|Posted on September 4, 2015 at 10:55 AM|
Whether it’s a day that’s been particularly stressful, a series of events that suddenly pile up, or a chronic illness that just seems like too much today, it’s important to have options to make life more manageable. As you might tell from the name, self-care is a method of taking care of yourself! It’s not an elaborate plan, just a list of options that you can do to make yourself feel better. For those days when you’re sore, tired, achey, or just plain feel like you can’t even, here’s some little things that you can do.
1. Have a hot drink
Tea isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, and the caffeine in coffee can make some people feel even more stressed out, but any kind of hot drink can be soothing. Plus it’s a good way to hydrate! Not enough water can lead to headaches, lack of concentration, and a working memory that isn’t fully functional – which means anything else you’re doing becomes infinitely more difficult. Some of my favourite hot drinks are honey citron drink, hot chocolate, or heated apple cider. Also check out Wikipedia’s en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hot_beverages.
2. Go for a walk
This is a classic way to get your consciousness thinking about other things. If you’re stuck on a problem, walking forces you to physically distance yourself from it and gives you space to think. If your neighborhood isn’t ideal for walking, you can pace your flat, or go to a park nearby.
3. Take a (short) nap
The incubation theory says that sleeping on a problem can help your mind relax its constraints and think about the problem in a new way. Whether you actually dream up a solution or not, a 20-30 minute nap can recharge your brain, clear out toxins, and leave you feeling ready to tackle the problem again from a new angle. A word of warning if you choose this approach, do remember to set an alarm – self-care should be something that prepares you to do other things, and if you sleep away the afternoon you could wake up feeling even more stressed!
4. Write it out
Keeping a diary isn’t something that works for everyone, but jotting down your feelings or thoughts on a piece of paper can be a way to clarify what exactly you’re feeling. Free associate with the things that are bothering you – why are they bothering you? What about this situation is overwhelming? Is there something that you do can to solve or manage this with the right steps? If not, what are some things in the present that you can do to make it less harmful to your mental health? Check out our last post on harm reduction for some ideas.
5. Get in touch with a friend
I talk to my friends through so many ways that it’s easier to say “communicate” than anything else! Whether it’s a snap on snapchat, a Facebook message, or a good old-fashioned phone call, it can be great to get in touch with someone who knows you really well.
6. Take a stretch break
There are so many easy stretches to relieve tension, which also can reduce stress! Because physical symptoms can be misinterpreted by the brain and attributed to the wrong causes, tension in your body can make you feel more stressed than you actually are. Get up! Lean down and reach for the floor, then lean back and reach your arms behind your head. If you can, sit down and stretch out anything that feels tight or sore. Give yourself time! Don’t rush it, take 10-15 minutes to really get into it and feel the results.
The most important part of your self-care is that it’s tailored to YOU! I’m more of an introvert, which means that even though I love being around people, I recharge by being alone (meditating, reading a book, going to the park). For extroverts, recharging can come from being around and engaging with others (talking, dancing, cuddling with a trusted person or a pet). It’s all about what’s right for you and your head.
Also, try to come up with self-care that you can do the moment you need it. While getting a massage is a great way to relax and de-stress, it’s hard to get yourself out to a massage place when your head is spinning! Try and think of 5 easy things that you can do wherever, whenever.
What do you think of our list? What’s on yours? Let us know in the comments!
[Inspired by everydayfeminism.com/2015/02/self-care-101/]