One of the biggest challenges we face in life is how we look after ourselves, how we stay well, healthy and happy. However, we tend to take our wellness for granted, until we find ourselves struggling with ill health, injury, disease or some form of life trauma.

In addition, we all experience varying degrees of stress which are managed and coped with differently by different people. In times of stress, anxiety, fear and worry, our health, wellness and resilience are challenged, our immune systems are placed under greater strain, and our ability to cope with what’s happening in our everyday lives is called into question.

COVID-19 is the greatest global challenge to physical and mental wellbeing that we have faced in living memory.

The potential risk to our health, wellness and happiness is high and the fear, tension, anxiety and stress that many are experiencing right now – not just as a result of the threat of the virus, but of the effect it is having on our society and economy – is rising and very real.

Despite the negative impact COVID-19 is having on our global community, one thing that is positive is how seriously we’re currently taking our health and happiness. 

Now, while we don’t have any answers about how our immune systems will hold up and combat COVID-19, one thing is true: we all stand a better chance if we have good underlying health and good resilience to stressful situations, and if we do a few simple but healthy things for ourselves.

  • What easy things can we do to support our general health and wellness?
  • How can we reduce stress and anxiety?
  • How can we stay relaxed and calm?

Let’s take a look at a few things that we hope will help you.

1.Essential oils

Essential oils are amazing! They possess many therapeutic properties that support the healthy functioning of our mind, body, spirit and emotions. 

The great thing about essential oils is that they are easy to obtain, inexpensive, and when you follow the general safety advice, they are easy to use at home!

You can sit and inhale them, put them on a tissue or handkerchief, put them in your oil burner or diffuser, or make some simple skincare products.

If there ever was a time to reach for essential oils, it is now.

9 self-care practices for challenging times Wellbeing

Essential oils such as tea tree, lavender, chamomile, geranium, eucalyptus and frankincense can support your every need. 

From skincare concerns, cold and flu-like symptoms and respiratory complaints, to digestive discomfort and general immunity, the benefits are amazing. 

They are also very effective at combating stress and anxiety, improving our mood, lifting our spirits and helping us to have a more positive, calm and grounded disposition.

We have lots of articles about essential oils that might be helpful:

    Of course, there is nothing like personalising your homemade skincare, haircare and wellness products with essential oils – they are the perfect companion to carry around with us but also incorporate into the products we make. 

    2. Herbs, vitamins and supplements

    There are many herbs, vitamins, supplements and remedies that may support you during this time and help to boost general immunity.  They could be really valuable aids right now to help us all stay well, healthy and happy and perhaps the solutions you find right now will support you for many years to come.

    9 self-care practices for challenging times Wellbeing

    Many herbs, supplements and remedies are well known and thanks to some amazing online stores, they are cheap and easy to get hold of.

    However, unlike essential oils they are a little more complicated to use safely, partly because they are ingested. This means we really need to know “exactly” what we’re doing.

    We would therefore advise that you seek qualified professionals for recommendations about all of this. 

    You could seek out a herbalist who may be able to recommend some herbs to use or provide you with some herbal remedies, or a naturopath who can advise about which supplements would be suitable for you personally.

    There are a great number of fantastic practitioners all over the world; many of them now offering online consultations.

    Just check their credentials, training, memberships and accreditations before seeking advice.

    9 self-care practices for challenging times Wellbeing

    3. Diet and nutrition

    We all know how important a good diet is, right!? But how much attention do we really pay to the things we eat and drink? 

    Now more than ever, it is important to ensure that we are well hydrated by drinking plenty of water and herbal teas. Now more than ever it is important to ensure we’re eating foods that don’t just fill the gap and reduce our hunger, but also support our body, mind and soul.

    The cliche is fruit and vegetables aplenty, and while this may not be too far from the truth, there is more to it than that.

    A balanced diet is different for everyone, and while we probably all understand which foods we should eat, and which we should avoid or limit, it could be a good idea to seek out some good recipes, make some wise dietary choices and perhaps find someone who can help us plan it all out well.

    9 self-care practices for challenging times Wellbeing

    Naturopaths are good at this, as are nutritionists and ayurvedic practitioners.

    After all, we are what we eat. We encourage you to eat and drink as well as you can right now.

    4. Yoga and Pilates or Qi Gong

    Yoga, Pilates, and Qi Gong are all wonderful sources of exercise and support for mind, body and spirit.

    Learning to move our body in ways that are conscious and in tune with our breath helps to quieten the mind and enables us to more easily connect with ourselves and our surroundings, feel grounded and connected, as well as stay calm and centred.

    9 self-care practices for challenging times Wellbeing

    Each of these three practices not only give us a good physical workout, but they all help to improve our breathing, circulation and sense of happiness and wellbeing, and reduce tension, stress, anxiety, fear and worry.

