How to Jumpstart Your Self Care Journey – Right Now

Many of us around the globe are electively quarantined or mandated to stay at home right now, due to shelter in place orders surrounding the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. What does this mean for our overall wellness formulas? To start, if you are not already doing so, it is time to make self care a daily priority. Wellness is an all-encompassing concept. It isn’t just about the CBD tincture you are ingesting or the daily diet you keep in order to maintain a strong and healthy immune system. Good health and wellness regimens are about the mind body balance, and aim to keep all of us well-rounded human beings. 

“We are at a critical point in history and human evolution. Due to technology, never before have we been so globally connected, while becoming so socially isolated and disconnected,” says wellness educator Lindsay Jamison, who has dedicated more than a decade of her life to providing various self-care services. “We have so many resources at our fingertips that it is overwhelming, so many people don’t know where to begin their journeys to self-care and healing.” The practices Jamison teaches (including yoga and meditation mindfulness) offer clients the opportunity to slow down, release outer distractions and draw attention back inward to investigate exactly what the body, mind and spirit need in order to thrive – which is universally beneficial during these trying times. 

We tapped Jamison to develop a detailed guide on how to start your self care journey, so you can make the most out of all that extra time on your hands. 

Different Self Care Categories for Your Wellness Formula 

When mapping out your personal self care routine, first, take the time to assess your priorities. For example, although you may dedicate time to spiritual wellness with yoga and meditation, you may need to shift gears toward your practical well-being, like creating a home budget or cleaning out your closet. Additionally, you may already keep your physical wellness in check with a nutrient-rich diet plan and regular exercise, but perhaps your emotional self-care could use some work – think creating expressive art or journaling. 

“This pandemic is teaching us the ancient truth of how interconnected we truly are on various levels,” says Jamison. “Only you can change yourself and raise your vibration to be the change we need to see in the world. We change the world by changing ourselves.” No matter where you currently stand on your health and wellness path, analyze areas that could use some attention. The below list provides a helpful breakdown of self-care categories to illustrate comprehensive wellness:   

  • Mental: Mind-stimulating practices:
    • Playing board games
    • Reading books
    • Solving puzzles
  • Physical: Active choices that improve your physical health:
    • Exercise
    • Eating
    • Hydrating
    • Sleeping
  • Spiritual: Mind body practices that allow you to envision the bigger picture:
    • Yoga
    • Meditation
    • Engaging with nature
  • Emotional: Activities that allow you to process and reflect on your emotions:
    • Journaling
    • Therapy sessions
    • Art classes
  • Practical: Understanding your core values to keep your stress in check:
    • Home decluttering
    • Financial budgeting
    • Elective education
  • Social: Strengthening and maintaining the relationships in your life:
    • Phone communications
    • Sharing meals
    • Dating

How to Get into the Self Care Mindset 

Before you dive into the wellness formula outlined above, take the steps to get into the right headspace. “First, you must decide that you really want to change some of the things that aren’t working for you,” explains Jamison. “Change is not easy, but it is one of the only constant things in life.” Jamison offers up her own wellness starter tip, which she refers to as ‘SMART.’ The acronym stands for: 

  • Specific. Pinpoint an exact goal you have in mind. 
  • Measurable. Confirm you can hold space for self-care. 
  • Achievable. Make sure you can do this on a daily basis. 
  • Realistic. Ensure your practice is feasible for you.
  • Timely. Schedule a set time to devote to self-care each day.

‘SMART’ is a great tool for those beginning their new self-care journeys. For example, if you are stressed out and could benefit from relaxation techniques, do not commit to meditation practice for an hour a day right away. Instead, start small, maybe with five to 10 minutes of meditation per day before bed, and working your way up from there. “Each time you practice, you will build up new habits and patterns that will be integrated into your daily routine. Remember to stay positive and be kind to yourself,” Jamison offers. 

