10 Ways to Combat Anxiety

Have you been feeling more anxious over the past few weeks? It’s safe to say the majority of us are right there with you. There is new information daily about the coronavirus, the timeline for social distancing was extended earlier this week, and many of us are missing our daily routines. To offer a respite of calm to you, we thought we would share 10 ways we’re combatting our anxiety in order to weather the storm for the long haul.

1. Practice Deep Breathing

On Tuesday, first grade teacher Mrs. Lamb shared two great breathing exercises. The first involves inhaling for five counts and exhaling for five counts. The second is called Smelling the Cake and Blowing Out the Candles. Envision a birthday cake and breathe in as though you are smelling it (five counts works well). Then, exhale as though you are blowing out the candles (five counts works well here too). Repeat as needed!

2. Create a Routine

Many of us crave routine, and keeping one in place is a great way to create continuity in your day even if you’re spending the majority of your time at home. In fact, keeping your morning routine in place can work wonders to keep your mind in a positive place. We find one of the keys is to make sure to get dressed daily. Then, be mindful of meal times, and don’t be afraid to work in different rooms in your house if you’re working from home. Keeping your kids on a schedule they know can help to guide them too.

3. Limit News Intake

We find we feel more anxious the more we watch and read the news, so it can be helpful to limit how much information you’re able to absorb. Think about checking for the latest updates in the morning and perhaps once more later in the day rather than receiving information all day long. Sometimes the most helpful thing to do, mentally, is to take a step back.

4. Take a Walk

One of the best ways to keep your anxiety in check is through movement and exercise. It helps because it offers a change of pace and scenery, plus a walk offers the opportunity for a further distraction. Turn on an audiobook, listen to music, or catch up on a podcast! A walk doesn’t have to only occur one time each day either – multiple walks have benefits.

5. Get Cozy

Although stores may be closed for the foreseeable future, there are plenty of great deals to enjoy online. LOFT has great sweatpants and joggers, Carter’s and OshKosh B’gosh have colorful and fun layers for kids, and Old Navy and Gap have athleisure pieces that are on par with more expensive brands at bargain prices. Plus, you can also stock up on essential oils and beauty products to have an at-home spa day, and there are weighted blankets you can purchase online.

6. Enjoy Screen Time

Sign up for a new Hulu membership and get lost in a new series (we’ve heard “Little Fires Everywhere” is excellent!), make progress on your “must watch” movie list with help from FandangoNOW, and more. TV and movies have the great ability to transport us to other places, and that’s definitely necessary right now.

7. Create a Playlist

Like TV and movies, music offers a great source of distraction. Create a playlist of uplifting songs or even those known to calm you down on your go-to site for streaming music. We’ve seen more than a few playlists titled “Quarantunes”, and we think the name is great! You might find your playlist is one you turn to during other moments that are known to cause stress even after our current climate shifts.

8. Socialize

A great conversation with a friend can make you feel so much better, so don’t be a stranger to friends and family! Schedule Zoom calls, Facetime, or simply talk on the phone. Everyone feels very similarly during these times, and it’s helpful to hear about someone else’s day to keep that in perspective.

9. Pursue a New Hobby

If there’s a hobby you have been wanting to try and you can easily pursue it from home, now is a great time to start! There is not a need to become an expert over the next few days and weeks, but jumping in is the very first step. Maybe you want to learn how to bake or cook; perhaps sewing or learning how to play the guitar are on your agenda; maybe taking up running or cycling have been on your list. Whatever you’ve been considering, give it a try!

10. Look to the Future

Even though we’re uncertain when our social distancing and unsettling newsfeeds will officially come to an end, all sources are pointing to the fact that this, too, shall pass. Remind yourself of that fact often. Consider making loose plans with friends and family to have dinner, meet for ice cream, or go to the beach once we’re able to gather again. Sometimes simply having a date (that can be altered!) on the calendar helps because it means you’re looking ahead.

What are some of the best ways you have found to stay calm? Chime in on Facebook  and join us later today as we go LIVE on our page for a yoga class!

