The first week of social distancing felt a bit like a working vacation. My sweetie and I stayed up really late every night (mostly to read and discuss the news), we’ve been cooking from scratch daily, taking long family walks in our neighborhood and have been more relaxed about screen time with Lily as we navigate homeschooling her while both of us work from home while keeping our sanity. Whether you’re single, living with your partner, married or have a family, most of us have experienced dramatic shifts to our daily routine, social life and our overall level of productivity due to being self-quarantined and practicing social distancing.
Spring is synonymous with cleaning and organizing for most of us. It’s a time to hit the refresh button on our home so why not finally color code your wardrobe the way you’ve long admired in magazines. A neat, organized closet is not only aesthetically pleasing but lack of clutter actually helps clear the mind along with speeding up the amount of time it takes to get ready, which will be especially important once we’re all thrust back into our regular routines and are back at work.
*Start with trying on sections of clothing in your closet to determine what sparks joy as Marie Condo teaches. If you don’t love something, it doesn’t fit and isn’t in style put it into a donation pile.
*Next, separate the items you need to fix such as sew a button, remove a stain, repair a hemline so you can actually wear them again. This may involve dropping an item off at a dry cleaners (still open at this time) or taking a pair of shoes into a cobbler to replace a heel lift or to be resoled if they’re in good condition.
If you want to take it a step further, you might also like this post on How to Maximize your Wardrobe with items you already have on and this other one on How to Maximize Your Wardrobe Budget (to avoid wasting money on clothes that never get worn).
Was one of your goals this year to finally start the business you’ve been dreaming about? For anyone who is looking to begin blogging, open an Etsy shop, wants to write a book, start a podcast, become a Photographer or Graphic Designer, manage social media accounts or a number of other work from home opportunities, I highly encourage you to start putting your business plan in place now and start where you are. If this global pandemic has taught us anything it’s that life can change in an instant, no job is secure, anyone can be laid off on a moment’s notice and the only guarantees are when we work on a side hustle that allows us to a) work from home or anywhere in the world b) create a business that will not disappear when a ‘shelter in place’ type order goes into effect and c) is a product or service that will always be needed (think: coaching services, marital counselling, social media marketing, an Editorial position, products on Etsy, etc).
What better time to revamp your beauty regimen? If your skin has been in a rut this winter, it might be time to introduce some new products, skin care techniques such as a quartz facial roller (I’m loving mine) to smooth out wrinkles and reduce puffiness. There is no time like being in quarantine away from others to test products without the fear of going out in public with potentially red or irritated skin-it’s the perfect low-risk moment for trial and error! Have you been meaning to try those eye serum masks that everyone keeps talking about or use a new brightening moisturizer? Order it and give it a whirl, it might just become your new favorite!
If you’ve already got the skincare part down, this might be an ideal time to experiment with make up techniques such as the winged eyeliner you’ve wanted to attempt, try out different eye shadow colors or master the art of highlighting and bronzing. There are so many fun beauty tutorials on Youtube and Instagram for makeup and even some DIY skincare masks. When I began using this mineral bronzer about 8 years ago, it became a game changer adding a subtle year-round glow. One new item I want to try is their mineral bronzer/blush combo. Finding just the right shade of subtle natural nude lip gloss (or the perfect red lipstick for your skin tone) is something that takes time and is something every classy woman should have in her arsenal.
If you’ve ever wanted to improve your photography skills, learn to code or decorate cakes, many online education resources are generously offering e-courses (some of them are even free) to help people stay busy during this time. A classy woman is invested in her personal growth and strives to be a lifelong learner. There are so many free tutorials on YouTube, social media strategy courses, online photography workshops, cooking classes and traditional courses available. Some great free examples are Coursera, Khan academy, Udemy, edX, Codecademy, Ted-Ed and Stanford Online.
Treat this time as you would if it were part of your regular daily routine-schedule your workouts in advance and as often as you typically would (or more if you’re looking to get some serious results during this time). While you can’t attend a class surrounded by people, there are so many incredible online workouts available, and I can attest to the fact that some of the most challenging are those that use your own body weight so it’s not essential to own a set of dumb bells or other equipment. My favorite Here is my favorite YouTube workout instructor for quick 10-15 minute power packed workouts that get results (it doesn’t hurt that she plays great music too). I am also a big fan of the Sweat App (known as BBG-bikini body guide) where you can choose at home no weight workouts all the way through to weight machines at the gym so it’s versatile. Tone It Up is another favorite and they also offer a healthy diet plan with multiple various in their own app. Increasing circulation and sweating is a great way to start the day. Don’t forget to stretch!
I’m going to encourage you to use this extra time at home to be more mindful of how you’re eating. It’s easy to grab comfort food like potato chips as you relax and watch Netflix more than usual but our immune system needs to be at its peak, eliminating junk food and excess sugar is essential. Opt for a healthy green smoothie recipe instead of a bagel and cream cheese or replacing your takeout habit at dinnertime with an easy meal such as a salad with roasted chicken breast. With grocery store shelves not being as fully stocked as they were, it may be time to get creative with 4-ingredient meals.
