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Former monk Jay Shetty shares ways to relax during self-isolation

Jay Shetty, a former monk who now lives in Los Angeles, walked Hoda Kotb through some ways to make self-quarantine easier.
/ Source: TODAY

Now might be the time to start a meditation practice.

Former monk Jay Shetty, now based in Los Angeles, spoke to TODAY co-anchor Hoda Kotb about the best ways to stay relaxed and sane during the coronavirus pandemic.

To start, Shetty advised that people try to re-frame the way they think about self-quarantine.

"I know a lot of people are feeling alone right now and in our language we only have one word for being alone, and it's called loneliness," Shetty said. "It sounds like a weakness. It sounds like we need company to be happy. But I learned that there's another word that describes this and it's called solitude. Solitude is the strength of being alone. It's where we become our best company."

1. Do one thing a day that makes you happy.

Shetty said that to embrace the feeling of solitude, people could try doing at least one thing daily that brings them joy, whether that's reading a book, learning something new, trying a new instrument or beginning a creative project.

Young artist woman painting still life picture on canvas in art-school
Engaging in hobbies or creative pursuits can make self-isolation easier. Getty Images

"I read some tweets that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while being in quarantine, so no pressure, but maybe it's a chance to get creative and induce your passions," he joked.

2. Brighten up your space.

Once you've changed the way you think about self-quarantine, it's time to change the space you're in. Shetty had three tips to make sure an environment was "inspiring and energizing:" change the sights, sounds and scents of the place you're in.

"Take a painting and make it the first thing you see in the morning," he said. "Surround yourself with colors and bright things that bring positivity ... Change the sounds that you hear. Maybe you can go to sleep listening to nature sounds or calming sounds. Maybe you can play music that you really enjoy throughout the day, that keeps your energy up. The third thing is change your scents. What you smell has a big impact on how you feel."

For extra relaxation, Shetty recommended lighting a candle with a calming scent, like lavender, or setting up a diffuser if you own one.

Festive candles
A diffuser or scented candle can help change your space. Getty Images

"You don't need to do a home makeover or anything like that, but it's really great to move around and change states," he said.

3. Try to meditate.

At Hoda's prompting, Shetty walked TODAY viewers through an easy, at-home meditation that can help people feel calm and grounded.

Start by placing your right palm on your heart and your left palm on your stomach, then breathe in for four counts. Breathe out for a count of more than four, then repeat the exercise.

"Breathe in calm, peace and stillness," Shetty said. "Breathe out any negative toxic energy and any anxiety."

After several repetitions of the exercise, Hoda said that she was feeling "kind of zen."

For more exercises with Shetty, go to his Instagram or Facebook pages, where he'll be leading guided mediations daily for the next three weeks.