Friends of Coveteur on What They’re Doing to Take Care of Themselves Right Now
Compulsive headstands, Evian bottles as weights, and Instagram Live dance parties.
Every time I pick up the phone, another friend tells me they feel like they should be more productive during this upside-down time. I feel it, too: This afternoon, when I sat on the brick back-patio steps of our rented house in Maryland and read the second half of a book, it felt indulgent. The back of my mind pitter-pattered: You should be doing something! But, of course, I was.
Everything seems reversed. In normal times, I’d be thrilled to take a month away from daily life and rent a charming house in the middle of nowhere with my boyfriend. But in these times, it can feel isolating and disorienting. It took me a week to get used to waking up to silence. I’m slowly getting into a rhythm, doing Pilates, going for runs on dusty roads, baking coconut-flour blondies—not out of virtuousness, but because regular flour is sold out and back-ordered until May here. It’s OK. But I started wondering: How’s everyone else handling this?
So we asked some friends of Coveteur: What are you doing right now to take care of yourself, help yourself feel better, and be more productive in these times? Here’s what they had to say on the matter.
Megan O’Neill, senior beauty editor at Goop
I compulsively do handstands throughout the day—it’s a great break from hunching over my computer, a brilliant way to get up and stretch, and you can do it in a small apartment by extending your legs up against a sliver of wall space. My goal is to get great at holding them without the wall, and practicing handstands is a beautiful ritual that makes me feel productive and athletic and healthy. Plus, I was always scared of the ruckus I’d create doing them in actual yoga class around other people, so when we emerge back into the world, I’ll have overcome that fear, hopefully.
I’m also baking a ton—it feels really nice to create something, and even better to eat it!—and experimenting with almond and coconut flours in place of conventional wheat flour and swapping refined sugar for maple syrup as a sweetener. I’m still delighted by treats with real flour and sugar, but I’m a serious at-home baker, so I feel the need to do this research right now. I’ve been reading a ton (on Goop and Parsley Health) about how consistent exercise helps boost the immune system, so I’m doing daily online Alo yoga classes and Xtend Barre Pilates. I look forward to lunchtime every day: I always secretly wanted to race home and bake myself a sweet potato, sauté myself up some garlicky olive-oil-drenched kale, and roast some brussels sprouts for lunch, and now I’m doing that. This is such a strange, unnerving time, but creating these little rituals for yourself and carving out time to make yourself, say, a nourishing sweet-potato lunch really eases anxiety and shifts your entire outlook.
April Gargiulo, founder of Vintner’s Daughter
It may sound counterintuitive, but being in service to others is how I am taking care of myself right now. I’m thinking about it in concentric circles: my family, friends, team, and those on the front lines and most in need. We have all heard of the metaphor where you must put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you can help others. Well, that is true. Perhaps it isn’t as linear as that, but the truth remains. For me, that has meant doing a lot of loving kindness practice for myself and others. Being gentle on yourself and those around you can unlock so much. We are spending more time connecting with our community using technology and are giving money to organizations that are supporting those on the front lines and the most fragile among us. It is a time of great sadness, but also a time of deep creativity, and this can be honored in so many ways, from journaling, baking, drawing, or just being in nature.
Amy Jordan, founder and CEO of WundaBar Pilates
It helps if I simplify things for myself, and in this circumstance, I’m staying aware of three Ms:
Mindset: What a shame it will be if we spend these weeks complaining about being bored with too much time—we normally make ourselves crazy running about! I’m intentionally gratefully accepting the “extra” time we now have with ourselves, inside our own skin, and the family we love.
Movement: Some of my best moments inside my own body during the quarantine have been doing Pilates, on the floor, with nothing else but me and the body I’m in. Getting the blood flowing through your body uplifts the spirit and keeps it that way for hours.
Mantras: I choose a mantra or two a day to focus on for work, interactions with my kids, and my overall approach to life. Today I’m focusing on “My body is rested and my mind is clear” throughout the morning, and “My day unfolds with ease and grace,” saying it whenever I feel sidetracked or frustrated.
Rebecca Parekh, co-founder and CEO of The Well
I’m trying to take things minute by minute and day by day. We are all feeling a lot right now and living through tremendous uncertainty. By breaking things into bite-size pieces, it all feels a little less daunting. I’ve fallen into the habit of showering twice a day. According to my colleague Ananta, the director of Ayurveda at The Well, showering is one of the best practices for mental health in Ayurveda, as you literally and figuratively rinse away the previous day. Something about the hot water feels soothing and comforting. I use our essential oils as a nice little ritual day and night as well. After my morning shower, I add a few drops of Rise to my body lotion, and in the evening I use Relax to help unwind. I take a minute to inhale the scent and get really grounded in that moment. It seems like a small thing, but it has a powerful effect on me.
Melany Dobson, founder of Treaty
I try to get a breath of fresh air by going outside, walking, and engaging with nature when I can. Things like tending to the houseplants, planting, watering, and pruning have been therapeutic for me, as well. I’ve also been feeling the feels and expressing myself during this time of confusion, from reading and writing to listening to music, singing, and dancing. With working from home, I make sure to carve out boundaries and unplug for a set period of time to just let my mind wander and reset.
Julie Bernier, founder of True Ayurveda
I’m more productive when I feel good, so feeling good is top priority right now. I’m keeping up with the routine that I know the body needs and loves—waking up by six, eating proper meals at regular times, going to bed by ten. That rhythm is so helpful for my mind, too, and has a ripple effect on my ability to focus and be really present in my work. I’m eating warm, cooked food, sitting in the morning sun, and getting lots of fresh air—walking in the neighborhood and keeping the windows wide open.
