Self-Care During Isolation : 45 Easy, Free, At-Home Ideas


Practicing self-care during isolation will help you remain calm, balanced and focused as you navigate a world with COVID-19.


What’s The Deal with Self-Care?

a black framed quote which says, "The Grass is Greener Where You Water It"

When used correctly, self-care activities are the fill-your-cup things you do, reminding you of your worthiness, and bringing you enjoyment and fulfillment so you can move through each day feeling somewhat sane. Right now, that sounds like a luxury, am I right?

When the world feels off, it can raise difficult emotions to process. Unfortunately, we’ve not been taught how and, instead, are applauded for how much we appear to hold it together. We expect a certain level of “don’t-fall-apart” from others because being emotionally vulnerable and transparent is considered a weakness. So, as mommas, we feel pressure to keep the house running, and our kids safe and excelling no matter the circumstances.

That’s a lot of pressure for anyone, no matter how much of a superwoman they are.

Right now, we face a lot of blah circumstances. Of course, self-care during isolation can’t solve the panic or anxiety of a world-wide pandemic, but it can take the edge off and help you cope.

I hesitate to boast about the glory of self-care because, in recent years, it’s been shouted from fad-filled rooftops, becoming cliché and losing its power. Busy women think that taking 45 minutes on a Saturday for a pedicure is all they need when self-care is much more about creating a simple, consistent routine (and doesn’t have to cost money or require you to leave your house).

We really need to be talking about self-care during isolation, but not in the sense of lavish spa days or grooming habits. What we really need, in the midst of COVID-19, are easy, quick, and free things we can do at home that will help us restore sanity.

Here are 45 self-care activities you can do in 15 minutes or less with things you have on hand. While I can’t promise you’ll feel like a changed woman, I can promise you won’t regret it.

For Mommas with Very Limited Time

  1. Once the kids are in bed, find 5 minutes to do nothing but be completely and totally alone.a lighted candle on a table next to a white vase of pink flowers as a self-care during isolation strategy
  2. Do this full-body stretch (10 minutes) video.
  3. Open a window and light a candle.
  4. Vent to a friend in a text message.
  5. Give yourself a break and skip any daily chores (not every day, just every so often).

For Days You Want an Energy Boost

  1. Take a 15-minute walk.
  2. Sit in the sun for 10 minutes and soak in the vitamin D.
  3. Take up one of the offers on free exercise classes going on right now. Yoga Buzz has been live-streaming classes on Facebook regularly.
  4. Create a “quaran-tunes” playlist with upbeat music and listen to it
  5. Make it your goal to drink 10 glasses of water that day.

For Days You’re Wondering What you Want to do After Social Distancing Ends

  1. Create a bucket list.
  2. Research local classes and try a new hobby or find a new place to volunteer.
  3. Schedule the doctor’s appointments you’ve been putting off (even if you’re scheduling them for September).
  4. Start that book you’ve had on your nightstand forever.
  5. Do one thing that gets you closer to a goal you’ve made (or create a to-do list for it).

For Days You Desperately Want to Revamp Your House

  1. Declutter your junk drawer.
  2. Reorganize your pantry.
  3. Hang the pictures you’ve been meaning to hang.
  4. Switch out your winter wardrobe for spring/summer (and bag up anything you want to donate).
  5. Go through the boxes in your basement and start a pile for a garage sale.

For Days You Need a Mental Pick-Me-Up

  1. Create a gratitude list or start a journal. This one is what I’m using right now.
  2. Write a letter or send a card to someone you love.
  3. Write down a positive affirmation and tape it to your bathroom mirror or refrigerator.
  4. Change your phone wallpaper to something that inspires you.
  5. Create a social media post asking your friends and family about their favorite memory of you together.

For Days You Want to Connect With Others

  1. Register for a free Zoom account and set up a game night with friends.
  2. Download Marco Polo and use it with your people.
  3. Ask your neighbors to have a chat through your windows or in your yards.
  4. Call a family member, friend, or coworker and see how they are holding up.
  5. Paint or draw on rocks (something happy) to hide around your neighborhood for others to find.

Painted rocks on a wooden table

For Days You Need to Detox

  1. Make a healthy(ish) meal plan for the next week (using simple ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about grocery store issues).
  2. Go on a car ride alone, listening to YOUR music. 
  3. Take a bath (bonus points if you have essential oils or Epsom salt).
  4. Take a break from social media for the day.
  5. Set parameters around how much of the news you’re going to take in.

For Days the Stress Feels All-Consuming

  1. Download a free meditation app like Headspace.
  2. Sit down and drink a glass of tea (and do nothing else).
  3. Head outside and stand in the grass barefoot (it’s called grounding or earthing).
  4. Use your senses to calm you: sour tastes, cold sensations, and pungent smells help redirect your brain away from anxiety.
  5. Write down five ways you’ve handled stress well in the past (compliment yourself).

For Days You Can’t Get Away from Your Kiddos for Self-Care During Isolation

doodles on lined paper with a blue pen to practice self-care in isolation

  1. Color or doodle alongside them, but make sure you’re not drawing what they want. You’re not facilitating their coloring. You’re coloring on your own.
  2. Manipulate their playdoh or kinetic sand like a stress ball.
  3. Put a line of painter’s tape on the floor and have them line up their toys for a parade (it’ll buy you some quiet time and keep them busy).
  4. Plan a dream trip together.
  5. Have everyone write down (or tell you about) their best memory of the week, month, and year so far.

As you go through this list and try out different options, keep track of what you loved, so you can add it to your self-care routine. Each day, I complete several of these small tasks to get my brain and body aligned with how I want to show up in the world. I start with a gratitude list, then I color when my two go down for naps, and I find time to move my body each day (this time changes, and is something I have to be flexible on while my gym is closed).

But the key is that doing one of these things without making it a habit isn’t going to get you the results you want. While I know it feels hard to take on anything else at this point, this can truly change your outlook and help you stay more present with your kids, because you personally have something to look forward to each day. 

Take a risk and try the ones that speak to you. It’s a great list with several resources that can change your outlook, even in the middle of chaos. Gift yourself by practicing self-care during isolation now, and make it a habit so it can serve you going forward.