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4 Ways to Self-Soothe Without Self-Sabotaging: Life Advice for Challenging Times

In the midst of a global pandemic and lockdown, many people are finding themselves in a precarious state of mixed emotions dealing with uncertainty, anxiety, fear, depression and longing. How are you self-soothing yourself?

Mix in relentless boredom and you have a perfect recipe for endless hours of Netflix, bottomless snacks, daily naps, and free flowing wine starting about 4:00pm. I mean, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?!

Finding balance is frequently a struggle for people. Self-soothing can often accidentally slip into the realm of self-sabotage by overindulgence.

How do we lovingly care for ourselves in a healthy and nourishing way without going overboard during quarantine?

Here Are 4 Ways to Self-Soothe Without Self-Sabotage

Whether it’s to keep away the quarantine 15, reduce anxiety, keep the boredom at bay or to actually find a level of enjoyment during your time in isolation, here’s how to self-soothe without self-sabotage.

1. Be Like the Universe and ‘Planet’ Out

Without structure we can runamuck.

Aimlessly putzing around the house wondering hours later, what did I come in here for again? Losing yourself to Instagram just to have your smartphone inform you that your screen time is up 47% from last week. Thanks iPhone but, shut up.

Having a plan laid out will help you stay focused, organized, and productive.

Turn your Sunday into a soulful planning day where you sit down and plan out the week ahead so when you wake up on Monday morning, you feel organized and motivated to take on the day and week ahead.

Include your workouts, yoga practice, healthy meals, work tasks, and all the things you’d like to accomplish during your time in lockdown.

2. The Netflix Check-In

After watching three episodes of a show, Netflix will interrupt your viewing pleasure to inquire- “are you still watching?” During lockdown many of us are responding with a resounding of course, I have nowhere else to go! I’m gonna watch this entire series tonight.

The Netflix inquiry is a reminder that we too need to be checking in with ourselves. Do you really want to watch another one-hour episode? Or perhaps you’re ready to go to bed or take a bath instead.

Listen – we all need to be kind to ourselves and if you’re authentically not able to do more than sit on the couch and watch TV today, that’s ok. But if it’s becoming an every day thing, it’s time to reevaluate your motive as well as the impact it’s having on your overall wellbeing.

In Buddhism, the word for wanting and craving is dukha – which is also known as suffering – and we as humans try to avoid it all costs. Especially in an unnerving time, we can resort to actions that bring us some satisfaction to escape the discomfort.

Read: Buddhism and the Causes of Suffering

Before you watch another show, open the fridge for the 24th time, or pour that third glass of wine, PAUSE to ask yourself if you really need it? Or is it just your dukha talking?

Ask basic questions: Am I hungry? Do I need another drink? Should I put pants on today?

Compassionately listening to the answer is a great way to decipher if your actions are helping or hurting you.

The right answer is the one that comes from you being truly engaged and present with your needs: the needs of your physical body, psyche, and emotional cravings. Your self-awareness is key to your overall wellbeing and to keep your dukha from running wild.

3. Get Your Vitamin P: Pleasure

Pleasure is not a luxury – it is a necessity. The dopamine systems of our brains need pleasure to function properly. Make sure you plan for pleasure every day.

Pleasure comes in a variety of forms: a loving yoga practice, a delicious dinner you prepare for yourself, a glass of wine while watching the sunset, FaceTime with friends, lovemaking with a partner or solo, or a hot bath with essential oils.

Whatever brings enjoyment to your body, heart, and soul. The more conscious we are about including enjoyment the more satiated we feel. Which keeps the dukha in check and makes you feel satisfied.

Quarantine is a great time to read my new book 21 Days to Feeling Gorgeous: Finally Love the Skin You’re in and Be the Badass Goddess You’re Meant to Be to help you step into your power and truly thrive.


4. Let Your Spirit Catch Up

There’s an old story about explorers traveling through the jungle with the indigenous people. During their long expedition through thick vegetation and tumultuous waterways, the natives suddenly informed the explorers they must make camp and rest.

The foreigners were confused since it was midday and not their scheduled time to set up camp for the night. The natives said, we have been traveling so fast for so long and must stop to let our spirits catch up.

The men spent the next several days laying around and enjoying each other’s company until they felt reunited with their spirits and could continue on their journey.

Now is the time to let our spirit catch up.

Haven’t we been traveling so fast for so long that they’ve lost our spirit, losing touch with ourselves, our divine essence, and our innate nature? Now is the time to let our spirit catch up.

We have stepped off the hamster wheel of our busy lives having more time than ever to sleep, meditate, read, study, write music, paint and do any of the things we wished to do when we were too busy (even if that’s just taking a break from that constant busy-ness!).

Allow your body to recover from the daily wear and tear and enjoy simply being. There will be a time when the doors will re-open and life will start again. For now, let’s rest and let our spirits catch up.

Self-Soothing Is Essential, But Don’t Self-Sabotage

Self-soothing is essential during the pandemic to keep you feeling peaceful, at ease, happy and healthy. Now, you have the tools to keep from teetering into self-sabotage.

Most importantly, be kind and compassionate toward yourself right now.

Even if you forget to shower for three days or don’t get a darn thing crossed off your to-do list, it’s ok! You’re never been through a pandemic and you’re doing the best you can.


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Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith is an International Dating Coach, author and yoga instructor. The ‘Female Hitch’ is the host of the Game of Love Podcast heard in over 33 countries on all major platforms. Jessica also leads transformational yoga retreats around the world to help people step into their power and love themselves unconditionally.

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