Things are changing so fast and the world is all of a sudden a stressful, scary place. Some of you are in the thick of it, having to deal with long hours while putting your safety at risk for work, finding yourself suddenly without a job, or grieving the loss of friends and family. And others might be feeling profoundly grateful for being able to work from home, care for your families, and maybe find decent food at the grocery store. You might be going a little stir crazy, but now you have all this time on your hands to do things you don’t normally have time for like crafting, spring cleaning, and organizing all the things.
With all of this, it’s easy to see why some people are stressed out and not okay. But so many of us feel like we should be fine, but then are stuck wondering why we feel decidedly not okay? Instead of having excess energy to do all the things, we’re judging ourselves for struggling through the workday in a fog. We feel guilty answering “yes” when Netflix asks if we’re still watching. While we’re scrolling through Facebook looking for funny or wholesome memes to take our minds off things, we feel ashamed that when others suggest that if we can’t be productive in quarantine, we’ll never get that goal/project/task done. We’re here to tell you that that’s just not true.
Dealing with Constant, Unnamed Stress
Stress can have a profound impact on the body, even if it’s not full-blown. It can be easy to point to specific events and say “that’s why I’m stressed”. But sometimes there’s not something specific to blame. Every day we’re bombarded with changing, uncertain, and sometimes truly terrifying information. First, it’s don’t wear a mask, now we have to wear a mask. First, it’s social distancing, then it’s a stay at home order. Meanwhile, we’re trapped at home, helpless to watch as everything changes.
We’ve essentially lost our normal. Maybe you’re not feeling as productive anymore. Or you’re feeling lonely and out of touch. On top of that, the news is always changing and rarely good. This can all contribute to a heightened level of stress and anxiety that is bubbling under the surface. While it might feel less tangible than the stress caused by more intense or traumatic circumstances, it can still leave you feeling like you’re in a fog. Some of the effects of this kind of stress and stimulation are that you might find yourself with mental fatigue, have a hard time concentrating, or feel overwhelmed by tasks you can normally do without a second thought.
How to Beat the Brain Fog
Ordinarily, if our mind is feeling sluggish, the answer is to try to perk up with something energizing or stimulating. Drink yet another cup of coffee, try some jumping jacks, do a brain teaser, and bust out the Lemon Essential Oil with hopes that something will snap you out of it. But these aren’t ordinary times and this isn’t ordinary stress. The constant stressors of life during this pandemic are taking their toll, albeit a more subtle one, on our mental wellbeing. The way to help ease mental fatigue and emotional distress might seem counterintuitive, but it’s more important than ever. It’s time to rest. Give yourself a chance to process all the new information and allow your mind to recover by doing some self-care, something a lot of us need a little more of right now.
Rest & Relaxation for the Constantly Stressed Out
Self-care looks different for everyone, especially in a time like this. Overall, it is important to find activities that are calming and relaxing to the mind. Maybe it’s going for a walk by yourself with a favorite audiobook in your headphones, finding a yoga practice to do on Youtube, connecting with your BFF over video chat, or finally becoming one with the couch as you rewatch your favorite show and eat brownies.
Whatever it is, remember to take care of yourself. Give yourself time to relax and recover. Even if your day didn’t feel stressful, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t taken a toll on your mind and body. And if you do decide to tackle projects around the house, make sure to make goals in manageable chunks. Your mental space is precious right now, don’t let the thoughts of what you “should” be doing right now overload you.
Essential Oils for the Weary Soul
You didn’t think we could talk about self-care without mentioning some of our favorite essential oils, did you?! As you go about your day and find those things that help relax your mind and body, you can add essential oils to the mix to help bring a sense of calm and restoration. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Roman Chamomile
- Frankincense Carteri
- Sweet Orange
- Bourbon Geranium
- Calming the Child
- Let It Go
- Worry Free
Each of these essential oils and blends has properties that can help calm a busy and worried mind, soothe frazzled nerves, and revitalize a weary soul. Add them to your diffuser, dilute in a lotion before bed, create a soothing bubble bath… whatever speaks to you, find a way to incorporate these essential oils into your self-care routine. You really can’t go wrong with any of them. Feeling something woodsy and earthy? Combine Vetiver and Sandalwood with Bergamot (for some light top notes). In the mood for something light and citrusy? Mix up some Sweet Orange, Bergamot and Neroli.
