What I’ve learned during lockdown

I have to admit, being in lockdown for 2 months during the COVID-19 outbreak has taught me a lot. At a time where life seemed to be moving so fast, always being busy, we have been forced out of our routines & to deal with something that we never thought we would ever have to deal with.

It’s been a difficult time for everyone. Having to adjust to the “new normal” was difficult for everyone. Now that we are on our way out of this craziness, I’ve done some reflection. 

This time has taught me a lot of valuable lessons. While I wish these lessons didn’t have to happen due to a global pandemic, my perception of daily life has been shifted. Things that used to matter to me, don’t matter anymore & things that I never paid much attention to are getting my greatest gratitude. 
Related: Self Care & Activities During Quarantine, Tips for working from home, Staying on track while stuck at home during quarantine, My Morning Routine During Quarantine


Here’s what I’ve learned during this time: 

NOT TO BE so RIGID WITH MY ROUTINES

I am a very routine-oriented person. Always have been, probably always will be. I rely so much on my routine that when I get knocked out out my routine, it’s really hard to get back. 

Like everyone else, my routines had to be shifted. I was no longer able to go to the gym in the morning, work on my own schedule at home by myself, free to run errands when I wanted without much hassle. 

At first, it was really hard. But, after some time I realized that maybe it’s a good thing that I was forced out of my routine so that I can experience other things. Do I prefer my routine? Yes, of course. But, I am now understanding that I don’t have to be so rigid. That I am completely capable of functioning without being strictly in that routine. 

I learned that I am now able to get in a workout at home in the afternoon if I can’t go to the gym in the morning or feel like I need to sleep in. Before, I was in the mindset that if I don’t workout early in the morning, there is no way that a workout is going to happen at all. 
Related: How/ Why I Go To The Gym At 5AM, 3 Tips for Early Morning Workouts

APPRECIATION FOR THE LITTLE THINGS

There are so many things that I have realized that I took advantage of, not even realizing how much I should be appreciating them.

Things like:

  • going to the gym
  • hugs
  • handshakes
  • running errands
  • toilet paper (lol)
  • going out to dinner
  • hanging out with friends/family
  • being able to be face-to-face with someone
  • getting my hair cut

These things that I once thought were no big deal are now something that I cherish. Since it’s all been taken away for a period of time, it carries so much meaning. So many things to be grateful for. 

I’m simply just appreciating all of the little things that I am now realizing mean so much. There’s nothing more powerful.

MOST PEOPLE ARE GOOD

Despite all the bad news we’ve been hearing and are used to hearing, I’ve heard some of the most amazing stories. 

Usually when you turn on the news, it’s full of bad news. But, I’ve heard amazing stories of people going out of their way to help others who are struggling, people are getting creative to make sure that birthdays and other celebrations are special. People are just going above & beyond to make sure that they are doing what they can to make sure everyone gets through this time.



During a time when things feel so crazy, odd, out of control- things have slowed down. Even though it’s uncomfortable, maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it’s necessary. Maybe this time to get knocked out of our routine and into uncomfortable situations is what we needed.

I’m hoping that when things start getting back to normal, we all start enjoying the little things in life. For the little things are what makes life so amazing.

What has this unprecedented time taught you?!

xx
jess

My Morning Routine During Quarantine

I made a prediction that we would start feeling the mental & emotional effects of the disruption of our day-to-day lives within 2-3 weeks. I made this prediction knowing that the anger & frustration would soon dissipate and turn mental. As a mental health advocate, I always want to make sure that I am doing everything I can to take care of myself & provide as much guidance to others that I possibly can.

I noticed myself struggling during the first full week of April. Ever since I went through my own experience with mental health struggles and depression, I have been able to identify my warning signs that something just isn’t right. 

If you know me or have been following me for some time now, you know that I turned to fitness and going to the gym first thing in the morning. I used my morning workouts for many reasons, including maintaining my healthy habits & keeping my mental health on track. 

With being forced to stay home and out of my routine, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t struggle to adjust to this new normal. That’s definitely true for everyone, right? 

Well, here’s the thing. We can’t control the current unprecedented circumstances that we find ourselves in, but we CAN control how we respond. I know this can be extremely hard because the pain that this whole thing has caused can seem to be so severe that it overshadows all of the positives that can come from this and all that you CAN indeed control. 