    In addition to that, practitioners and teachers of these different art forms will explain much more about how a regular practice can improve the functions of our body, mind and emotions.

    The great news is, you don’t have to go to a class to take up this supportive practice, you can do it from your own home. Many teachers now offer online courses and free tasters, DVDs to use at home and remote 1:1 tutorials. 

    Their teaching can come to you wherever you are in the world!

    If you have a teacher, why not make contact and ask for some 1:1 help so you can create a home practice?

    If you don’t have a teacher, why not search online or ask friends and family for some referrals?

    We would recommend Christopher Gladwell Yoga, and you can find out more about him and his teaching here.

    One of our graduates, Angela Elliott, runs her own yoga studio, Aromatic Yogi, in Scotland but has some online resources.  You can find out more about that here

    She told us…

    “Our mission is simply to empower people with easy ways to implement health and happiness in their everyday lives incorporating yoga, meditation and aromatherapy.

     

    With over 20 years of teaching experience, we are confident that we can pass on words of wisdom and show you simple ways to enhance your life for the better, one relaxing breath at a time.”

    When it comes to practising yoga, she explained…

    “At Angela Elliott Yoga we believe that practising yoga and proper breathing not only keeps your body healthy but more importantly your mind. And especially in times of crisis (what with all the social distancing and self-isolating), we can benefit from yoga more than ever.

    Yoga helps you stay connected to others and manage any feelings of fear, anxiety and frustration! 

    Our yoga sessions will focus on breathing techniques to calm the nervous system and clear the mind and yoga postures to release tension and give your body much-needed relaxation.

    We are so thankful to be able to offer these online yoga sessions and hope that they may help guide you through your days and weeks.”

    If it is Qi Gong you are interested in and looking for, check out these two people:

    Daverick Leggett from Qi Gong South West here. They are just moving to running their classes online, but join their mailing list and reach out to them and you’ll receive links to join their live classes by video conference.

    Elizabeth Wilcock and her Online Fundamentals of Qi Gong here.

    … and if you have little ones at home who need entertaining, have you heard of Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube? It’s definitely worth checking out here

    Also take a look at PE with Joe. He’s currently offering a free PE workout for kids on YouTube every weekday morning at 9am (UK Time)! 

    5. Mindfulness, meditation and breathwork

    Practicing mindfulness, meditation and breathwork all help your body’s autonomic nervous system move from ‘sympathetic’ mode, which is our fight-flight-freeze response, to ‘parasympathetic’ mode, which is our rest-and-digest response. 

    Our bodies are designed to experience a sympathetic nervous system response as a reaction to immediate, short-term danger. Imagine being chased by a tiger and you get the idea! It’s short, sharp, and dangerous. 

    Our bodies save us by increasing our heart rate (so we can run away quickly, or flight the danger), diverting blood from our digestive tract and slowing growth (as they are not essential in an emergency), among many other physiological responses. 

    This is all amazing, and vital – but only in the short-term.

    When we are exposed to long-term stress, as many of us were even before COVID-19 came into our lives, the constant influx of stress hormones can be toxic for our systems. One major aspect of this is a lowering in the effectiveness of our immune system response. 

     

    9 self-care practices for challenging times Wellbeing

    The great and empowering news is that we can do something about it! By practicing mindfulness, meditation and breathwork, we can help our bodies move into parasympathetic mode. Parasympathetic mode is associated with normal bodily function, digestion and healing. It also strengthens our immune system response. It restores our bodies to a calm and composed state.

    Mindfulness, meditation and breathwork enable us to develop a greater sense of self awareness, facilitate recovery from illness or injury or emotional trauma, improve general health, boost emotional and spiritual health and help us to build greater resilience.

    These three practices could be very useful for many people around this challenging time of COVID-19. They could offer much-needed support for many people all around the world and the great news is, there are so many amazing resources to be found online.

    Chris Gladwell offers a variety of online courses around this subject

    • A free 7-day breath challenge which you can find out more about here.
    • A free compassion course here helping you to bring more compassion into your life :-). Here’s a snapshot from YouTube of what you can expect to find on this course.
    • A short course called “The Art of Resilience” which you can find out more about here.

    There is a 100 day mindfulness challenge here as well as lots of mindfulness exercises!

    You might also like to check out the Meaning of Life Experiment. This is an amazing and completely free app offering tons of meditations, videos and journal prompts. It’s presented as a 30-day challenge but you have the content for an unlimited amount of time – all for free!

    6. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), also known as Tapping

    This is really powerful stuff! 

    It might look a bit strange and many might question how effective it is, but from personal experience, we can vouch for how good it really is.

    We can recommend Sam Neffendorf from EFTnow. He is fabulous! 

