Being stuck in the house can feel mighty isolating and frustrating, even if you’re a homebody, like me. I mean, there comes a time when it’s nice to get a change of scene and see that a world outside your own four walls truly exists.
But for now, that world is a scary one, filled with unknown pathogens and dangers. (Sorry for the strong words, but from time to time my spirits sag a bit; I’m sure I’m not alone.)
There’s all sorts of how-to-cope advice out there: Make lemonade out of lemons. Use this as an opportunity to learn a new skill or brush up on an existing one. Be proactive – do something, anything.
My plea to the world: Please stay safe by doing your part. It’s hard when things feel like they’re spiraling out of control – and they do. But one thing we can control is our reaction to what’s happening, and do our part to listen to the authorities in our area, using caution and safe physical distancing. (I choose to call it “physical” rather than “social” distancing. Staying virtually connected and in touch is essential right now.)
While there’s no doubt that being confined to the house can be stressful, I’ve witnessed so many positives that have come from it. More than ever, people are out walking, running or riding their bicycles. Working parents now have bonding time with their kids. People are paying attention to their mental and physical health and well-being like never before. Communities have come together to help one another. The world is being given an opportunity for a rest and re-set.
And let’s not forget this one: We get to catch up on all our Netflix shows. Better to binge on these than to binge on the news, which can create too much anxiety if not taken in small doses. This was written before the pandemic; just as there is always a steady supply of bad news, it applies now more than ever.
Certainly, one of the best ways of coping with stress is to make your home more peaceful. Yesterday, I spent a good few hours organizing and cleaning my office. Today I plan on digging in more. Clutter has its hidden cost, and right now, I need to eliminate the stress that it creates.
“During times of increased stress and anxiety, it’s more important than ever to enhance the body’s overall calmness and serenity by focusing on being mentally positive and productive,” says Michelle Christensen, spa director at Sense, a Rosewood Spa at Rosewood CordeValle.
Though we can’t go to a spa right now for a dose of serenity, here are some things to help make your home a haven, both for your physical and mental health – which is so important especially now.
Use a humidifier. Keeping the protective membranes in your nose from drying out will help create a hostile environment to pathogens. In experiments with animals, one thing experts found was that when mice were exposed to the influenza A virus, low humidity hindered the immune response by preventing the hair-like cells in the nose (cilia) from removing viral particles. Cleveland Clinic experts say that low humidity can dry out the mucus that normally coats your nose and airways, making it easier to become infected. It’s best to maintain indoor humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent, according to an article in Environmental Health Perspectives. This humidifier from Vicks is a good pick; this nasal gel from NeilMed can also help keep your nasal passages moist.
Bring in Aromatherapy. The use of essential oils (the fragrant part) of plants are powerful enough to help improve physical, mental and spiritual well-being, and much research shows a clear connection between breathing in soothing scents and stress relief. That’s why spas are such a fan or aromatherapy. Candles, diffusers, bath and body products can all provide what you need. Scents most commonly associated with stress relief include lavender, rosemary, ylang-ylang and lemon. But if you have one that works for you, go for it. It’s really a matter of personal preference. See some of Amazon’s best-sellers here, which include essential oil sets, candles, diffusers and more.
Play some music. Another proven stress-buster (or energizer, depending on your choice of tunes), music can contribute to a peaceful home environment, diffuse stress and even help you fall asleep (something you might be having trouble with during these stressful times). There a good reason for music therapy; used to heal, reduce pain and anxiety and even reduce side effects of cancer therapy, say experts at Harvard Women’s Health Watch.
Indulge in a spa treatment. Kim Kelder, lead aesthetitian at Miraval Life in Balance Spa in Arizona, shares her favorite “farm to face” mask that you can do at home. Hydrating, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal you can even refrigerate it to make it more refreshing (it can be stored up to a week).
Mix 1 tbsp. aloe (direct from the plant, if you have one) 1 tbsp. honey and 3 tbsp. plain yogurt with 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil. If you’re not the DIY type, there are plenty of ready-to-go facial masks, like this one.
Exercise Regularly. You can’t go to the gym, but you can walk outside (weather permitting) or do a zillion other creative things in the house to stay fit, which will keep you physically strong and help relieve stress. Women’s Health has their list of 28 Best Home Workouts, as do so many other sites.
And if you’re in need of equipment, there’s plenty around to choose from.
Disclosure: I’m an Amazon Affiliate which means I get a teeny tiny percentage of sales from some of these featured products…but that’s not why I’m recommending these products. I truly do think they’re special.