Sheltering in Place: Self-Care Tips for Lockdown

Sheltering in Place: Self-Care Tips for Lockdown

The development of the novel coronavirus and its accompanying disease, COVID-19, into a global pandemic has resulted in the need for us all to take responsible steps to curb the spread. For many of us, this has included the necessity to shelter in place;we must stay indoors unless obtaining essential items such as groceries or medicines or getting some brief exercise. For the most part, we all understand that this is a tool in flattening the curve and preventing medical services from becoming overwhelmed. That doesn’t mean we’re all finding it easy.

Many of us have a set of self-care actions that help us maintain our mental and physical wellbeing at times of stress, whether that’s regularly engaging in creative outdoor activities or a daily moment of mindfulness. However, this drastic change in the world around us, and our own lifestyles, can mean that those mechanisms are either unachievable or get pushed to the wayside for more urgent matters.

As we continue to hunker down in our houses for the wellbeing of ourselves and our neighbours, it’s an important time to revisit the value of self-care. What practices can we adopt in a more restricted, stressful world? How can we adjust our routines and expectations effectively?

Keeping Perspective

We are living at a stressful time. Let’s just take a moment to acknowledge that. Things are not likely to return to normal anytime soon, and the simple knowledge of this can be overwhelming. A global pandemic is a mentally unwieldy prospect, so one of our first self-care considerations needs to be the state of our continued mindset.

Nurses often employ a useful skill known as situational awareness. This technique helps those in often stressful circumstances cope using rational thought, allowing them to navigate crises efficiently and effectively. This approach of carefully reviewing all the facts of the situation, analyzing them to gain a better understanding, and using that information to adjust our expectations for the near future can help us gain a sense of grounding and control that can feel in short supply at the moment.

This adjustment of expectations should not just be directed toward external factors, either. We also need to examine what is realistic for ourselves at this time. It can be easy to fall into the trap of putting too much on our shoulders or punishing ourselves for not achieving all the things that we feel we should be. This is an unusual period and few of us are ready for it; therefore, we need to maintain some perspective. Most importantly, remember that this will end, and the best we can hope for is to learn for the future.

Understanding What Helps

While self-care has enjoyed something of an enhanced public profile in recent years, it’s not always consistent lives. In fact, it’s not always well understood, and for some, it’s shorthand for indulging in activities that satisfy us in the short term. One essential aspect of self-care is taking time to understand what actions help us, and why they do.

Practicing self-care involves a balance of focus across various aspects of our lives. As outlined in the linked resource, we can break this down into four distinct areas: emotional, social, physical, and mental care. Attending to each of these areas allows us to holistically maintain our continued wellbeing.

When we take a look at how each self-care activity truly affects us, we can begin to use a balance range of self-care techniques while sheltering in place. Getting dressed and presentable each morning can improve our emotional state, maintaining healthy sleep habits helps our physical well being. Regular video calls with loved ones helps feed our social appetite, and a routine of meditation can help us centre and gain awareness of our mental health.

Review what works for you, and why, and develop a program of self-care that provides balanced benefits. It can even be incorporated into other holistic frameworks, such as healing magick.

Staying Active and Creative

Sheltering in place means that, aside from very limited circumstances, our lives are being spent inside. Self-care activities like hikes and gallery visits simply aren’t going to be practical for the foreseeable future. Getting through this period of social isolation means that we have to be a little creative in finding solutions.

Our gym workouts are often not only an opportunity to keep fit, but social watering. Let’s face it, it can easier to work towards fitness goals when we ask friends to keep us accountable. Try jumping on Skype with your friends to partake in an indoor fitness routine that works for your space. There are also various fitness experts that host live sessions on Facebook and Instagram.

While you may not be able to venture far outside, this can be an opportunity to further explore your creative depths. Often our most valuable creative experiences can come from perseverance through difficult circumstances. A 2019 study even found that boredom and frustration can serve to spark our creativity. Use some of this time to daydream, to be open to creative experiences. But be realistic and kind to yourself. Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to write King Lear in quarantine.


Sheltering in place can be a difficult scenario, even for those of us who consider ourselves introverts. Stress, restrictions on movement, and concern for our safety can all end up being the wrong side of overwhelming. In these times, self-care becomes even more important. By taking time to understand our circumstances, adjust our expectations, and make subtle changes to our self-care routine, we can find our own way through this challenge. It’s tough. Some of us will undergo loss, grief, levels of fear and anxiety we’ve not had to experience before. But it will not be forever.