Social unrest, global pandemic, murder hornets!
If you find yourself asking “What now?!” it may be time to take the focus off of the media and turn the spotlight on yourself.
Self-care is especially important in times like these for the simplest fact that if we aren’t taking care of ourselves, we can’t take care of those around us.
I’m a serial entrepreneur and owner of Sip & Shop Texas, a small business in Dallas. Due to these unprecedented times, our business is temporarily paused until Texas is back in business. Sadly, this rings true for many small businesses. Maybe you’ve been directly affected by the shutdowns, or maybe you’re feeling it secondhand. The truth is, the “new normal” doesn’t seem very normal.
Here are five simple life hacks to stay happy and healthy during the hardest times.
1. Send a Care Package
We’ve heard it said before: it’s better to give than to receive. Now is your chance to put it into practice. When I was growing up, my mother was a big fan of the care package. We were often filling boxes to send away to soldiers, families, friends, and anything she thought was a good cause.
Here’s what I learned. It feels good to give back. For those of you in the back row, I’ll say it again. It feels good to give back.
Giving back, or helping a friend, actually releases feel-good endorphins. According to Health Line Magazine, “By helping another person, you might lighten their physical or emotional load, giving them the boost they need to get through the day. You’ll generally also feel happier and better about yourself when you do something nice for someone else, since acts of kindness trigger endorphin release.”
There has literally never been a better time than right now to create a care package for someone. Did you know you can have the Girl Scouts send cookies to soldiers overseas? Care packages don’t have to be extravagant. In times like these, it really is the thought that counts. I’ve never been sad to get a box of cookies in the mail.
2. Shop Local
Now more than ever, local businesses need our support. Why are we, as a society, so quick to support big retailers, but not our family and friends? This is your time to shine, America. Shopping local also makes us feel good, because we’re supporting our community, our friends, and our families.
I challenge each of you to purchase one thing from a friend this week instead of from a retail store! Just one thing! That one thing is helping your friend support themselves. It not only helps an independent retailer support their dream, but you’re also supporting your community. In other words, by shopping local, you’re contributing to the good in society. That alone should make you feel a little bubble of happiness.
3. Get Outside Help
Let’s be honest, the likelihood that you’re now trying to balance your career with schooling from home is a very real possibility. Here’s a little secret: in a classroom, even the best teacher has an aide. There are now private teachers and tutors available as quickly as you can click a button on your screen. There are many ways to find outside, reliable help. There are apps and programs designed to connect high quality teachers and tutors for face-to-face, in person tutoring or private teaching.
Many families desperately need a teacher to help, either in person, or through virtual meet-ups. Programs and apps offering this support are such a blessing when you realize you are not alone. We’re in uncharted territory for all of us, but outside help is available. If you are interested in hiring a private tutor for one hour a week, or a private teacher for an entire week—teachers are eager to help.
4. Stay Positive
It is a difficult and unprecedented time for all of us. We’re all facing high levels of stress. Many of us are battling anxiety and depression on top of it. I encourage you to find a positive group of people. Connect with people who make you smile. Love and be loved. Tell a joke. Be the light for those around you. People will always remember how you made them feel. If you need a little pick-me-up, check out any of the many churches or spiritual groups online.
Another way to stay positive is to learn to treat yourself to a time-out by incorporating some yoga or breathwork into your day-to-day routine. Breathwork and yoga bring each individual, no matter their age, into the present moment. It raises our awareness of our physical bodies and physical presence in time and space. Being in the present moment eliminates a lot of unnecessary distractions. Something as simple as focusing on the breath can turn the volume down on the world around us until those distractions fade into the distance.
5. Plan for Better Days
My go-to for always getting through tough times is having something to look forward to. When I was a classroom teacher, I would always look forward to our next holiday break. As the owner of a business that has paused because of the pandemic, I remind myself we will be back on the trail as soon as we can be. 2020 has definitely brought us ups and downs and rounds and rounds—but having a moment, a day, a trip, or a pause that you can look forward to (and enjoy safely) will keep you in forward motion. Sometimes, we’re lucky enough to think about our upcoming vacation and sometimes we just need to focus on getting home before we have a meltdown.
Local businesses, city calendars, and event planners are great ways to find something to look forward to during times like these. These types of places and events support local businesses when they need it most—and you’re guaranteed to have a blast while you explore the community around you. Pretend like you’re a tourist seeing your neighborhood for the first time.
In conclusion, staying happy and healthy during a time like this might seem like a confusing mess, but you must take care of yourself first before you can take care of those around you. We get endorphins flowing by creating care packages and understanding the impact we make by shopping local. Getting outside help is always an option, no matter how big or small your task seems. Planning for better days always gives us something to look forward to.
We can do this. Onward and upward.