Self-care has always been an important part of living a healthy and happy life, but we need it now more than ever. Practicing self-care can help us manage emotions, lower stress levels and help us feel in control. That means that during tough times, we need to practice self-care with an extra level of intention. To get you started, here are seven ways to show yourself kindness while staying safe at home.


1. Make your space more comfortable
We’re spending a lot of time in one place, so we should make it as comfortable as we can. Light that candle you’ve been saving (but dust it off first), open the blinds to let in some sun and wash your linens more often than you usually would. (That fresh-sheet-feeling is worth the chore!) If you’re living in a very small space, spend a little time tidying up at the end of every day to make things more comfortable for yourself tomorrow.


2. Put exercise on the schedule
We know how challenging it can be to feel motivated to work out when you’re at home. We also know how GOOD it feels to get in a little exercise every day – and it’s a key part of self-care. Schedule workouts on your calendar and plan ahead: if you have kids who will make it difficult to exercise, ask someone in your household to watch them. If that’s not an option, make it a family affair. Stream a family workout and invite your kids to participate or take everyone for a walk around the neighborhood. And don’t forget, all movement is good movement: stretch, walk, dance, run, or try a home workout.


3. Indulge in a spa night
Pour yourself a cup of tea and draw a warm bath (bubbles optional). For an extra touch of luxury, make a DIY face mask, like this recipe from Glitter and Caffeine: 1 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp oats + half an avocado. If you’re still in the mood for pampering, give yourself a manicure and pedicure.


4. Make a new healthy meal
As comforting as it can be to indulge in unhealthy foods during times of stress, fueling your body with healthful foods can help fight those feelings of anxiety. And with a little extra time to prep, you might even enjoy cooking! Websites like Supercook ask what ingredients you have at home and create recipe suggestions so you don’t need to leave the house.


5. Learn new things
If you’re suddenly in charge of teaching your kids every day, you’re probably already learning plenty! But keeping your mind busy with new and interesting topics can be enriching and fulfilling. Plan out time in your day to master a new computer program, study a new subject, or practice a new language.


6. Try a new hobby
Practice meditation, dig out the arts and crafts bin and try a craft project for adults, start a garden, write a story, learn origami or listen to music while coloring. You might find you love a hobby you’ve never even tried!


7. Connect with someone outside
Call someone you usually text. Use your webcam or phone to do a video conference with your book club. If you have Netflix, chat with friends in a long-distance watch party. You can even host a virtual game night with popular board games. It’s important to maintain physical distance, but this is 2020. There are so many ways we can connect.