Social distancing and “Shelter in Place” policies mean that we’re unexpectedly redefining what both our work and home life look like. This new reality can cause anxiety and feelings of isolation, not to mention financial stress.

While none of us knows exactly what the future holds, there are some ways to practice self-care during moments that you’re feeling overwhelmed. (You’re not alone — we all will have them.) Here are a few to consider.

Take a Break 

It’s hard not to wake up and check Twitter or The New York Times before even getting out of bed, especially given the constant government updates regarding quarantine. But spending hours glued to your feeds can — and likely will — heighten your anxiety. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, studies found that monitoring the news leads to fatigue and sleep loss for more than 50% of Americans. In times of crisis, that anxiety climbs even higher.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the CDC recommends that you take a break from monitoring everything. Put down your phone and shut your laptop for a set amount of time. That means walking away from the news cycle but also from crunching numbers for your business, sending emails to clients, or planning marketing campaigns.

Go for a walk. Play with your kids. Set a clear “do not disturb” time, and stick to it.

It also helps to stick to a schedule with news check-ins in general. Maybe limit yourself to three times a day — once about an hour after you wake up, again at noon, and once more in the evening.

Connect with Another Person Who’s Also In It 

We’re fortunate that we’re more connected than we’ve ever been during unstable times. If you’re feeling isolated, make an effort to reach out to someone. That certainly applies to friends and family, but consider reaching out to the colleagues you may not have as much contact with when you’re not working in the same space.

Plan a FaceTime with someone else who’s also struggling with the lack of appointments or clients. Talk through financial or marketing ideas with them or — if you’re both feeling overwhelmed — agree in advance not to talk about business. Solidarity is cathartic.

Do Something Good for Someone Else 

Times are hard and money is tight, but often the quickest way to feel better is to give something to someone else. Studies show that giving truly does feel better to us than receiving. That doesn’t change in times of trouble.

So, why not offer a free online class, hair styling, or beauty workshop to your clients on Zoom or via IGTV? It’s a way of showing you care and keeping busy during times when you think you might start to spiral about the unknown. Your clients are also feeling isolated and will appreciate the distraction, too.

Beyond offering a little free support to your clients, you can also: 

  • Volunteer on NextDoor to pick up groceries for elderly neighbors 
  • Promote a GoFundMe for people who are out of work on your IG feed (many restaurant and bar staffs are hurting, too)
  • Donate — even $5 helps — to a women’s shelter, local nonprofit, or health organization

Tackle Some Revenue-Related or Marketing Projects

If you find yourself in a continual thought loop of: “I want to work but can’t”, now might be the ideal time to try redefining what you see as work.

What we mean: Even if you make your living with your hands, there are plenty of revenue-related projects you can tackle from the safety of your own home — including strategies that will help you build momentum for when we all start booking again. Chances are these are the projects you’ve put off for months, maybe even years. But they’re important. Here are our best ideas.

Start an Online Club with Your Clients or Colleagues

When used appropriately, escapism is a beautiful thing. (It’s why we all loved The Lord of the Rings trilogy so much.) Many people are turning to digital gatherings to keep in touch with each other and take their minds off things. So, why not organize one with your team or even with your clients? Here are a few ideas:

Digital book club: You can pick a book related to your industry or keep it classic and lighthearted. (Jane Austen is always a good escape option.) Plan a digital meet-up every couple of weeks to discuss.  

Client happy hour: Hop on a happy hour Zoom with your favorite clients, sip wine from your respective homes, and share some advice on how they can take care of themselves while you can’t take care of them. Seriously, what are we supposed to do with our bangs, stylists??

Send a “good news” newsletter: Ask clients to send you things that made them feel good over the last few weeks whether that’s great news from their personal lives or a video of penguins exploring a closed aquarium. Send them out as a newsletter to your email list (Note: You can use Schedulicity’s marketing tools for something like this. And, since we’ve waived all our fees until July 1, 2020, it’s totally free.)

Dare to Dream Big 

If feeling overwhelmed stems from your current financial uncertainty and fears for your business, try this: Take a break from thinking practically. Think big instead.

Sit down with a sketch pad or notebook, some pens, and Post-Its, and start mapping out the craziest, most beautiful, dream version of where you want to be in three, five, or even ten years. Better yet, pull out some craft supplies and old magazines, and spend the afternoon making a vision board. Get creative. Seriously, go BIG.

It’s a way to break any negative thought loop, but it’s also an opportunity to let your mind wander freely. Chances are you’ll come up with some pretty great ideas.

Ask for Help

It’s OK to tell your clients that you’re hurting and that you could benefit from them paying for packages or gift cards right now. Send them an email explaining the ways they can help you while you’re out of work. If you’re responsible for a staff, consider setting up a GoFundMe for them and for you and send it out on social media. We’re all looking for ways to help out.

On a serious note: If you’re overwhelmed in a way that feels out of control, ask for help from a professional. These are hard times for everyone. It’s essential that we all take care of ourselves.