low energy. Having enough water and eating enough nutrient-dense foods helps tremendously. Also, make sure to TRY and get a good night’s sleep. This is still something that I am struggling with but I am working on it. Staying active and doing something relaxing before bed is helping me. Prayer, meditation and writing all of my fears and anxieties down before bed and releasing them also helps to let go of some of those emotions that can keep me awake at night. Taking care of your body physically and mentally right now is the most important thing we can do. Oh ya and wash your hands 🙂

7- Follow the guidelines

Jacqueline wearing a mask
I know its hard to be apart from your friends and loved ones. I know it sucks that you cannot go out to eat, go to the gym and have to wear a mask in public. I know you miss happy hour, your kids being in school and going on vacations. I get it. My heart is broken that Disneyland is closed and I had to cancel a trip. BUT we must practice social distancing. We must stay at home. We must do what we are told no matter how “unfair”, not fun or hard it may be. We are being asked to sit on the couch and stay home- I can think of a lot worse things than that. I know its not fun, but it is not overreacting, it is necessary….SO DO IT!!!!!

8- Clean and organize

Kevin and I have been keeping busy because we finally cleaned and organized our whole house. It was way way way overdue. Having a home that feels clean, organized and well-loved makes it easy to feel at peace inside. When things are overwhelming and messy around us, we can feel that way too. Take this time to create a space in your home that makes you feel calm, organized and ready to work. Set up a designated office space, classroom, workout station…it will make it easier to get stuff done. If you feel like you have space to get your work done, you might feel like sitting down and actually getting it done.

9- Do something you have always wanted to do

Sleeping Beauty Puzzle
Along with cleaning and organizing, our whole house, Kevin and I are about to start a podcast. Working 3 full-time jobs doesn’t really give us much free time, but right now, time is all we have. So instead of making excuses and running all over the place working, we are using this extra time to actually do something we have always wanted to do. Even if it is not something big like a podcast, try reading a book, do your nails, and at-home facial, try new makeup trends, food trends, bake and cook….learn to sew. There are so many things to try and new activities to discover. So many people use time as an excuse as to why they can’t start or try something new, but most people right now have more time than what they know what to do with. Use that extra time to start or learn something new.

10- LOVE YOURSELF

Last but certainly not least, be patient and kind with yourself. I know I mentioned about using this time to get S*it done, but honestly, use this time to take care of you. We are all in survival mode right now. So we must do all we can to make it through this time. If you need to sleep in every day, read books all day, cry, and call your mom every 5 minutes….do it. I do not want you to feel like you have to have your whole life figured out in a spotless house when this is all over. For some people, that might work, but please don’t feel like you have to do that. Take each day one day at a time. Do what you need to do to survive. Be kind, loving, and patient with yourself. I do not want you to fall into old self-sabotaging habits and go to a dark place. I do not want you to feel as if you are not doing something productive that you are failing. Use this time the best way you can. Do what makes you happy. Find things that help you stay in a happy space and will help you make it out of this. I stopped watching the news because it brought me to a bad place every time. Make changes and do what feels right for you. Right now we must work on flattening the curve, helping others, helping ourselves and ending the spread of this awful virus. This situation is new to EVERYONE. Times are scary and unknown- don’t make it worse by beating yourself up for things you feel like you should be doing. Do the best you can every day.

I hope these tips are helpful. The world is a crazy place right now and we are all in unknown territory. We are all trying to figure out this new normal. Take it one day at a time, listen to your heart and your body, follow the rules in place, do what feels right for you and remember that you are not alone. We are all in this together and it will not be like this forever.

I am sending you all a virtual hug and kiss and remember I am here for you…I am only 6 feet away from you.

Stay home, stay safe, stay positive and know I am here with you!

Xoxo
Jacqueline

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