Since stay at home orders have been in effect, I have been to South Africa, Iceland, England, Italy (multiple times), Tennessee, LA, and Singapore, just to name a few...all without having to leave the comfort of my living room. Ok, but how? And what does this have to do with self-care? I’ll get there. But before I do, a peak into my journal from March 15, 2020 (the day before I began the quarantine):
“Ooof. This coronavirus stuff is scary; especially the thing about having to self-isolate/quarantine and stay home. I’m worried about the mental health of myself and others more than anything.”
I am not someone that can be described as a homebody. Staying at home for too long (before quarantine life) would drive me up the wall. Each day, I needed to have at least two activities planned for my son and I so we weren’t home. When the orders started coming out that we HAD to stay home for our physical health, I panicked because I knew this was going to go against my normal way of life.
I am always reading that, as a parent you have to make sure to take care of yourself in order to be able to take care of your child (which definitely translates to self-care.) On the self-care front, I was actually doing quite a good job on that pre-lockdown life.
I took yoga classes, made time for myself to write, saw friends, got manicures and pedicures, etc, all while my kid was with a babysitter. The common theme here was getting out of the house, though.
The first few weeks of quarantine threw me for a loop. I was consumed by guilt that I wasn’t doing enough for my son and also battling the anxiety that I feel from being home too long. Furthermore, we were living in a 23 floor apartment building in Queens, New York (aka the epicenter of the outbreak in New York) and we had minimal outdoor space. The news kept getting worse and I made the decision to relocate us to an Air BNB in Delaware (which is where we have been since March 29th).
At first, I only booked this particular Air BNB for 2 weeks. But when things still seemed awful back home, I knew I had to extend our stay here. It was because of this move and use of Air BNB, though that actually lends itself to the best kept self-care secret (although I’ve been pretty vocal about it on my social media) that I found during this quarantine.
When I logged onto Air BNB to extend our stay for the first time, something popped up that caught my eye. There was a sidebar for “online experiences”. Before the quarantine happened, I was familiar with Air BNB experiences that can be booked based on the location of trips that you take. For example, I was really close to booking a ukulele lesson when I was in Hawaii this past September that was offered through Air BNB experience. I didn’t, but I still knew the option to do these experiences was available through the site.
During this time where we are apart, but in this together, Air BNB rolled out virtual experiences from all over the world ranging from $1-$100 and are anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours long. Once you sign up for the experience for a set time and day, a Zoom link is sent to you to access the experience. Furthermore, you can sign up with your friends so you can do these experiences together, too!
Through this platform, I’ve done the following:
- Writing workshop(s) in LA
- A day in the life of a shark scientist in South Africa
- Learned about espadrilles (a Spanish shoe) and watched as ones were custom made for me in Barcelona (and will be shipped to me to wear forever as an amazing souvenir)
- Magic show where I learned some magic tricks of my own in England
- How to make homemade cosmetics in Italy
- Yoga retreats in Tennessee and Italy
- Sound bath meditation in Singapore
- Participated in a laughter yoga class in Lisboa
- Attended a concert in Iceland
- Had tarot cards read in Texas
- Drink and draw class in NYC and Portugal
I have done others, but these are the highlights. Also, these are just a sampling of what is offered!
There are so many other offerings on Air BNB like cooking classes, dance classes, drag queen story hours, and so much more.
My son has been involved in some of them (the day in the life of a shark scientist and magic show, for example), but the others are just for me. They give me the space to “travel” and step away into my own world for a bit. I wind up “coming back” feeling so much better. It’s self-care at the core. For the ones that my son isn’t involved in, I throw on an educational show for him to engage with and when I “come back” from my self-care trips, he has learned a whole repertoire of new songs from his “self-care” time with Blippi, Little Baby Bum, and Cocomelon. We’re both better with each other after these breaks. So cut yourself some slack and don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself during this time.
Also shower. Showering is wonderful self-care. It’s the one place my son won’t follow me because he is terrified of the shower (and unfortunately, this Air BNB only has a shower, no bathtub), and a shower is the only time during quarantine that I can be truly by myself.