If you find that fresh produce is lacking, frozen is just as fresh. If you’re not already doing this, buy bananas in bulk and once they’re ripe you can slice them up and freeze them in a ziploc bag for smoothies and and making ‘nice cream’, a healthier non-dairy take on ice cream that whip up like dessert magic in the Vitamix blender (we use ours almost daily for smoothies plus you can make homemade soup in it!). Also, did you know you can freeze those plastic cellophane packs of spinach or kale? It’s the perfect way to preserve your power greens for smoothies. Veggies that tend to keep longer are sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and squash. Bean salads are a healthy lunch alternative with a few bell peppers and onions added and you can always make a meal out of avocado toast sprinkled with hemp seeds or topped with cherry tomatoes. Since bread freezes well, you may want to stock up on it. Be sure to keep shelf stable dairy-free milks on hand so they don’t have to be refrigerated until opened to use for granola, cereal, smoothies and coffee/tea. Make batches of healthy muffins and freeze the majority so you won’t be tempted to eat them all in one day but still always have access to fresh baked goods. If you’re feeling extra ambitious start pre-making healthy freezer meals that can just be popped into the oven or microwave in case you feel ill and can’t cook for yourself on the fly.
Is there anything better than a freshly cleaned home? I always breathe a sigh of relief when everything has been scrubbed and polished, now it’s extra important to stay on top of disinfecting surfaces such as doorknobs, phones, light switches, refrigerator door handles and faucets. Be sure to use all-natural cleaning products so you’re not creating a toxic indoor air environment. I recommend tackling your spring cleaning room by room or category by category over the course of a week or two. I started with our pantry for obvious reasons: tossing anything expired, condensing packages down and making room for new items we need to store. Before replacing everything I took a few minutes to wipe down the shelves. I’ve also tackled Lily’s toy and book bins which have made life easier as she’s at home with me all day. If you have kids under foot right now, you may want to save floor washing for after they’re in bed. I emptied out our under-stairs storage which we’re now able to walk to the back of once again, making room for extra cleaning supplies and some non-perishables. My number one goal during our quarantine time is cleaning and organizing our entire home so that once we’re able to be social once again, I won’t be spending my weekends inside.
If you’re used to reading blog posts and quick news snippets, I encourage you to dive into a good book, it provides mental clarity as you immerse yourself in it helping the stresses of the day melt away. All book stores might be closed in your area but Amazon and Target remain my favorite places to order books online. If you’re not able to step foot into a library and are trying to save money, there are tons of free e-books available with your library membership or you can find great titles on Free PDF drive. Use this time to join an online book clubs or just read that mammoth book you’ve been starting then stopping again and again. If you’ve felt pressed for time during regular days and find it hard to keep up with current events, now is a great time to get into that habit of starting and ending the day with reading.
Now is the best time to go through all the photos that are currently living in your phone’s camera roll or stored on your camera’s memory card and bring them to life! Once you find a few that you love, order the photos to be printed or enlarged online (I find a set of black and white are timeless), then pop them into some black picture frames and create a gallery wall displaying your favorite moments. For larger walls, you can trace your frames onto craft paper or even wrapping paper you have on hand then cut them out and tape them to the wall. Once you have the arrangement you like, take a pencil and mark where the nail holes would go. You can now hammer that nail right through the paper then remove all paper taped to the wall and simply hang your frames in place.
A spa night is the perfect way to end any day in my opinion, not only is it relaxing and rejuvenating mind, body and spirit, but it’s also a great way to unwind before bed for a better night’s sleep especially if it involves soaking in the tub with epsom salt which naturally detoxes and relaxes tired muscles. Burning a candle and playing soft mediation music adds to the overall vibe. You can create a combination of spa rituals. For a well rounded spa evening, make sure to focus on the body, feet and face. A purifying clay mask for clearer skin, feet covered in soothing lotion and extra soft spa socks to retain moisture for silky softness and a basic no polish manicure to tidy up cuticles and file rough edges. I always feel like a new woman after I’ve given myself a treatment or two. Finish the evening off with some lavender essential oil vaporized into the air of your bedroom or a couple drops added to your pillow for restful sleep.
With technology like Zoom, FaceTime and Skype, we can stay in touch with loved ones, host casual Netflix watch parties, have a ladies happy hour catch-up session, join other moms who are currently teaching their kids from home or even follow a recipe and cook or bake together. My sweetie has been setting up 5pm happy hour calls to meet up with friends (all are in the same industry so they can talk, keep conversation casual or even play poker). I reached out via a Facebook women’s group to see if other ladies want to start regular sessions for a much needed reprieve from our current daily routines and we’re already planning our first one which I’m excited about.