For me, my mornings are sacred. How I spend my mornings are extremely important for determining how the rest of my day is going to go & how I show up. One thing that I’ve missed since working out in the morning is my slow mornings to really just take it easy and ease into the day. I have more information in my posts on How/ Why I Go To The Gym At 5AM & My Morning Routine As A Young Entrepreneur Working From Home.

What I started noticing

  • unhealthy choices
  • increased anxiety & stress levels
  • bloating all over my body
  • low energy/exhaustion (needing to lay down and take a nap almost everyday)
  • creative blocks 
  • lack of motivation

So, I wanted to share with you how I have adjusted my morning routine based on what I have learned over the years. I’ve focused on what I am still in control of and utilized the knowledge that I have about what I need. 

I hope you find this helpful in creating a routine for yourself, based on what it is that YOU need!

GET UP EARLY AS USUAL.

One thing that I noticed to be important for me is waking up early in the morning. It’s just something that is important for my mental health & stress. I don’t handle sleeping in very well, especially during the week because it makes me feel rushed. 

I understand that it sounds a bit crazy to some people, but for me, I noticed that getting up at the same time as I would to go to the gym has helped. Instead of working out, I take it easy and let myself ease into my morning. 

I very much rely on time to myself to maintain a healthy mental health and being able to create that time to allow myself to have that time to myself has been very important. 

However, what I have noticed is that I started getting more and more exhausted for reasons that I am not sure of. This could be due to the fact that emotions and stress levels are higher, therefore I am feeling more rundown than usual. So, I have learned to listen to my body and let myself sleep in a little bit if I need to do so a couple days during the week. Not just during this time, but all the time! Your body will tell you what it needs and it’s important to listen and not get frustrated. 

GET RIGHT INTO THE SHOWER.

For me, I don’t feel like my day can really start if I don’t jump in the shower. My new routine included going to the bathroom and getting right into the shower to wake up and get in the mindset to get my day started. 

DRINK 24oz OF WATER.

When I go to the gym in the morning, I usually drink at least 16oz of water before I go to the gym and drink another 24oz-32oz while I’m at the gym. I would rely on that to make sure that I am getting in my water. Starting the day with water is incredibly important and comes with many benefits. 

Now that I don’t have the gym to rely on, I started making it a goal to drink 24oz of water right when I get up. Before I start drinking coffee and eating breakfast. It helps for many reasons, but I also always feel dehydrated and lethargic when I wake up anyway, so getting in 24oz of cold water upon waking up really helps with waking up my body and making me feel more energized and I notice that I don’t feel as bloated, plus I don’t get headaches like I would if I neglected getting in the water.

MEDITATE & JOURNAL.

After I get showered and drink most of my water, I go into the living room and do a 5-10 minute guided meditation and journal.

MOVE MY BODY.

When I don’t go to the gym in the morning, I always make it a goal to get in 1000 steps. I understand this might sound a bit bizarre to some, but I started pacing around the apartment or lightly jogging in place to move my body and start getting in steps. This doesn’t take long but it always feels so good to start moving my body right away. Not to mention, it always wakes up my body even more. I am so used to the treadmill really waking me up in the morning and doing this releases those endorphins that I am used to.

GET MY COFFEE & WATCH THE NEWS.

By this time, I’ve already been awake for about an hour and I have really taken the time to prioritize myself and I am feeling awake and ready to take on the day. So, at this point I will grab my coffee and turn on the news. 

One thing that I do miss since I have started working out in the morning is just relaxing and taking it easy before sunrise. So, I am really taking the time to enjoy being able to do this. I love just sitting on the couch and sipping my coffee. If I am feeling like it, I will grab my laptop or planner and get some work done.

BREAKFAST AT 6AM.

I do this until my boyfriend wakes up at 6am. We still eat breakfast at this time because he still has to clock in for work at 7am. 

MAKE THE BED.

After breakfast, I will make the bed since my boyfriend is up. I am definitely one of those people who has to make the bed in order to be able to get my day started. It’s like being able to immediately check something off my to-do list and makes me feel like I am already starting to get things done. 

GO ON A WALK AT SUNRISE.

I’ve started going on walks when the weather is nice at sunrise. It’s just another layer that I have added to my routine that I have found really helpful. It allows me to get some light cardio and also get some fresh air. 