10 Work from Home Tips

With our current climate, many people have had to jump into working from home without having the opportunity to properly prepare emotionally, mentally, and physically. It’s safe to say, it’s a big shift all around! Understandably, you might feel as though you’re attempting to determine your new normal as you go. To help you create a work from home life you can grow to enjoy, we thought we would offer our top 10 work from home tips. For many of our Shopkick teams, working from home is part of our weekly routine. So, here’s how we get things done:

10 Work from Home Tips:

1. Keep Your Routine

If you had a morning routine you enjoyed before the quarantine went into effect, make sure to keep that going! If you like to get up and workout first thing, continue doing that. Maybe you look forward to drinking coffee and checking social media – keep it up! Routines help us to feel “normal”, and having that sense of normalcy will keep your productivity going throughout your day.

2. Get Dressed

Shopkickers, getting dressed it key! We know it’s tempting to stay in your pajamas all day because the option of going out is suddenly no longer a true possibility. But, getting dressed will likely make you feel more alert and ready to tackle your day. Again, this also relates to the above of creating and continuing your routine – getting dressed will likely make you feel better. And, for that reason, it’s worth it!

3. Explain Your Work to Family

Working from home can feel tricky, especially if you’re home with kids, other family members, or partners who aren’t joining you by working from home. Your loved ones might spot you and think because you’re also home, you’re free to spend time together. So, set work from home boundaries. Maybe your signal to be interrupted is an open door, or perhaps you step away to enjoy a snack or lunch together. Reminding those you love and who also love you that you’re still working even though you’re home will help everyone to adjust through the transition.

4. Create Your Workspace

If you typically work in an office setting, you likely spend your days at your desk. However, the options will likely feel endless at home. Decide where you would like to work, but don’t feel limited in your options. If you have a desk at home and you enjoy working there, go for it. But, if you would prefer to work from your table or living room, that’s fine too. As a general note: kitchen counters, especially those that have bar height counters can serve as excellent standing desks. Move around your house! It may help your productivity and inspiration.

5. Soak in the Sun

We’ve all woken up to a rainy day and felt like going back to sleep. Working without natural light in sight has the ability to make you feel tired before you begin, so work where you can see the sun. Natural light helps us to feel energized, and working by a window also offers the opportunity to enjoy a nice view and even catch a glimpse of people walking outside.

6. Don’t Snack

One of the top questions many people ask when they’re first starting to work from home is how to avoid snacking. The answer is simple and complicated at the same time: don’t do it! To go back to the first point we mentioned about keeping a routine, keep your breakfast and lunch times intact throughout the day. This will help you to feel satisfied because you will already know when your next mealtime will occur. The other tip: choosing not to work from your kitchen (and the source of the snacks) will likely help if you feel like your willpower is in question.

7. Socialize

The biggest complaint many have to offer about working from home is the lack of socialization. You likely went from eating lunch with coworkers and attending in person meetings throughout the day to being by yourself for hours on end. So, make it a point to meet with coworkers for meetings, meals, and even post-work cocktails over Zoom and Google Hangout. If you’re leading work meetings, start things off by asking everyone round table style how they’re doing. A quick catch up has the ability to remind everyone that though you’re not all physically together, you’re still equally as connected virtually.

8. Go for a Walk

It’s easy to not even realize how many steps you take walking to and from your car into work and throughout your workplace during the day until you’re at home without the need to move around as much. So, get outside! Take a walk in the morning before you start working, plan to walk again after lunch, and consider taking another walk at the end of your day. Use this time to listen to music, an audiobook, or a podcast. You’ll feel refreshed and energized to keep going, and you’ll get your steps in.

9. Log Off

When you’re working from home, you’re likely working from your computer, which is now just feet or a few rooms away from you at all times. The temptation to work at odd times or to keep working into the night is definitely there. But, if you typically walk away from work when you work in-person, keep that up! The best way to make sure this happens is to sign out of all of the apps and programs you use rather than keeping them open on your desktop. Knowing you have to login oftentimes provides enough of a barrier to keep you from continuing to work.

10. Plan Your Evening

The other thing that will help you to sign off from work and feel as though you still have separation between your personal and professional lives is to make plans during the evening. Schedule a call with friends, let your family know you want to have a movie night together, remember to watch your favorite TV shows, workout virtually, make dinner, catch up on chores, etc. Knowing you have things to do will make you feel encouraged to use your time well during the day so you can rest at night.

Do you work from home? What do you find helps you to embrace it? Let us know on Facebook!