Tip: In an effort to avoid self-sabotage, practice affirmations. These are positive statements that can be repeated on a daily basis to imprint consciousness and boost motivation, confidence and kindness.

“Do the best you can each day, and if you miss a day of your routine, don’t beat yourself up for it,” says Jamison. “Each day, each breath, is a chance for a new beginning. Change is uncomfortable, so go easy on yourself.”

Self-Care Rituals Ideal for the Home

Massages, acupuncture, ceramics sessions, weekly therapy and fitness classes – these are all self-care activities that require third-party facilities and/or experts to achieve. So, what can you do now that you need to modify your preferences because you are spending more time at home? Jamison has plenty of wellness ideas you can work on from the comfort of your home, including: 

  1. Breathwork. Learn how to consciously control your breath, which can shift your Autonomic Nervous System response from fight or flight to rest and digest. Breathing exercises can help us control the business of the mind, as well. (Check out the diaphragmatic breathing technique, the yogic three-part breath and alternate nostril breathing.) 
  2. Mindfulness meditation practices. Mindfulness is about paying attention – on purpose – in the present moment, without judgement. Learning how to slow down, pay attention and hone awareness is a gift that keeps on giving. There are so many practices from which to choose. Find something that works for you, and leave the things that do not work behind. 
  3. Baths with salt, essential oils, bubbles (and maybe some CBD). A regular bath ritual is great for stress reduction, energetic cleansing, grounding and relaxing muscular tension. Set aside at least a half-hour to soak in the benefits. 
  4. Movement as medicine. Find a movement practice that speaks to you: yoga for beginners or experts, tai chi, martial arts, biking, running, swimming, dancing – whatever movement feeds your soul and makes you feel alive. It takes 30 minutes of movement to get your lymphatic system pumping; it does not pump itself. So, get yourself moving to boost immune system functioning.
  5. Shifting attitudes and setting intentions. Pay attention to your attitude. Your thought patterns and attitude have a ripple effect and influence your emotions, actions, behaviors and how you show up in the world. Set daily intentions and keep yourself accountable. We give energy to the thoughts and intentions on which we focus. Do you want to amplify negativity, or do you want to radiate higher frequencies of kindness, compassion and connection? 

Tip: When you learn mindfulness and become aware of your attitudes, thought patterns and behaviors, you may learn to respond, instead of reacting, according to Jamison. These practices may be able to provide clarity on what is not working in your life.    

Free Courses and Low-Cost Online Programs for Self-Care 

When it comes to discounted health coaching, online yoga classes and free courses for meditation, there are hundreds of professionals offering their services online right now. “From YouTube, to podcasts, to Facebook Live, keep your eyes open for practices and teachers that resonate with you,” says Jamison, who has been hosting classes from Facebook Live each week since she started her quarantine. In addition to her own mindfulness and yoga livestreams, Jamison recommends the following: 

Tip: For those interested in free online courses that are action-driven, consider “The Science of Well-Being,” offered by Yale Professor Laurie Santos. The free online class aims to teach you ways to increase happiness and form more productive habits. 

How to Keep Your Wellness Routine Fresh

If you are already a self-care advocate, you may be seeking tips on how to keep your activities fresh and interesting. Consider the following tips when reinventing your wellness goals: 

  1. Keep an open mind when it comes to trying new things
  2. Step outside of your comfort zone
  3. Avoid self-judgement and the judgement of others
  4. Give yourself permission to have fun
  5. Reflect back on your childhood joys

“Now is the time to slow down, look within yourself and rediscover what fills your soul with joy. Now is the time to reclaim a sense of playfulness and curiosity and develop the wellness formula you have always thought about, but never had time for,” shares Jamison. “Everyone is unique; rigid routines may not work for some people. Explore your options and find something that feels authentic and sticks. Most of all, have fun and enjoy the process.”

Lindsay Jamison is a wellness educator, healing arts facilitator, visual artist and yoga and meditation instructor. Learn more about her wellness-inspired artwork here.