It's Been a Long Year—Here's How Our Wellness Routines Have Changed


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A lot of us have spent most of this year social distancing, wearing masks, working from home, attending "social gatherings" over Zoom… 2020 is definitely one for the history books, and I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. We've had to face COVID-19, hard truths about racial injustice, and a contentious election season.

All of this has really done a number on so many people's mental health. You might have experienced feelings of loneliness, anxiety, depression, and despair. It hasn't been easy for everyone, and we've all had to find ways to cope.


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And because it's been a fraught year, 2020 has really emphasized the importance of mental health and how it has a huge effect on our lives. Taking care of your mental health and taking care of yourself go hand in hand. Self-care and personal wellness don't have to be selfish because if you're working on yourself, you can have the energy to help others and fight for the things you care about.

Before all of this, you might have had a specific self-care or wellness routine that you leaned on to help you get through hard or stressful times. Maybe you went to a weekly yoga class, or you might have seen a therapist in office. Maybe you had self-care rituals with friends, like monthly book clubs or hiking.


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Well, that's probably all changed this year because of COVID-19 and social-distancing guidelines. And you might have found that some of your regular routines aren't serving you the same way anymore due to changing emotions or circumstances. So we've had to get creative and change up our practices. We've had to find new rituals or things that could provide support.

Since I've been quarantining alone, I've definitely had to change some of the practices I've leaned on, and I've even had to increase my self-care time, too. I was interested to see how my colleagues have redefined their self-care habits during this time. They shared their thoughts below—maybe it might inspire you to rethink how you've been taking care of yourself. And we'd love to know how you have changed your rituals during quarantine. Want to share? Send us a DM or comment @thethirty.

Keeping a Journal


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"It's sort of ironic that as a writer I don't keep a journal, but that has changed during this pandemic, and I think it will be one of those self-care habits I actually stick with long-term (fingers crossed). I've gotten really into manifestations this year thanks to the spiritual TikTok community—such a 2020 statement, I know—and have started writing down things I want to manifest in all areas of my life as if I already have them. I also reach for my journal in the mornings to write down a list of five to 10 things I'm grateful for. I don't do it every single day yet, but it has really helped me to put things in perspective and change my attitude on what's been an objectively difficult year." — Anna LaPlaca, Associate Editor, Who What Wear

Taking Up Sewing


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"I find that, with working from home, there isn't as much built-in interruption from screen time with no traveling to and from work or after-work meetups. I can easily go from all day in front of a computer to the TV at night. To help break up the screen obsession, I've found taking up sewing to be a form of self-care. Using my hands to create something feels refreshing compared to the digital world of my work. If sewing sounds intimidating, rest assured I am a complete beginner. I got started by purchasing a digital download pattern on Etsy (I like the pouches from Molko) and a beginner sewing machine. I have the Singer Start 1304. I also like that through this self-care I can make gifts, like the zipper pouch pictured, to help nurture my relationships, something that's important in this time of physical distance!" — Kat Collings, Editor in Chief, Who What Wear

Leaning Into Nostalgia


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"I've been taking so much comfort in reveling in all the vintage TV shows now available on Netflix. Productivity experts would probably cringe at the thought of watching TV first thing in the morning, but I've been indulging in an episode or two of Sister, Sister or Smart Guy in the mornings for a wholesome little brain massage as I sip my first cup of coffee. It's nice to settle into the day with something that reminds me of simpler times and that makes me belly laugh!" — Courtney Higgs, Associate Beauty Editor, Who What Wear

Trying Mental Exercises

"In the beginning of quarantine, I definitely was a little rough on myself while adjusting to being at home. To make some better changes, I started with going to sleep with Headspace's sleep meditations—which have been the best way to sleep early for me, as my sleeping schedule has not been the best! I also picked up a DBT book that I try to slot time for every other morning. It's essentially a mental health workbook where I write responses to prompts and learn some new mental exercises based on each chapter. It's always a good and mindful start to my day." — Yusra Siddiqui, Assistant Market Editor, Who What Wear

