friday favorites, Spain, Work

Physical and Mental Well-Being During Lockdown

Here in Spain, we’ve been in mandatory confinement for 59 days! Until recently, we couldn’t go outside at all unless we were buying groceries or medicine. The restrictions are easing up poco a poco, and now we can take walks at certain times of day, and some businesses are opening their doors again.

All this time indoors has been predicted by some to lead to a massive mental health crisis. Remove people from their social lives and connections and everybody will go insane! Makes sense. However, my own personal experience and those of some of my dearest friends have told a different story.  As much as this crisis has brought up tough emotions and shifted many people’s social and financial landscapes, it’s also opened up a window of space and time for personal reflection and enhancement. I feel connected enough in my work and chats with friends, at least for now. I’m also maintaining a healthy routine to keep my mind busy and to not spend hours surfing all the Instagram accounts of the La Casa de Papel actors, for example.

Here’s a little peek into what my days look like.



Here’s what I’m actively doing every single day to manage my energy and time.

Stay organized

I make a hand-written to-do list every morning in my Alhambra-patterned journal. It includes work-related tasks but also things like “eat fruit” and “drink water” and “sit in silence.” These days my water is infused with things like strawberry or lemon and mint leaves.

Stay active

This is really Groundhog Day-esque, but I actually do the same two exercise videos every day. Only recently have I changed up the routine to add a couple of harder workouts twice a week. Xuan Lan, a Barcelona-based yoga teacher, has gained massive international fame during the crisis and I’m just one more fangirl. Her workouts are fantastic and easy to follow. I’m so much more flexible than before and I can do a headstand now!

True story.


I also follow María Martinez’s cardio videos which get my heart pumping. Here are the two workouts I do every day. I sprinkle in some pushups and situps to work on the muscles.

Plan finances on YNAB

I’m a budgeting nerd! I even tell my English students about my favorite software, You Need a Budget. It’s kept me on track for the last few years and now with  a more variable income, I’m relying on it to put aside an emergency fund for these uncertain days. While I may not be spending much at all, I’m researching how to best allocate my budget to small businesses with sustainable products.


Read & Learn

I had made a goal for myself to spend this time learning new things, but with the amount of work I was doing up until recently, I didn’t get started with that. Fortunately I’ve been able to work a bit less the last two weeks and have more time for my own development, so I’ve started learning Adobe Premiere Pro. Love!

I’m also trying to keep the news to a minimum and fill my mind with different ideas. As per usual, I’m reading a lot of nonfiction. These are the books I’ve read (or am working on) so far:

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

I was really impressed by this book and how deep it dives into people’s inner motivations and fears.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Kind of heavy on the morals. We get it, don’t be vain. Still an interesting read.

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday

This is a must-read for 2020.

The Enchiridion by Epictetus

This one and the next one are recommendations from Ryan Holiday.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

I haven’t finished this one yet, but I’m working on it.  Perspective on how humanity really hasn’t changed all that much in the last 2000 years.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

This was a re-read for me, but a reminder of how to think outside the box to grow your income.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

A classic I finally got around to, tough to get into at first but well worth the read.

Superficiales: ¿Qué Está Haciendo Internet Con Nuestras Mentes? by Nicholas Carr

(In English it’s called Shallows) Admittedly I haven’t come close to finishing this one yet. But the interesting tidbit I’ve learned so far is that hyperlinks in text actually deter our brains from remembering information we read, due to the fact that seeing a link makes us think -even if for just a millisecond – whether we need to click it or not.

La Vida Imaginaria by Mara Torres

Spanish chick-lit about a woman’s thoughts after a tough breakup. Easy to relate to.

The Old Money Book by Byron Tully

This was also a re-read. Solid finance advice from the upper class.

Old Money New Woman by Byron Tully

Finance advice directed toward women.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

What a woman! I’m still finishing it, but she’s such an admirable person.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma

A fable-style story of how to get out of the rat race and live your best emotional life. This is the book that reminded me to prioritize silence and solitude every day (thus it goes in my to-do list!)

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Another finance one – told you I’m a nerd! Still working on this one. It has A LOT OF CAPITAL LETTERS.



I also try to listen to some music every day to help me focus and lift my mood. Soon I’ll be adding Brene Brown’s podcasts to my to-do list as I hear they’re wonderful. In the meantime, here are two Spotify playlists I’ve been enjoying.


I realize all this sounds like what pretty much everyone else is doing – minus learning to knit sweaters and bake bread from scratch. What are you doing to stay healthy?