5 Terrible Self-Care Ideas You’ll Have While Stuck At Home & What To Do Instead

I get it, I get it. We’re all bored. As it turns out, self-isolating is hard when you have to do it, as opposed to when you spend an entire weekend enjoying your alone time knowing you’ll see your coworkers again on Monday. The urge to do something, anything, to take your mind off the news and the fact that you’ve been wearing the same sweatpants for four days and still haven’t vacuumed your living room is strong. At this point I think we’re all just wishing we had plans to cancel. We wouldn’t cancel, because we’re desperate for face-to-face human interaction, but wouldn’t it be nice to have the option like in the good old days? 

Anyway, the good news is that even though we’re all stuck in isolation cells like a really bad, prolonged episode of Love Is Blind, there are a lot of options for self-entertainment. A lot of them also relate to self-care, which is also good—taking care of ourselves mentally and physically right now in any way we can is pretty imperative so we don’t slowly go insane. Speaking of going insane, even with the best intentions, general boredom and lack of social contact can be the perfect cocktail for some truly bad decisions. Here’s some advice on how to ward off the worst ideas you’ll have while in self-isolation, and some suggestions for alternatives that won’t involve you crying on the phone to your mom about how to fix bangs that are cut too short.

DON’T: Box-Dye Your Own Hair (Or Cut It, For That Matter)

A bad box-dye job can take a full color correction from your stylist to fix. If you majorly bleach or darken your hair at home right now and mess it up, it could be weeks (months?) before you can see a professional. And even if the color comes out exactly the shade you thought it would, you never really know how you’ll feel after that sort of major change. What if you take the towel off and see yourself as a brunette and hate it? Then you have to sit on your couch battling general anxiety and bad hair. Cutting it is, if possible, an even worse idea. Put the scissors down. You didn’t want bangs two weeks ago, and you don’t actually want them now.

DO: Try A Hair Mask

Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3

Instead of taking kitchen scissors to your forehead, try something that’s going to give you healthier, bouncier hair that you can post on your Insta story from your couch. For a mask that takes care of most major hair issues, you can’t go wrong with the It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask Deep Conditioner. Like the name indicates, it tackles everything from tangles to dryness or damage. If you like to wake up to super soft hair like a Disney princess, then Sephora’s collection of sleeping masks is a good choice. They have a range of scents and potions depending on what your hair needs, and they’re formulated to work while you sleep.

If you need something more intense, Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 is made for strengthening and protecting hair. And, of course, you can always make your own: honey, olive oil, and avocado make a rich DIY mask for conditioning, and I’m a big fan of adding a few drops of tea tree oil to everything because it’s great for clarifying. 

DON’T: Attempt A Major Home Reno Project

What if you bust a pipe or something? Never ideal, but especially not right now. The rule of thumb should be not to try anything involving power tools, or not messing with anything that, if broken, you can’t live without for the next couple weeks. If you get wild with a hammer and wind up with a hole in your wall or a cracked window, you’re 100% going to regret it.

DO: Spruce Up Your Space

Capri Blue Mini Jar Candle

Buy a new duvet cover, a candle, some decorative pillows, or anything relatively small that might help your space feel fresh and new. We’re all suddenly spending a lot of time staring at our living spaces right now, and a small change can be refreshing. 

Say what you want, but I’ve always been a big fan of the Bath & Body Works candle collection. They have a great range of scents whether you want to picture yourself on a beach in Tahiti or make your bedroom smell like you’re baking snickerdoodles. Anthropologie and Nordstrom also have amazing options for candles that smell incredible while doubling as home decor.

When it comes to bedding, reviewers swear by the Brooklinen Classic Duvet Cover as an all-around winner, and for budget-friendly options there are a million choices on Amazon. West Elm has gorgeous options, especially for organic or fair trade materials that will make you feel like you’re sleeping wrapped in a cloud. I love that the website has a whole page that compares all the bedding materials they use so you can choose for yourself what level of ultimate relaxation you want. For decorative pillows and basically any other home decor needs you can think of, Target is another all-around fav.