    You can find out more about Sam and EFT here and you can make contact with him to see how he can support you. Plus there is a little video on this page to introduce you to what EFT is all about and how to do it for yourself! 

    Sam told us…

    “EFT”, also known as “Tapping” involves gently tapping on different points on your face and hands, while thinking about specific emotional issues and unhelpful thought patterns. It is often described as psychological acupressure.

     

    You can use it simply for self-help at any time to resolve feelings of stress, anxiety or other discomfort.

    Strangely, tapping while focusing on the difficult emotions can release emotional issues incredibly quickly. Studies have shown that it calms the parts of the brain that control the fight-flight-freeze response and enables you to think more calmly and objectively. 

    During this time, it can help with issues such as fear of the virus or lockdown situation, obsessive thinking and worry about vulnerable loved ones, feelings of isolation or cabin fever or anything with an emotional charge. 

    You can also use it to focus on what is important and make the most of the time you have at home, so that you can come out thriving when we get through this – incredibly valuable for small businesses that may need to evolve and adapt.”

     

    9 self-care practices for challenging times Wellbeing

    If you want to try tapping for yourself, Sam has made his online course “Tapping for Self-Help” free to access during this time. 

    You can access it here – https://eftnow.kartra.com/page/tappingcoursesignup

    There’s also a great free app by The Tapping Solution. Some of their content is paid-for and some is free. There is currently a ‘releasing coronavirus anxiety’ package, offering several free tapping meditations.

    7. Exercise and fresh air

    If you are able to go for walks in nature, along coastal paths, through forests and across the moors, over rolling hills, do take the opportunity to do that, observing government restrictions on movement, of course. 

    These places are often less inhabited by other people and are wonderful for revitalising the mind, body, emotions and senses.

    If the only access you have to green spaces is a park near your home, then go for it. Just be mindful about the contact you have with other people. Do make sure you know what outside movement is currently authorised and stick within those guidelines.

     

    9 self-care practices for challenging times Wellbeing

    There is nothing like fresh air, exercise to lift the mood, revitalise the senses and make us feel alive!

    Obviously, if you are not able to go outside and do any of this, then yoga, Pilates and qi gong will help to support your physical health right now.

    8. Create your own luxury at-home spa experience!

    We all love a luxury spa experience, don’t we?! 

    There is something about being pampered and treated kindly by others who know what they are doing that makes us feel fabulous.

    It is a calming environment, with lovely aromas, low lighting, purifying waters, lovely treatment options, and more.

    9 self-care practices for challenging times Wellbeing

    You could try to recreate the experience in your own home, especially if you are in isolation or lockdown. This could help to keep you grounded, centred, calm and feeling happy.

    Check out our article How to Create a Luxury Spa Experience At Home (it’s Easier than you Think!) for some top tips and recipes to help you set up your own luxury spa!

    9. Do anything that makes your heart sing

    If you are self isolating and in lockdown during the coronavirus outbreak, anything that makes you happy, gets your body moving, gets blood pumping around the body, makes you smile, helps you to feel alive or calm is worth doing as much as you can!

    Singing, dancing, listening to your favorite music, playing an instrument – even learning that instrument that’s been lying around for ages gathering dust…

    Playing board games, cards or doing puzzles…

    Reading books, drawing, painting or creating anything…

    How about watching some of your favorite movies? Watching some of the box sets you’ve got but haven’t picked up for a long time – one of Gail and Gareth’s favourites is their Friends Box Set.

    9 self-care practices for challenging times Wellbeing

    What about watching your favorite comedian? Nothing wrong with some side-splitting laughter to help cheer you up, lift your spirits and make you feel good 🙂

    And finally, how about dedicating some time and attention to your hobby and passion for making natural skincare products 🙂

    As we’re sure you know, we have an amazing portfolio of online courses that will help you to make your own natural and organic skincare and haircare products for yourself, or to sell.

    If you’re not quite ready to enroll on a course just yet, check out some of our best free resources:

    Free Natural Beauty Recipe Book – find out more here.

    Free Natural Shampoo and Conditioner Recipe Book – find out more here.

    Download your free Natural Beauty Recipe Book!

    We'd love to help you get started with making your own skincare products - products that are natural, safe and effective!

    Discover our favourite recipes for:

    • Frankincense Anti-Aging Facial Serum with Coenzyme Q10
    • Lavender and Geranium Rejuvenating Facial Serum
    • Protective Winter Time Hand Cream
    • Orange and Ylang Ylang Facial Moisturizer for Dry Skin
    • Grapefruit and Orange Stretch Mark Body Butter
    • Soothing and Moisturizing Facial Mist
    • and more!

    Plus discover natural emulsifiers and preservatives, essential oils and the equipment you need to get started!

    9 self-care practices for challenging times Wellbeing

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