By this time I start getting ready to tackle my workday. My workday looks a little bit different than usual, but I just take it a day at a time. 


I don’t follow this routine exactly everyday, but I have found these elements to be helpful in making sure that I am doing what I can to manage my stress and anxiety. Over the years, I’ve been able to learn about what it is that I need to manage my stress & anxiety. Using that information, I’ve been able to learn about what I am in control of and be able to focus on what I can start implementing to make sure that I am doing what I can to get through this. 

I hope you found this to be at least a little bit helpful. I know that it sounds a bit crazy to some people, but this was developed based on what works for me. It’s always important to make sure that you are adjusting your routine based on what works best for you. Maybe you don’t need such a structured routine and you are doing well sleeping in as much as possible. 

That’s OK! Just make sure you are focusing on what you are in control of and doing what YOU need to do to get through this. ❤

Related posts:
>> Self Care & Activities During Quarantine
>> Tips for working from home
>> Staying on track while stuck at home during quarantine

xx
-Jess

Staying on track while stuck at home during quarantine

We have all been forced into a new normal and adjusting to these changes can be incredibly difficult. Due to the amount of stress, overwhelm and other negative emotions, it can be really hard to continue to stay on track. 

We have been forced to stay at home and this new normal has made it difficult for all of us to adjust to a completely different normal. 

I have also found myself struggling to continue to stay on track because I have relied on the same routine for so long now, that I never even thought about having to come up with an alternative. 

There are a few tips that I am implementing to make sure that I am continuing to show up and take care of myself, rather than letting the stress completely take over and knock me off of my game.

It is incredibly important to continue to remind ourselves that we are still in CONTROL of how we show up for ourselves. Yes, these are very difficult times and I am in no way trying to sugar coat it and ignore the magnitude of this time. But, we have to continue showing up for ourselves and continue to do what we can to adjust & make the necessary changes to continue moving forward. 

It may not be the same as what you are used to- I know that this isn’t for me. However, I did want to share with you what I have been working on to make sure that I am continuing to show up and take care of myself & continue working towards my goals. 

I hope you find these tips to be helpful for you! ❤


Drink LOTS of water.

For me, I am used to getting in my workout first thing in the morning and starting off my day with about 40oz of water by 6am. Getting in my workout first thing in the morning has really helped in making sure that I start the day off right & I have been relying on that to make sure that I am making healthy choices. You can read more about my early morning workout strategy in How/ Why I Go To The Gym At 5AM, 3 Tips for Early Morning Workouts & My Fitness Journey | Choosing Yourself First!

With that being taken away for the time being, I have struggled with making sure that I am continuing to make those healthy choices. However, if you want to continue working on your progress & want to continue making healthy habits, getting in your water is VERY important! It’s always important and necessary for sticking to your goals and staying healthy, but this will help you significantly in making sure that you stick to your goals!

Right when I get up in the morning, I start drinking 24oz of cold water before I start drinking coffee and eat breakfast. Always, always, ALWAYS drink water right when you get up to jump start your system so you don’t start the day dehydrated. 

Then, make it a goal to continue drinking water throughout the day. Maybe you put a notification in your phone to chug water every hour or whatever it takes to remind yourself that you need to get in your water!

Pay attention to snacking when bored.

What I immediately noticed when all of these changes happened was that I was finding myself reaching for snacks more often throughout the day. Not only was I snacking more, but I was craving sugary & salty foods.

This is a stress response & it’s really important to stay cognizant about this because it will catch up to you very quickly. It’s important to create an awareness so you are able to understand when your body is under a stress response. It is very typical for us to immediately start reaching for those unhealthy snacks as a stress response.

While I let myself snack on unhealthy foods sometimes, I try to create an awareness around not making it a habit. Once made a habit, it can be really hard to break! Trust me, I completely understand that this is difficult to do, but this will be really important in making sure that you are not making this a habit.

When I notice unhealthy snacking becoming a habit, I try to instead reach for a bowl of fresh veggies instead.

Or, I will make a nice platter if I notice that I am really starting to crave unhealthy snacking!

Track food intake.

If you don’t have the MyFitnessPal app, I would definitely go download it and get in the habit of tracking your food throughout the day. Tracking your food will help keep you accountable and you will be more likely to stick to your goals because you are able to see everything you are putting into your body. 

