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22 ways to take care of yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic

22 ways to take care of yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic

6 min read

It's a time of major adjustment for many of us: Our new norms include social distancing, working remotely, home schooling, trying to find a few moments of solitude in a crowded apartment — and that’s only if we have the privilege of a job that supports remote work.

We always advocate for keeping tabs on our bodies — but now, more than ever, it's important to check in with ourselves. Here are the best resources we've found for staying healthy (in your mind and body) and connected during these stressful times.

Prioritize your mental health

Your mental health may be taking a backseat — but getting a handle on what you’re feeling and thinking can help put you at ease.

  • Maintain structure: A general rule of thumb when you’re spending the majority of time at home is to keep up with some semblance of routine. This could mean getting up and going to bed at the same time every day, keeping up with your skincare regimen, taking periodic breaks, or working in a separate location from where you hang out.
  • Take steps to manage anxiety: There are many resources out right now to help people deal with coronavirus-related stress. Calm app is one of the most popular apps related to mental health, mindfulness, and sleep, and has a lot of great resources on their blog as well.  The Shine app released a free toolkit, the Headspace app is offering free mindfulness meditations, and the New York Times put together a roundup of expert tips.
  • Consider teletherapy: If you’re already seeing a therapist or if your stress levels have increased lately, many mental health practitioners are able to see patients through video chat or on the phone. Search the Psychology Today database for teletherapy providers or check out apps like Talkspace and LARKR. (Alma is also a great resource for providers in New York City.)

Bring movement into your new routine

If getting your body in motion is important to you (or if it becomes even more important during times like these), you can still make that happen. Here’s how.

  • Go for daily walks: Depending on the restrictions in your area, getting outside for some fresh air a few times a day can help with both your physical and mental health — even if that’s just leisurely strolls with your dog. (If you’re sharing a small space with roommates, it’s also the perfect excuse to get some alone time.)
  • Turn your living room into a wellness center: Sooo many digital workouts are waiting for you. These three have free classes (for now): Planet Fitness, CorePower, and Down Dog. UnderBelly Yoga is offering a free 14-day trial. An Obé membership gets you dance cardio, among other options. Signing up for FightCamp gets you boxing classes. And if you’re looking for pilates, try Melissa Wood Health — a few of our team members are loving the exercises.
  • Take it to the park: Assuming your local park is large enough to keep your distance from anyone who’s around you, go for a jog around the perimeter, do some yoga on the grass, or maybe even work through some HIIT exercises on your own.

Socialize from a distance

Okay, so the “social distancing,” six-feet rule can really put a damper on our evenings and weekends. But, thankfully, technology is here to save our social lives.

  • Revive the group text: This one might be pretty obvious, but it’s worth a mention. If you typically meet up with your friends for weekly hangs, let your group text do the talking instead. If you have an iPhone, you can even FaceTime the entire group from the text itself.
  • Zoom your way to friendship: Whatever kind of phone you have, you can download the Zoom app and video chat to your heart’s content. (You can also download it to your laptop for the full experience.) If squeezing in some socializing is hard even with your newly stationary status, send calendar invites to make sure your friends actually show up. It might seem like a lot to do that, but it’s a good way to guarantee you’ll have time with your social circle.
  • Join the Netflix Party: Sometimes it feels like streaming services are listening to our thoughts. With the new Netflix Party plugin, you can watch movies and TV shows with your friends and share your takes in a group chat. It’s not quite the same thing as a binge-watching session with your best friend on your couch, but it’s pretty close.
  • Find an online community: One of the most beautiful aspects of the internet is that it can connect you with people from across the country (or around the world). We’ve found so much support throughout this crisis thanks to the Modern Community — we even have a dedicated #covid_19 channel. We host AMAs with fertility nurses, share the latest medical updates on women’s health, and post tons of resources on fertility (naturally). It’s a safe space to  air your feelings, post articles, and even share the latest meme that left you screaming with laughter.

Lend a helping hand

If reading every single article about the state of the world right now is getting you down, let that energize you to provide assistance where and when you can.

  • Support restaurants by ordering delivery and buying gift cards: While it may feel weird to order delivery during a pandemic, doing so puts money in the pockets of restaurants and their staff. If you want to help out even more, Rally for Restaurants is calling on people to give business to local restaurants by purchasing gift cards.
  • Donate, donate, donate: It’s the perfect time to donate to relief organizations, contribute to your local food bank, or give blood to stop the shortage.
  • Check in with your neighbors: The app Nextdoor recently launched a “Help Map” to connect people to neighbors who need assistance with anything from grocery shopping to childcare.

Get in touch with your body

When you’re stuck in your home looking for things to do, one very basic (and very important) thing you can do is reacquaint yourself with you. All of you.

  • Check in with yourself (from head to toe): Spending time at home is a great opportunity to get up, close, and personal with the parts of our bodies we might not have been in touch with recently. Show every piece of you some love and appreciation (think self-care and self-exploration).
  • Track your cycle: Stress can have an impact on your menstrual cycle — and many of us are feeling a lot of that right about now. Monitoring your menstrual cycles can clue you in to any changes.
  • Self-pleasure = self-care: Being turned on isn’t just about sexual pleasure. It can be a way to feel invigorated, understand yourself, and feel confident. And if you’re looking for something to get you going... Dipsea is an audio erotica platform designed for women. (Bonus: All guided content is free until April 30th!)
  • Say hello to your fertility hormones: If you’re interested in learning more about your body, your health, and your hormones, you can take the Modern Fertility test — the same test they give at top fertility clinics — without changing out of your quarantine uniform.

One more thing: We know that the new guidelines from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) may have put some of your plans on hold. You can read the latest information about the coronavirus and reproductive health (including the outbreak’s impact on procedures like egg freezing and in-vitro fertilization), and we plan to keep this article updated.

Just for fun...

Seeing a movie or watching a live performance is out for the time being, but entertaining yourself from inside your home is possible. Beyond the many streaming platforms jam packed with plenty of content to watch, there are other options to take advantage of.

  • Stream would-be theatrical releases: With the nationwide closure of movie theaters, some films have been made available for streaming. (Business Insider has a running list of what you can watch from home.)
  • Get that (free) education: Since many states have shuttered schools for the foreseeable future (some even going so far as to cancel the entire semester), courses are becoming increasingly available online. Coursera is offering free courses to all students — and so are some Ivy League universities.
  • Soak up the culture: If you’re craving some fine art during your time at home, there are lots of ways to virtually visit your favorite museums.
  • Watch live music performances: Musical artists are taking to Instagram and Facebook Live to give their fans live performances (many because their concerts were canceled due to the outbreak).
  • Go to the opera (in your sweats): The Metropolitan Opera is now offering nightly streams of performances on their website.

An important reminder

When so many of our peers are confined to their homes, you might hear talk of using the time to be productive or take passion projects off the back burner. If that’s what makes you feel good during this hectic time, then that’s great! But that approach doesn’t work for all of us.

As writer Jenna Wortham put it:

“That fear-of-not-being-productive-enough is also an anxiety unto itself — the expectation and pressure [to] use this time wisely, whatever that means — rather than acknowledge that it might simply be a time to rest, to meditate, to be still. To just appreciate the breath that we have, just to breathe.”

In other words, all you need to “do” right now is do you (... and, yes, wash your hands).

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Sarah duRivage-Jacobs

Sarah duRivage-Jacobs is a writer and editor at Modern Fertility. She lives with her creamsicle cat, Jasper, in New York City and doesn't believe in the concept of TMI.

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