Practicing Gratitude

"I'm all about self-care these days. I use the time I once spent commuting to work each morning either journaling or listening to a podcast while taking a walk around my neighborhood. When I can't think of what to write about, I'll just jot down a few things I'm thankful for that day, and I swear it puts me in a really good mood. Confirm with my friends, but I think starting my day this way makes me a much more enjoyable person to be around, too." — Michaela Bushkin, Senior Fashion Editor, Branded Content

Adopting a Pet


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"There's something I already knew about myself that became even more clear while sheltering in place: I don't know how to practice self-care without multitasking. I can't seem to shave my legs unless I'm also doing a hair-mask treatment. My nails will not get painted unless I have a TV show to watch. I spend too many days without seeing the sun if I don't have an explicit reason to go for a walk other than the fact that going for a walk is a very healthy thing to do… It's just not a 30-minute HIIT video, you know? So in the name of getting more vitamin D, I did what any reasonable person would do: I rescued a dog. Okay, I didn't just get a dog to increase my steps, but I'd been telling myself for far too long the time wasn't right until I finally realized the timing is never right for a lot of things. Adopting my dog was really my way of embracing what I was longing for and getting responsible enough to make it happen. I'm not just going outside more—I spend significantly less time on my phone and significantly more of my day smiling. I'm not here to tell you to adopt a dog (even though you should do that, too). I'm just here to say, don't sleep on your desires, whatever they may be."

Aralyn Beaumont, Copy Editor, Branded Content

Focusing on Simple Self-Care

"Like many others, back in March, I was focused on maximizing all the newfound time that I suddenly had. I baked numerous loaves of banana bread, took up lofty crafting projects, and signed up for every streaming fitness app available. Then, days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into… seven months and counting. It's safe to say that since then I've let go of some of my more ambitious quarantine plans and, most importantly, made peace with just taking things one day at a time.

These days, simple acts of self-care, like making myself a frothy matcha latte every morning or taking the time to do my skin and bodycare routines, are some of the things I look forward to the most. If only I can stop myself from doomscrolling on social media long after work hours. Baby steps!" — Candice Aman, Social Media Editor

Practicing Meditation

"I've taken this time at home to do some inner work and self-reflection and to carve out some "me" time at the beginning and end of every day. I've gotten into a routine of waking up and meditating for 10 to 15 minutes before looking at my phone. I've never been one to meditate, but I've made a point to work on my practice, and I've grown to really enjoy it. I've tried a few guided apps, but I've found the Unplug app to be the best option for me. It has a great range of meditation focuses and varying times so I can always find something that speaks to me each day. I got sick of sitting on my floor, so I recently invested in a meditation pillow, and it's made a huge difference in comfort and, thus, focus."

"After work, I go on a walk to decompress for the day and reset for the evening. I usually pick something lighter to listen to so that my brain can just shut off for a while. My personal guilty pleasure is Jeff Lewis Live on Sirius XM, which is basically the polar opposite of my morning zen vibe, but it's all about balance! I basically live in bike shorts now, and side pockets have become essential for when I walk. I'm currently coveting these from Shopbop." — Alexandra Flowers, Analyst II, Commerce & Content

Taking Baths

"I used to think baths were totally pointless, and they never felt really relaxing to me, but now, I've gotten into them during quarantine. I just realized I wasn't using the right bath soaks! I'm a fan of relaxing CBD bath products—they're just so helpful with calming my racing thoughts and anxieties. I like to take a bath at least once a week, listen to music or a podcast, close my eyes, and just try to use that time to still my mind. It's one of my many self-care rituals." — Sarah Yang, Managing Editor, THE/THIRTY

Next up: 30 Books That Made Our Fall Reading Lists


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.

Managing Editor

Sarah is lifestyle writer and editor with over 10 years of experience covering health and wellness, interior design, food, beauty, and tech. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended New York University and lived in New York for 12 years before returning to L.A. in 2019. In addition to her work on THE/THIRTY and Who What Wear, she held editor roles at Apartment Therapy, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and The Bump (sister site of The Knot). She has a passion for health and wellness, but she especially loves writing about mental health. Her self-care routine consists of five things: a good workout, “me” time on the regular, an intriguing book/podcast/playlist to unwind after a long day, naps, and decorating her home.