I am personally not the biggest fan of tracking, but especially during this time, I am trying to make it a habit again. I keep mentioning this, but it is SO important to continue paying attention to what you can still control!

Try not to increase alcohol intake.

In addition to reaching for the sugary & salty foods during stressful times like these, reaching for the alcohol is another habit we typically get into. While I am really into reaching for a couple glasses of wine, it is important to make sure that you are monitoring this intake. 

I was getting into the habit of drinking 1-2 glasses of wine each night the first week we were in quarantine and I am making it a point to try not to do that during the week. 

Continue working out at home & getting creative.

Yes!!! Continue working out! I noticed that my energy & drive to workout started decreasing when I started feeling the stress & overwhelm. All I wanted to do was lay down and be lazy, but this only made me feel more stressed & on edge.

For me, my energy towards working out has completely changed. I am so used to going to the gym first thing in the morning and now I am working out at home at 3pm in the afternoon. 

My workouts at home are not nearly as long & intense as they normally are, but continuing to stay in the habit is very important! I’m starting to get into workouts that I wouldn’t do normally & it’s actually been interesting to test out the different things.

I started running stairs in the parking garage at my apartment & turning different furniture around the apartment as workout equipment. This takes some creativity for getting in workouts, but there are definitely options out there!

Practice Self Care.

I talk about this a lot & I think it is incredibly important to continue practicing self care, especially during these stressful times. When we get stressed, our self care can often be neglected, which leads us to struggling with mental health & sticking to our goals. 

I wrote a post on Self Care During Quarantine & also put together a guide if you would be interested in those resources. Practicing self care will ultimately help you with being able to prioritize yourself, helping you remain on track with your goals during this time. If you want any more self care ideas, I did also write a blog on The Importance of Self Care.

Practice gratitude.

Your mindset & what you choose to focus on everyday will play a major factor in how you get through a stressful time like this. When we are constantly focusing on everything that is going wrong & what we can’t control, it can create a heavy weight that is hard to handle. 

If you don’t practice gratitude yet, I would definitely consider starting a habit now, during this time of stress & uncertainty. If you already have created a habit, make sure that you are continuing to do so. 

I personally LOVE the Five Minute Journal.

I love this journal because it’s quick & gets right to the point. I’ve been using this journal for a couple years now and it’s really good for getting you in the habit of expressing gratitude.

Practicing gratitude will help you with your mindset & what you are focusing on everyday. Focusing what you do have and what you are still in control of. When you focus on what you still have & what you are still in control of, you are more likely to make healthier choices & be better able to show up for yourself!

Get outside when you can.

Fresh air can be incredibly helpful & therapeutic!

When stuck inside all day, it can be easy to slip into a mental funk. Try to make it a habit to spend at least 30 minutes a day outside breathing in some fresh air. Even going for a walk, run, bike ride, etc when you can! 

I always notice a difference when I take some time to get outside, especially since the weather is getting nice. There’s just so many benefits to spending some time outside!

Get into a routine.

While things have probably changed in your daily life, it is still very important to continue to get into a routine. Plan everything out & map out a routine that you can follow right now, while everything seems to be off centered. 

Getting into a routine will help with maintaining a sense of control & help you with making sure that you are prioritizing yourself & your health. I talk more about this in my post about Tips For Working From Home, if you need some more tips for planning your day!

Plan & prepare.

At the end of the day, it is incredibly important to make sure that you are continuing to plan your days to make sure that you are staying on track. Plan your workouts, plan when you are going to get outside, plan your meals, etc. 

The more you plan & prepare, the more likely you will be to continue tackling those goals! If you need anymore tips, I did write a post about My 10 Tips For Beating Bloat & Getting Back On Track that you might find helpful. ❤

give yourself some grace.

At the end of the day, we are all human. I’ve had many slip ups myself and I have to continue reminding myself that it’s okay at this time. I’ve drank a lot of wine, when I told myself that I wouldn’t. I’ve had many bowls of ice cream & other sweets. I neglected tracking my intake when I told myself that I wanted to make it a habit.

We are all learning & it’s incredibly important to make sure that you don’t beat yourself up when you don’t follow through with these daily goals. Tell yourself it’s okay. We are all human and we are all learning and trying to get through a difficult time!


