The Best Self Care Tips for Stressful Days and Every Day with Morgan Marie Jones
With so much anxiety and stress surrounding us right now, it can be easy to let our self-care routines get put on the back-burner. This pandemic, and forced time at home, has shaken up our lives and made everyone feel out of control, and out of themselves. While it can be hard to prioritize taking care of yourself when there are so many seemingly-more-important tasks to check off your to-do list, self-care is an extremely vital piece of stress management, and coming out of every day with a more positive outlook and a healthier body and mind.
When it came to sharing the best self-care tips with you guys, I knew I had to reach out to my favorite lifestyle guru to give her insights into some useful, easy tips on how to better take care of ourselves and feel our best selves every day, whether we’re in quarantine or not.
There are few people I love following on instagram more than Morgan Marie Jones (@morganmariejones). She’s a real-life friend of mine, and one of the most generous, effervescent, kindest people you’ll ever meet. I’ve always been an energy person and Morgan’s energy is warm and open, positive, creative, compelling. She’s also an open book. If you follow her on instagram, you know this is true. She so beautifully shares her daily struggles with anxiety, stress, therapy, injuries and most recently, losing her job due to COVID – 19. But she also shares her beautiful travels, cooking, entertaining, marathon training, dog-mom-life, NYC adventures, and inspiration. On her blog, Curated by Mojo, you can find all of the above, and more. Morgan describes herself as ‘drawn to beauty’, and her blog is a reflection of everything beautiful she is drawn to in life – meaningful moments, treasures, photography, and places. She may be ‘drawn to beauty’ but there’s no doubt that the reason we all love to follow her, watch her daily adventures, and read her words is that world is drawn to her beauty – on the inside and the outside.
Here are Morgan’s self-care tips for creating a more fulfilling day, every day
Do something for yourself first thing in the morning.
A lot of what happens throughout our days is beyond our control. We receive messages from colleagues that trigger us, wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or are dealing with issues beyond our control in our personal or our professional lives. A practice that I adapted in the past year has been to do something for myself before looking at my phone. Sometimes that’s as simple as reading a few pages of my book instead of snoozing my alarm again, other times it’s a meditation or workout before starting my day interacting with other people. This sets me up for my day knowing that I have full control of my feelings and how I choose to act or interact with others. Doing this forces me to spend quality time with myself in the present moment without the distractions that my phone can bring me that can cause me anxiety.
Take a moment to acknowledge your feelings – all of them.
For as long as I can remember, I was scared of feeling pain, anxiety, frustration. I’m a people pleaser by nature, so I never want my feelings to be a burden to anyone else around me, and I feel that as a responsibility. It wasn’t until recently that I learned that I don’t have to involve others in my negative feelings to acknowledge them and feel them fully. As humans, we are wired to only share and acknowledge the feelings of joy, accomplishment/success, and love, and to avoid the other feelings like the plague. I don’t have to change who I am, because quite frankly, I honor the part of me that is a people pleaser as long as it doesn’t interfere with me feeling like myself, and by spending time feeling all of the feelings, and acknowledging them, I show up for others around me. It is when we hold things in that we begin to unleash those feelings on the people surrounding us. Each day I check in with myself at the beginning of the day and the end of the day. Sometimes it can be a simple thought when I wake up and before going to sleep, and other times it takes the form of a journal entry. Acknowledging our feelings is the purest form of self-care I can think of, and learning to honor all feelings has made me a better person for myself and for others.
Lean into – or figure out – what inspires you.
Recently I’ve had a lot of conversations with followers, friends, and family about creativity and inspiration. More than ever, I’ve heard people tell me “I’m just not creative – I’ve never thought of myself as a creative person”, which breaks my heart. Our society has convinced us that creativity means being artistic, having a great eye, or being able to create something aesthetically pleasing out of nothing. Wrong! Creativity takes infinite forms – being a great problem solver, thinking of different ways to help others, creating different approaches to things that are otherwise mundane, thinking of new ways to use ingredients in the kitchen to cook an amazing meal…the list goes on. The most valuable thing we can learn in life is what inspires us and what others come to us seeking. I feel most inspired when I am dreaming up new ways to create content and when I am creating resources for others. Some days, I am in the trenches of art direction, and other times I am brainstorming ways to foster my creativity to serve others. Start with the simple exercise of acknowledging your feelings – when are you feeling the most inspired to continue doing what you’re doing? And lean into that. Similarly, use this exercise to understand what you don’t enjoy doing. Once you find the things that make you feel most alive, allow yourself time to put towards it daily or weekly.
Celebrating yourself doesn’t need an occasion, and when I learned this, my life changed. I can be really hard on myself mentally, physically, and professionally. I create lists of things I need to get done, set goals for myself to achieve monthly, and constantly feel like I am wasting my time if I am not working on myself. While many of these habits can be great in moderation, they can also lead to burnout and anxiety. Thus, I’ve learned to celebrate all of my wins. On some days, that is simply getting through a day when I woke up feeling down or telling the people that I love that I love and appreciate them, and on others, that’s securing a partnership with a brand I’ve dreamed of working with for years. Whether it’s a glass of wine at the end of a long day (one of Jetset Christina’s favorite wines is always my pick), an purchase you’ve been dreaming about for months, or investing in a class or online workshop to help you take the next step towards what you love, all treats are welcome.
Treating yourself also works wonders when you are challenging yourself or taking a risk. Doing things for the first time can be scary, and even worse, is trying to develop a new habit like meditating or working out on a regular basis. When I am anticipating something or feeling vulnerable, I make sure I have a reward at the end.
PS – there are plenty of ways to treat yourself without spending a penny! Since losing my full-time job, a few ways I’ve treated myself are asking people around me (like my photographer boyfriend) to teach me new skills on my camera, having happy hour dance parties to Justin Timberlake in the living room, and baking a decadent dessert with things I already have in the pantry.
My entire life I took physical movement for granted, until I threw out my back last year and could barely get out of bed without being in excruciating pain for nearly two months. I never realized how amazing it was to be able to get a glass of water from the kitchen when I was thirsty, or to forget my phone in the bedroom and be able to go back and forth mindlessly. Working out has always been a part of my self-care routines because I know that it is often the most effective way to get my mind off of other things, and to release endorphins. Movement doesn’t have to mean sweating everyday or pushing yourself to workout when you don’t want to. Some of my favorite ways to move include taking walks while tuning into a new podcast, having a dance party in my kitchen, or doing a restorative yoga flow in my room before tucking into bed.
Write down your wins of the week.
I often have weeks at a time that fly by, where I look back thinking (1) I don’t know what I accomplished, but (2) I simultaneously feel like I was going non-stop mindlessly tackling task after task. Something I love doing, especially when I look back at my to-do list at the end of a week and feel down about not getting everything done, is to write down my wins. Maybe I didn’t cross off everything on my to-do list, but I did other things that I’m proud of instead, and those things are just as important. Just last week my to-do list included over 10 things related to housekeeping for my website and my brand, many of which I did not get around to doing and when I realized I only got a fraction of them done, I turned to the things I considered to be wins — going for a walk every morning, expressing my gratitude to some of the most important people in my life (if even by text), and writing more than I ever have to create meaningful resources for my community. It’s important to remind ourselves that we’re human, and it’s OK to not meet all of our expectations for ourselves at all times, but it’s especially important to check in with ourselves to remind ourselves of what we did accomplish, even if that wasn’t something that was a priority at the beginning of the week.
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