3 Effortless Things You Can Do For Self-Care At Home Right Now for Free

Now that much of the United States appears to be committed to staying at home to combat the spread of the Coronavirus, most of us are finding ourselves anxious, bored, or somewhere in between.

I’m convinced this is all happening for us, rather than to us. This is a time to identify the things that matter to us and let go of the things that don’t.


As for me, I was struggling before we were asked to stay at home. I was making my life endlessly complicated with new commitments and uber-long todo lists. Taking time for self-care was never a priority. However, necessity–and a little creativity–have made this experience pretty enjoyable.

Adding to the stress is the growing number of people losing their jobs, seeing their hours cut, or closing their business due to stay-at-home orders. Self-care activities often cost extra money. You may not be comfortable spending right now: gym memberships, makeup, skincare, and who knows what else that bills itself as essential to your self-care routine.

If you’re looking for something to do for yourself without spending extra money, you’ve come to the right place.

1. Meditate

Meditation and mindfulness are fantastic and easy ways to practice self-care. The best part is, there’s no “wrong” way to meditate if you are focused on experiencing the moment as it is. Frequently, I hear people criticize themselves for “thinking too much” and “not being able to meditate.” However, that’s not how it needs to be. It really can be as easy as finding a quiet place, breathing in and out, and focusing listening to whatever you hear. I’ve found that even when my husband is playing video games and yelling (as annoying as it is), I can sit and accept his yelling as part of my experience: one of the essential points of mindfulness.

If you need a little guidance, the Calm app has free guided meditations.

2. Read

Yes, read. But don’t spend too much time finding the right thing to read. Chances are, you can find interesting material at your fingertips. Medium.com is a great website to visit with exciting articles by independent writers. There is a paywall for some pieces (as the membership helps writers get paid), but there are tons of free-to-read articles on the page, too.
Further, you can download digital books from your local library if they participate. Most libraries include instructions on how to set that up on your smartphone so you can find a book that suits you and dig in. 

I read on a Kindle, but you can download the Kindle app on the device you’re reading this on for free.

 

3. Write

Now is not the time to find the perfect journal or writing pen. Again, we’re being challenged on determining our priorities.
Writing is one of the most cathartic things you can do. All you need is a writing pen and a paper surface. That means you can write on the back of an old bill, in a notepad, or even an envelope.
Where you write doesn’t matter–the act of writing down your thoughts, whatever they are, can change your mood.

There you have it—three no-brainer activities for self-care.

How are you taking care of yourself while staying at home? Tell me in the comments below!

5 Products I’m Leaning on Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

It’s an interesting time out there, folks. That’s an understatement. I’m currently on Day 10 of Social Distancing/Stay-at-Home, and there are a few things I’ve been leaning on more than others throughout this experience.

This post contains links to merchants but I am not affiliated with nor am benefiting from writing about any of them. Honestly, I’m too tired to even go through the process of signing up to get paid for any of these mentions, so these are 100% honest reviews of products. I’m hoping sharing this information helps you through this period, should you be seeking.

1. BetterHelp

BetterHelp is a tele-conferencing website aimed at connecting people with qualified counselors online using chat, text, and video conferencing. I’ve been a regular user of BetterHelp since November of 2019, but I’m really leaning on it now while I get used to staying home. When I signed up in November, I filled out a questionnaire and was matched with a Counselor who I feel was tailor made for me. She has been exactly what I needed then, and even more of what I need now. The best part is, you can chat your counselor between sessions AND set more than one session a week if you need one–something that would be very hard to do in the in-person world. Right now, that’s impossible, so BetterHelp is a great option for counseling if you’re just getting started or haven’t found a therapist you love.

2. Calm

The Calm app is everything to me right now. You can get a 30-day free trial to use the app, which could cover you for most of the time we’re all stuck at home. Some time ago, I’d signed up for the annual membership of the app, and that has more than paid for itself in access to meditations, “courses,” masterclasses, sleep meditations, calming music, and more.

A few weeks ago, I came across the Self-Compassion Masterclass by Tara Brach. Her Masterclass and her RAIN method have been instrumental in my approach to managing stress, having self-compassion and compassion for others, and staying as mindful as possible during this time.

 

3. Zoom

Zoom is the real MVP of COVID-19. While there are other web-conferencing options out there, I’ve found Zoom to be the easiest to set up, most popular (and therefore most likely to be adopted by groups), and most adaptable to different applications/groups.

My recovery from alcohol and my involvement in the recovery community makes up the largest chunk of, well, me. Recovery groups depend on unity and consistent connection with others–quite the opposite of the isolation and social distancing we have to observe now. Zoom (and other web-conferencing apps like Zoom such as FreeConferenceCall.com, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Facebook Messenger) has made it possible for groups and members of the recovery community all over the world to continue meeting during the pandemic.

That also means that Zoom can work for just about any gathering you’re normally a part of, too. It’s free to get started, though you only get 40 minutes on the free version. I signed up for the $15.99 upgraded plan so that I can have longer meetings–a small price to pay for sanity.

 

4. Viteyes Blue Light Gummies

Okay y’all. Something we’re not talking about and SHOULD be talking about is the increase in screen-time for all of us while social-distancing. And while I’m not here to preach to you that you should be in front your screen less (do what you gotta do to survive), I do think we should consider the long-term effects of this screen time after the Coronavirus. Viteyes, a maker of eye vitamins for supporting macular health, also makes vitamins that support eyes that spend a lot of time looking at screens. I look at screens all the time anyway, but including these tasty gummies as part of my routine helps me feel a lot better about doubling (or even tripling) my normal daily screen time using the aforementioned apps.

(PRNewsfoto/Aaptiv)

5. Aaptiv

I freaking love Aaptiv. I’ve been using Aaptiv for almost 3 years now, so this app is a no-brainer during COVID times, too, especially if you’re like me and prefer a motivating instructor to get you through a workout. With hundreds (I assume hundreds) of audio workouts for everything from outdoor running to strength training to gym equipment (if you have that), Aaptiv makes it easy to focus on yourself and your body (in a healthy way). During all this, anything that takes my mind off of what’s going on in the world is a welcome reprieve.

There you have it: the five products keeping me sane and healthy right now as I practice social distancing through the Coronavirus pandemic.

What products are you leaning on? Tell me in the comments below!