I hope you found that list helpful! I know how difficult it is to have to completely changed your routine & what you know. Even if things have changed for you, there is definitely still some things that you can do to stay on track.

This time has forced us to have to think outside-the-box and get creative with our “new normal”. Sometimes, it can actually be a good thing to mix things up and try out some new things. Being forced out of what we know to start thinking & approaching things differently might actually be a good thing in some ways. Maybe you will be able to try out some new things that you wouldn’t have thought to do otherwise.

So, get out there and start really reaching for those goals of yours! ❤ What tips and strategies are you going to start implementing into your routine now?!

xx

-Jess

Self Care & Activities During Quarantine

We have all heard some really hard news recently. Lives & lifestyle have changed drastically over the last couple weeks and most people are stuck inside wondering what to do. Self care is always important, but they are especially important during these uncertain times. No matter what this pandemic has brought to your life, it is very important to continue practicing self care. 

I want you to continue taking care of yourself during this time, so I have pulled together a list of self care strategies, as well as activities to try out during this time. I talk more about this in my post about The Importance of Self-Care, but I wanted to pull together a list specially for this difficult time while we all are in quarantine.

Keep a Schedule

No matter what your work situation is, it is very important to keep a schedule during this time. If you are not used to working from home, it can be hard to figure out what your new routine looks like. However, it is important to continue to keep a daily schedule to get any work done and also for organizing any other things that need to get done. This can be planning out any activities to get done during the day.

Get up early

It can be hard to resist the urge to sleep in as much as possible if you don’t have urgent obligations you need to get up early for. Getting up early, especially if you have children at home and anyone else, it could be helpful in making sure you have time to practice your daily self care. How you spend your mornings definitely helps shape how the rest of your day is going to play out.

Always be reading a book

Being stuck inside all day for an extended period of time is a perfect opportunity to pick up a book and make a habit to read everyday. Maybe you incorporate this into your morning routine or night routine as a part of your self care routine. There are so many great benefits to reading and during a time at home in quarantine is the perfect time to include reading into your daily routine.

Some of my favorite books right now:

I have more books listed under My Favorites!

Journal everyday

Journaling is an activity that I talk about quite a bit and I think is incredibly important especially during these intense times. I talk more about this in my post about The Power of Journaling. We have all been processing some really hard news and our lives & lifestyles have been altered in many ways. It can be scary & you might be having a hard time processing & dealing with everything.

It’s very important to make sure that you are keeping track of your mental & emotional well-being. Getting everything out of your head and onto paper and trying to come up with potential solutions to whatever is going on. Now is the time to pick up your journal you’ve been thinking about starting to write in & start diving deep into your mental health.

Practice gratitude everyday

During hard times like what we’ve been dealing with, it can be hard to focus on the things that are going well because so many difficult things have been going on. All of the great things to be grateful for can be overshadowed by all of the chaos around you. Which, makes it all the more important to start practicing gratitude. Even on the days that it seems like the world is crumbling around you, there are still many things to be grateful for. This exercise can shift your mindset and calm stress. What you focus on is very important!

Practice Meditation

During this time, it is really important to be mindful. Meditation can be hard to get into & is often a practice that is pushed off to the side due to feeling unnecessary. Especially if you’ve been wanting to get into it but haven’t found the chance to give it a try, now is the time to get started. Our thoughts are all over the place with trying to process everything & it can be very hard to keep ourselves calm during a time of great chaos. 

There are several apps for guided meditation, most even have a free version available. Now is the time to start planning a time for mediation in to your daily schedule. Even if it means getting up really early or going to bed really early to get some time to yourself!

Use essential oils

Essential oils are really great for enhancing relaxation! I would recommend using an oil diffuser and have some relaxing oils diffusing throughout the day. Even having them going in the morning and at night before bed to enhance relaxation. The oil that I like to use is Pure Aroma because it comes in a package that contains allll of the oils that I like to use on a daily basis. I usually always have one package in my amazon cart because I know that I’m going to need a refill!

If you don’t have an essential oil diffuser yet, I would recommend getting one that comes with some oils to get you started, like this one. That way you can test out which oils you really like so you know which ones you would like to get a refill on.

There are even roll on essential oils that you can rub together on the inside of your wrists & on your chest. Breath in deeply and enjoy the aromas!

