The outbreak of COVID-19 across the globe means that the very best thing we can all do for ourselves (and each other) right now is to stay at home. It sounds easy, and in many ways it is. But it's also very challenging for many of us in lots of subtle ways, and surprisingly difficult. Trust us, no-one is missing travel and adventure more than the Cloud Nine Global team!
Instead we're doing our best to focus on the positives of this incredibly strange time we're living through - and one of the brightest things about lockdown is the opportunity it provides for genuine self care. We are deeply passionate about self care at the moment - so much so that we've actually created a pack celebrating it! (Check out the Cloud Nine Global The Self Care pack here).
But we're also thinking a lot about what self care really means, and finding ways to make it a central part of our lives right now. So here we would love to share with you three great ways to practise self care, now and into the future:
Embrace the blissful splendour of deep sleep
One recurring theme we've discovered is that self care is very much about getting back to basics, and nothing is more basic than sleep. It's one of the key needs of all human beings, and yet it's almost shocking how few of us actually get enough. Ariana Huffington, who has written and spoken extensively about the power of sleep and how it has been key to her success, describes quality shut-eye as "the gateway through which a life of wellbeing must travel" and we couldn't agree more. (You can check out some of her rules for getting better sleep here.)
Make sleep a top priority in your self care routine and do everything you can to get really good quality deep sleep, the kind that restores you physically, mentally and spiritually. A luxurious eye mask and good ear plugs can definitely help, especially when you live in the city (we have beautiful ones in our Self Care pack;) and you might also like to try a spritz of lavender oil in your bedroom, a soothing cup of herbal tea or milk before bed, a warm bath and a white sound machine (or there are great apps you can try on your phone, such as this one).
Embrace some light exercise
Being confined to your house or apartment really isn't an excuse to stop moving, and exercise is not only still possible but actually essential. You don't need to put pressure on yourself, the current circumstances are doing more than enough of that already! But try to create some sort of routine, even if it is only a bit of light walking or stretching every day and then some more involved activity a couple of times a week. Every little bit counts and even if space is limited there are still plenty of ways you can move your body - and even make it fun.
We love having a little bit of a living room boogie from time to time - and when there's no-one watching, it's even more fun to let loose. Want to take it further? There are lots of dance studios offering classes, including the Sydney Dance Company virtual studio (which has an unlimited weekly pass for $28) and yoga classes online are in thick supply, and range from paid options to free ones (we love Yoga with Adriene). For general exercise, we're also a fan of Blogilates, the home of ultra perky fitness instructor Cassey Ho, which has some great little workouts targeting specific areas such as arms or abs.
Go back to the classics
One of the biggest trends of this quarantine period, across the globe, has been a gentle return to a simpler way of being. There's no doubt that technology has been absolutely essential during this time to help us continue to work, shop and stay in touch with our loved one. But screen fatigue is real, and eventually it becomes necessary to put down your device, close your laptop, turn off the tv and dial everything down a bit.
Reading real books (you know, the ones made out of paper) is a tried and true way to give your eyes a rest and escape for a couple of hours into another world. It can be a little tough to get started (as this article in The Atlantic explores so beautifully) but it's well worth the effort. Other old school activities the Cloud Nine Global team are currently enjoying include baking bread and cakes (we're even cultivating our own sourdough starter!), writing a daily journal and doing jigsaw puzzles. Maybe try writing a real letter to a friend, or pressing flowers from your garden (if you're lucky enough to have one) or cross stitching or doing some colouring in (this has been popular with adults for a while now, and this article in Popsugar lays out some good options for you to consider). Pick your preferred activity, make a delicious cup of tea in a nice cup (we recommend the yummy blends by Tea Tonic and include their Well-being tea in our Self Care pack) and then settle in for an hour or two (who's counting?) of restful activity - we promise you'll feel well cared for by the end of it...