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Self-care while sheltering in place.

You can't get out to go to your favorite hot yoga class or hiking trails. Now what?

Physical-distancing and self-isolation are important for the health of our society during the coronavirus pandemic, and we know there are a lot of benefits to following these guidelines. It's in everyone's best interest to flatten the curve, and it is becoming more and more clear that we may be in for a longer stay at home than we initially anticipated.

It is important to recognize the toll that this can take on our physical and mental health if we don't find a way to fill in the gaps and prioritize self-care. Not only have we been removed from our regular routine, but we are suddenly experiencing a huge amount of added stress. Anxiety is high, people are nervous, and everyone is being forced to deal with living "in the grey zone". There is no black and white picture when it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The social isolation that comes with sheltering in place can be a pretty big shock to the system, especially for those of us who thrive on social interactions. Talking with friends and venting with co-workers can be its own unique source of stress-relief, and the sudden plunge in social interaction can leave you with unrecognized feelings of sadness and frustration bubbling just below the surface.

For many of us, sheltering in place also means that we lose our regular exercise routine, which is one of the primary ways a lot of us reduce stress. For those of you who are runners out there or that have home gym equipment, your workout routine may stay relatively similar. For those of you who find motivation in laying it all on the mat at their favorite yoga studio, or those like me who rely on my cardio kickboxing instructor to scold us into not giving up 10 minutes into the workout, it can be difficult to transition to a different exercise routine. Doing pilates while staring at a carpet full of dog hair and a mound of dirty dishes in the sink may not live up to the vibe of being in the studio, where the smells and sounds instantly make your shoulders melt down a few inches.

It is important to give ourselves grace during this time. That sense of normalcy that we are chasing after? It may not be happening any time soon. For the time being, we have to create a new normal that gives us a sense of peace, accomplishment, and routine. So do what you can, when you can to keep your stress in check and stay healthy, both mentally and physically. Chase after your kids while they ride their bikes around the block; do lunges as you pace around on conference calls; start a meditation practice; *shameless plug ahead...* book a long distance Reiki session. Who knows when life will go back to "normal"? Maybe it never will. Maybe you will stumble upon something new that you love so much, your new normal will blend into your old normal to create something beautiful and even better than before.

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