Feed your body healthy foods

During stressful times, especially with being stuck inside with the future of everything being unknown, it can be very easy to reach for comfort foods. While I think it’s important to indulge at times, it is also very important to be getting in nutrient-rich foods. 

We want to make sure that we are keeping our immune systems nice & strong and that starts with the foods that we are putting into our bodies. While it is important to get nonperishable foods from the grocery store, it is also important to continue to get fresh fruits & vegetables! Even stocking up on some frozen veggies as a healthier option. 

During this time, be mindful of what you are putting in your body!

Take your vitamins

I know I struggle with remembering to take my vitamins daily, but especially now, it is important to start taking vitamins daily. This is something that I am trying to work on as well because in addition to our diet, taking the necessary vitamins is definitely important in making sure that our immune systems are nice & strong!

Take a break from media & social media

Being cognizant about your time spent scrolling on social media is already important to monitor. But especially now, with all kinds of chaos going on & maybe being home a lot more, you might find yourself scrolling on social media a lot more. I know I have found myself scrolling on social media a lot more and it is definitely a lot to consume. 

Even if it means turning your phone off completely for a couple hours at a time for a couple times throughout the day. It is VERY important to unplug during this time. Dedicate time to completely turn EVERYTHING off & focus on a self care activity.

Do a deep reflection

I’m a big believer in the importance of reflecting to help with your mindset & how you are going to plan for moving forward. Especially during this time, it’s important to think about what this time of chaos, isolation & quarantine has done for you.

  • What have you learned during this time?
  • Has this changed your perspective at all?
  • How will you approach things differently from now on?
  • Has this changed anything for you when this is all over?
  • What do you want to do when all of this is over?
  • What are your goals, what does your daily routine + daily life look like to you?
  • What have you learned?

Make a vision board

After being in a time of deep reflection, it might also be a good time to put together a storyboard for your goals and potentially new approach to life. With everything that you have learned and been put through, maybe it’s a good time to really think about your vision & potentially new outlook on life. If you need some inspiration, there are many tutorials & inspiration on Pinterest & YouTube!

Get outside

Even during quarantine, it’s important to get outside and get some fresh air! Even if it’s just spending some time time on your front or back patio. Getting outside has always been on my radar, but now more than ever I’m making it a goal to spend at least some time outside. Even if it’s just sitting on my patio for some time. Leave the phone inside, close your eyes and taking some deep breaths. Observe your surroundings and enjoy just simply being in fresh air!

Exercise

Getting in exercise calls for some creativity for most people with gyms being closed. I know for me, my routine has been early morning workouts for a long time now. Even though it is more difficult, there are definitely many creative & resourceful ways to get in a workout at home!

  • Go on a run outside
  • Utilize the free resources people are offering online
  • Use any at home workout tapes you might have laying around
  • Get some equipment at the store if you want (like weights/bands)

I’m even using the staircase in the parking garage of my apartment complex to get in some cardio! I personally had a hard time getting into working out during the day since my routine has had to be adjusted. But, it is very important to get your body moving and get those endorphins released to keep your mental health (& physical health of course!).

Virtual Dinner/Coffee Date With Family + Friends

I know there are a lot of people out there who live by themselves and are really missing the connection with others. We are so blessed to be living in a time where we can do pretty much anything virtually! The next best thing to an in-person hang out is getting on FaceTime/Skype/Zoom. Schedule a virtual dinner date or even a coffee date!

Other Activities

  • Go for a walk
  • Have a movie/Netflix marathon
  • Coloring Books
  • Painting
  • Puzzles
  • Build forts in the living room
  • Make a list of recipes/desserts to make
  • Clean/organize the house
  • Turn on the music and have a dance party

I hope you found that list helpful for you! I know this time is very difficult for everyone, but I hope that you found this list to be helpful. I also want to provide you with a list of activities that you could try while in quarantine!

If this time has taught us anything, it’s to slow down & get creative! I know that this time is very difficult for a lot of people, but it’s really important for all of us to keep going and do what we need to do to keep going in our daily lives!


I understand how difficult this time is for so many people around the globe. So, I have put together a FREE printable Self Care & Activities During Quarantine Guide for you!

Click here to download the guide ❤

Be safe out there everyone!

xx