Open Forum: What Does Self-Care Look Like During Quarantine?

The wellness industry has always done a pretty good job at portraying self-care through the lens of consumerism. There are endless products produced and marketed towards bettering or enhancing our “self-care” needs—chatter about which $30 fitness class is worth it, which $12 juice is best for calming the mind, or which $100 yoni egg is better at enhancing sexual pleasure. In short, we as a culture look to things outside of ourselves to soothe our inner needs, and very often, it includes spending money. 

Now, in self-isolation, we’ve been left to unfamiliar devices of comfort during the most complicated of times. We’ve been forced, collectively, to redefine what our self-care looks like. A friend of mine recently called me and expressed frustration around not being able to soothe herself during moments of high stress and anxiety. “You’re lucky,” she sighed. “You hike and journal as a way to self-care, but the only way I know how to take care of myself is to buy a shirt I don’t need or have a few beers with friends. And now, I can’t do either.” 

While I do hike and journal as a way to self-soothe, in moments of deep discomfort or internal anxious rhetoric, I usually consume. I’ll run to a coffee shop and order a chai to avoid my feelings. I’ll spend hours “fake” online shopping, adding things to my cart with no intention of ever purchasing, to either procrastinate or disassociate. On really shitty days, my husband and I will treat ourselves to a steak dinner at a fancy restaurant.

Under week one of quarantine, when my anxiety was at its peak, most of my usual self-care go-tos, as coffee shops + restaurants shut down, weren’t available. Even my trusted fake online shopping felt out of place. So I started doing news things: going on daily walks, dancing with strangers through Zoom, helping people in my community, watching endless meditative bread-making videos, and I’m even considering neighborhood primal screams

And more than anything, I’m learning how to do nothing. How to soak in the sweetness of doing nothing—whether that’s watching the sunset or laying on the carpet and staring at the ceiling.

I’m curious…. How do we self-care during these times? What does that look like for students? For parents? For single people? For people who just lost their jobs? For people who can’t stand their jobs? For disabled folks? For pregnant women? For anyone who has a compromised immunity? 

I’d love to hear from you. All of you.

What does your self-care routine look like during quarantine? Have you had to look within and explore different methods to self-soothe? What’s surprised you?


LET'S TALK: what does your self-care routine look like during quarantine?



  1. I’m a total creature of habit and things getting turned on their head so like they have with this pandemic has been a real struggle. Rather than be crazy strict with myself and try to structure my time (quickly gave up on crazy structure because it was honestly super hard to maintain and made me feel badly when I didn’t live up to it) I turned to creativity! I have always loved to be creative and crafty, but between work, family, friends, the machine that is “adulting”, had lost touch with it. Since being at home more than usual I have tie dyed, made a structured macrame bag, and taken up working with wool challenge is diy clay and honestly I’m SO EXCITED! Producing something yourself I have found to be deeply soothing and peaceful. I couldn’t recommend it more highly 🙂

    1. I was *just* thinking of tie dying! I’ve been lusting after a tie-dye sweatsuit for what feels like years, and wondered if quarantine was the time to get one—but making one would be so much cheaper and more fun. Plus then I can also tie-dye a thong.

  2. My self-care consists of doing something that physically connects me with nature. Be it plant seeds, water my garden, transplant a plant, or just forage edibles around my hood. I also turn off my WiFi and cellular to at least escape the microwave frequencies in my own home. It makes for a sounder night’s sleep.

  3. I am a busy student with 55 assignments due in a little over a month. But I make a set schedule for work time, and give myself plenty and plenty of time/space to do things that are good for my body and to give my brain a BREAK. Creating am/pm routines that involve yoga, hot bubble baths, trying new breakfast recipes and reading the NYT on my porch with a cup of tea. Healthy, relaxing and positive ritualistic behaviors have been helping.

    1. I can’t imagine being a student right now. Pre-quarantine I read a lot of books, and now I’m having such a hard time reading. I don’t know why! Anyways, YOU ARE MY HERO! Keep it up!!!!! xx

  4. As a single mom who is homeschooling full time while working full time as a nurse in the hospital… self care looks like skipping a workout to sleep in, eat what I want, and veg on the couch while my son is with his dad. Glam

  5. I just lost my job a week ago so self-care hasn’t been what it usually is. I’m allowing myself to go through these waves of anger and grief, while also reminding myself that this too shall pass. I’m finding a lot of comfort in that.

  6. My self-care routine has been at a minimum. I feel like I’m just trying to survive. But more than anything, my self-care routine involves trying to control my mind and thoughts. I feel really out of control right now, so reminding myself constantly that I don’t need to be in control to be happy, healthy and safe. That I can move into a place of trust and uncertainty and still feel all of those things.

    1. I’m in a similar boat. For me, self-care is looking at how I speak to myself during this time. I always felt like self-care was a very external thing, but now I look at it as something I do internally. Part of that includes gratitude lists, reframing my thoughts, and moving on to something else when I feel my mind teetering on the edge of negativity.

    2. That last line is so powerful. Full chills. Thank you for sharing! Sending you a big hug. You got this! xx

  7. I’m a student and I’m forced to put 80% of my research on hold. Instead of my old cycle of working and always feeling inadequate, I’m sleeping in, setting manageable goals, rearranging furniture, cleaning the house, masturbating more often, journaling, setting aside dedicated time with my partner to talk through our feelings, and getting into Animal Crossing like the rest of the world as a fun escape 😂 I feel like all of these habits will be so important when I transition back to work (one day). Keeping the feeling of self care and intuition alive, and connecting with myself.

  8. I am a student and also work for an English academy for kids – both of which have now been converted to online classes. I have been busy studying and giving classes, but find time for self care. I like to do quick at home workouts, take my dog out for a walk – I’ll give someone a call (usually my parents) or throw a podcast on. I have also been face masking A LOT.