Self-Care Diffuser Blends
If you find yourself lacking inspiration, try out one of these diffuser blends to help elevate your self-care. Each of these blends was created with specific attributes in mind. Take a moment to think about what you need a little more of in your life right now and choose your blend.
Balancing, Calming, Soothing
- 3 drops Bourbon Geranium
- 3 drops Neroli
- 1 drop Sweet Orange
Calming, Soothing, Revitalizing
- 3 drops Bergamot
- 2 drops Sandalwood
Calming, Soothing, Relaxing
- 2 drops Lavender
- 2 drops Roman Chamomile
- 1 drop Sweet Marjoram
Calming, Relaxing, Revitalizing
- 5 drops Pink Grapefruit
- 1 drop Roman Chamomile
You Have Permission…
One final thought… you have permission to not be okay. You have permission to not be productive. And you have permission to do what you need to do to make it out the other side. You have permission to self-care, whatever that looks like. If that means you’re cabinets don’t get organized, your closet doesn’t get cleaned out and all your clothes are just a little bit snug, well then that’s okay too.
What’s PT Doing for Self-Care?
Like so many of you, we’re figuring out how to work from home, stay connected with friends and family (and coworkers!), and stay healthy. We thought it’d be fun to share with you some of our favorite ways to unwind, relax, self-care and cope with this crazy situation we all find ourselves in.
Be sure to share your favorite ways to self-care in the comments! Above all, remember it’s going to be okay and we’ll get through this together.
Drink wine, cook indulgent food, do puzzles, use my meditation apps when I feel panic-y, look at happy memories in my camera roll when I feel sad.
These are some things I’m doing to stay sane: long-distance Reiki (which has been surprisingly helpful), cooking new recipes, lots of sidewalk chalk “school” with my son, Epsom salt baths, weekly pregnancy bump photos… and baby nursery prep.
-Alena, Product Manager
I am getting completely ready before starting my day of work from home. I also am focusing on a new skin care routine now that I have longer in the morning to get ready! And to help my kids stay sane which in turn helps me stay sane, my family is spending a lot of dedicated time playing games and enjoying the warm weather outside (when we are so blessed to have warm weather!).
-Retha, VP of Customer Experience
I keep unexpectedly crying. I think I’m carrying grief around with me all the time. Grief for the thousands who have died and for their families, grief for the lost jobs and livelihoods, and grief for the loss of normalcy and stability. Seeing how we as a people cope with that weight is helping me through this. The beautiful, caring things our communities have come together to do for each other gives me hope and strength.
-Jamie, Marketing Manager
I’m going for a lot of walks and doing one exercise every one to two hours (something simple and quick: 25 pushups, 50 situps, 30 curls). I’m getting in touch with people I haven’t talked to in a while virtually, and also writing handwritten letters and sending them in the mail.
– Brannon, Content Writer
When I start feeling overwhelmed with all the unpredictability right now, I like to take a few moments to appreciate this unique experience I’m sharing with my two sons. I get to spend more time than ever with them, helping them with their schoolwork and learning more about them each day we spend together. It’s the bright spot for me and keeps me sane!
-Katrina, Product Manager
I have been picking up the flute again and sitting down to play the piano more often. For me, it’s an instant de-stresser. I play in the evenings to wind down, but also take advantage of playing during my lunch breaks.
– Natalie, Designer
I’ve been knitting while watching Star Trek reruns on Netflix. Taking walks to the park with my dog. Getting all the pet snuggles. I’ve also started taking baths most nights, not to replace showers, but soaking in the hot water for 20 minutes and taking measured, deep breaths helps me let go of some the tension I’ve been holding in my muslces all day.
-Melissa, Content Manager
I’m eating a lot of junk food! But seriously, working from home with a toddler has been super tough. We’ve made adjustments to our schedule to help with flexibility. I get up early so I can get a few hours of work in before my son gets up. This allows us to make time every day for a nice long walk. I find that this has a HUGE impact on both of our attitudes!
-Emilee, Product Manager
by Plant Therapy