For many of us, the end of summer feels like the beginning of a new year. It’s a time to look back on the year so far, and to think about what the future might hold.. And, after five months in a pandemic lockdown, we have more reason and more time than even to pause and reflect.
At first it was kind of exciting, like a series of snow days. We knew what we had to do and we did it. Set up a home office, fill the fridge, organize a schedule for children to follow, dig out old cookbooks, try new recipes, learn how to use Zoom. There was a certainty in these tasks that was comforting. Slowly we adjusted to staying home and it wasn’t so bad. In fact many things were better!
But the change also brought with it stress and anxiety. Simple things became huge endeavours. Going grocery shopping is like preparing for battle: mask, gloves, wipes, sanitizer, attack! If you were lucky enough to live with family, or friends, you may not have felt the loneliness of isolation but for many the lockdown meant being cut off from our normal day-to-day activities including connecting with others.
As we move into the fall there are still so many uncertainties. Will we go back to the office, will our children go to school, will we, or someone we love get sick? The stress we feel may come from not knowing what will happen next, or from the loss of control over our lives, the anxiety of not being able to plan ahead. The unknown can be frustrating for some and terrifying for others.
In times of uncertainty, one way to reduce stress and anxiety is to take time for yourself. It could be 10 minutes a day, or an hour, but taking time daily for ourselves helps us feel good, and that keeps our worries in check. Simple routines are helpful too. Maybe it’s your morning skincare routine, or perhaps it’s an evening soak in the bath with a book. Whatever you choose, the important thing is that you take time to be alone, put your thoughts in order, focus on yourself and do something that makes you feel relaxed and cared for.
For me it’s a nightly routine of moisturizing. I find that stress and anxiety makes me physically dehydrated and my skin dry. So, before I go to bed, I like to dim the lights in my room and slowly apply body lotion or body butter to feet, legs, arms, hands, and finish with an application of cuticle oil. The smell of these products are so so soothing and heavenly that, by the time I’m finished, my skin is soft, I am relaxed, and the lingering scent sends me calmly to sleep.