DON’T: Sleep With Your Roommate/Housemate

When you’re starved for human contact and you’re also drinking at every hour of the day because time has ceased to matter, you might look up from your third cocktail and suddenly see your housemate in a whole new light. They’re there, they already share your germs, and you’re quarantining together. It’s a love story waiting to be written, right? Wrong. This person may be one of your only sources of in-person interaction, and the last thing you want is to screw things up so badly with your last link to human contact by getting drunk and sleeping with them. Being stuck inside with a one-night stand/roommate sounds like actual purgatory, and you’ve also lost your drinking/movie-watching buddy because now you guys can’t look at each other without stammering, blushing, and having nowhere to run.

DO: Feel Free To Get Down One-On-One

SHIBARI Mini Halo

Now is the time to… explore your body. Already got a vibrator? Get another one. Dying for a distraction that’s both sexy and completely removed from the insanity of our current world? I can’t recommend the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward enough. It’s basically paranormal erotica featuring hot vampires, and it’s got a grand total of 17 books so far. If you love the TV show True Blood and wished the Twilight series had more sex, this is the series for you. Or if reading is not your jam, download Dipsea for access to all the sexy stories you could ever have time to listen to. And if you don’t follow the above advice, here’s how to fix things with your roommate once we’re all allowed outside again.

DON’T: Adopt An Animal You Aren’t Prepared For

I know they’re cute and you’re feeling lonely and the pull is strong. But adopting an animal, especially an animal like a dog or cat, is basically as much work as having a child. It sounds extreme, but it’s a great statement to remember when you’re watching kitten videos and thinking about how fun it would be to bring home a furry friend for companionship. If you live in a studio apartment on the 11th floor with no yard and you bring home a high-energy puppy just to realize you can’t care for it, that’s not fair to either of you.

DO: Help Local Or National Animal Organizations However You Can

Visit your local Humane Society or ASPCA website or Facebook page and donate, or see if they’re requesting specific materials or looking for foster parents. You can also search for local shelter organizations near you and offer to help out how you can. Definitely foster if you have the ability! It’s a great way to get some companionship for yourself while you’re stuck at home while also giving an animal a place to be safe and happy—without the full-time commitment of adopting. If that’s still a little too much for you to handle, get another plant so you can take care of something without the pressure of that thing having a face. 

DON’T: Drop Your Phone In The Toilet Or Bathtub Right Now

Maybe the only thing worse than this current state of quarantine would be the situation you’re in now, minus a phone or laptop because you can’t get to a store to fix it. So, watch out for your electronics. Little tip from me to you.

DO: Become A Luxurious Bath Enthusiast

milk + honey Bath Soak no. 08

It’s a hobby that will keep your hair clean and relax your mind, body, and soul. It really does it all. Plus, you can drink while you’re soaking, or you can read a book, or just be alone with your thoughts if you’re brave. And don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to take a bath these days that jazz up the entire experience and make you feel like you’re at a spa you can’t afford.

First things first, you need something to hold all the fun stuff you want to bring into the bath with you. I suggest ordering a bath tray like this one from Bed Bath & Beyond, which can hold a book, a glass of wine, and the waterproof vibrator you ordered from the list above all at the same time. 

When it comes to bath products, milk + honey makes super decadent products from scrubs to soaks that are all organic and made from hyper-clean ingredients that will make you feel like a bathtub goddess. I love Bath & Body Works Eucalyptus Spearmint Sugar Scrub for areas that tend to get dry or just need a little extra love. For bath bombs that are as fun to look at as they are to use, Lush has a big selection that are bright, playful, and come in different shapes, colors, and scents. For the classic bath enthusiast, some good old Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Soaks are the perfect addition to your tub. They’re cheap, easy to use, and they smell amazing.

And for afterward when you’re in a relaxation haze and you want to sit in bed with a face mask on and not move for a few hours, the Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Robe is an ideal choice for lounging. You’ll forget the fact that we’re in a pandemic when you feel like you’re in some sort of plush, sumptuous cocoon. 

The most important takeaway from any of these tips is that the goal is to hopefully reduce anxiety, help you relax, and stay human while we all ride this thing out together. We won’t be stuck inside forever, but for now, besides following the latest CDC recommendations, it can feel like there isn’t much we can do to control our own lives. We’re all just sitting on our couches, drinking wine, and complaining about this together. So just take comfort in that, and in the fact that you didn’t lose half your hair by trying to bleach it at home during a pandemic.

Images: puhhha / Shutterstock.com; Olaplex; Nordstrom; Amazon; milk + honey