Athena Hewett, founder of Monastery
I’ve been spending a lot of quality time with my son. Usually he’s in preschool every day, so I’ve been creating activities to keep us busy each day. Yesterday we made green-tea ice cream from scratch; the day before we tie-dyed a few shirts and socks. I have been giving myself facials—I made an at-home facial protocol for my customers—and really enjoy doing it! I’m also pregnant again, so I’ve loved going down for a nap with my son every day with zero guilt!
Lucy Goff, founder of Lyma
I have to try and juggle married life, looking after my daughter, and trying to steer the best future business decisions from home. I try to prioritize good sleep, dose up on homemade chicken soup (which is packed with micronutrients to boost immunity), and make time each day for exercise indoors, including plank competitions between the family, headstands against the wardrobe, and using Evian bottles as weights. I always start the day with five deep-belly breaths, and as a way of treating myself, I’ve introduced “Salon Sundays.” I have a bathroom full of so many beauty products I never usually have time to use. I wake up on Mondays looking and feeling like a new woman!
Nancy Schnoll, founder of Reflekt
Since we’re so physically disconnected, connecting daily with family and friends and even Zooming my college roomies is necessary and restorative. I’m cooking a lot and eating three healthy meals every day and baking up a storm—cheat sweets are justified, but I’ve also been mailing cookies to others. A bit of sugar therapy. Physically (and psychologically), I’ve been taking care of myself by live-streaming online workouts with Melissa Wood Health and Ragan Movement, enjoying long (socially distanced, of course) walks along the Hudson River, and giving some extra TLC to my skin, nails, and hair with masks and self-manis and -pedis.
Reflekt is an online business, so we’re fortunate in that way, and while working hard has always made me feel great, being able to focus on work right now is something I’m especially thankful for. When I start to feel down, I make lists, which has long been a coping mechanism for me. Writing down simple things that I’d like to do—like reading a certain book I’ve been meaning to or organizing my closet—and being able to check things off as I complete them gives me a sense of accomplishment, and that actually feels really good right now.
Sarah Moret, founder of Curie
I’m making an effort to set a routine as much as possible so that work doesn’t swallow up my whole day. I’ve made it a habit to walk around my neighborhood for 20–30 minutes every morning with a cup of coffee and set a dedicated time in my calendar every evening to move, whether it be for a live-stream workout or a run outside. Whenever I start to get into a funk, I join one of Ryan’s Heffington’s Instagram Live dance parties.
I have been setting up small rituals for myself that I now actually have time to enjoy. It’s simple things, from making a matcha latte in the morning to lighting my favorite candle at night. Every evening, no matter what, I have been taking isolated walks along the Hudson River in NYC. Seeing the water calms me and reminds me that it won’t be like this forever. I have also been trying to keep a fitness routine with The Ness digital platform. I even rearranged my living room to fit a mini trampoline, so I can continue to do what makes me happy.
Monica Ruffo, founder of Well Told Health
I feel this is a time for me to reset, and I am dedicating my energy to letting go of as much as possible and allowing new beliefs, values, and behaviors to grow that will better serve me. That may sound lofty, but every part of my life has changed, and rather than mourn what is not, I am letting myself go along for the ride. Being productive is challenging right now as I juggle being a mom, an in-house chef, and a business owner. I ensure I exercise, meditate, and take walks to maintain balance and to start each day with the thought that life is meant to be an adventure and that today will be like nothing I have ever experienced before.
Jill Munson, Gianna De La Torre, Britta Plug, co-founders of Wildling
Individually, we are doing our best to balance work, homeschooling, cooking, and family responsibilities. It’s overwhelming, but we are also very grateful for the quality time with our loved ones. Britta is grateful to be tucked away in Topanga and surrounded by nature during this time. Gianna has been getting plenty of vitamin D on her roof to strengthen her immune system. Jill’s finding peace in the simple things and enjoys taking her children on nature walks and teaching them about plants and medicinal herbs that are thriving right now. For self-care, we are all dedicated to our daily Empress gua sha ritual and have introduced dry brushing and full-body gua sha as part of our day-to-day for lymphatic drainage. It feels so therapeutic and healing.
If anyone’s interested in joining us, we’re offering a #radicalselflove series at Wildling. Every Sunday, we’re releasing content that promotes immunity, self-care, wellness, and grounding. We’re including full-body lymphatic drainage, yoga, meditation, reiki, energy healing, astrology, among other healing and wellness modalities. Head to our Instagram for more.
Marie Veronique Nadeau, founder of Marie Veronique Skincare
I am fortunate enough to have been in the middle of changing my way of life before the shutdown by moving myself to a little place up north, which, with the help of some friends, we are turning into a farm. So far we have chickens, ducks, and bunnies, and we are getting bees this week. Next up is goats. While we are a long way from self-sustaining, it is definitely a different way of living. Food we would normally throw away goes to the chickens, who will eat anything. I can’t wait for the goats, who will eat what the chickens don’t, including bed springs, I am told.
The biggest lesson that has been brought home to me already from living here is how survival is a cooperative, multi-species affair. We humans are just now learning that basic principle; we are experiencing a paradigm shift, and figuring out how to shift from competition to cooperation will be key to our survival. I am very encouraged by how our species is responding to this present challenge—we are working together and putting technology to good use to stay connected. We can’t go home again, but if we respond appropriately to this challenge, we won’t want to return to a past that no longer works.
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