No matter who you are or what work you do, the feelings of exhaustion, depression and burn out are never fun. Pretty much everybody is familiar with the feeling of being too exhausted or feeling too low to bother taking care of themselves, at least once in their lives. A lot of people tend to ask the same question: “What can I do to make myself feel better? How can I ease these unpleasant feelings?”
It can be hard to think of ways to improve a situation, let alone do anything about it, when your body and mind just do not want to cooperate. During the times that we feel at our lowest, and like we can’t do anything about it; that’s when we need to give ourselves a little push. Self care doesn’t have to be anything complex or extravagant, there are many simple, easy to do things that we can do to pick ourselves up.
Number One: Nourishment
Even if you may not think it’s a big deal, I speak from experience when I say that it’s important to provide your body with the basic requirements. I have a tendency to skip meals and not drink as much as I should, which only causes me to feel worse. Even if it’s the only thing you can get yourself to do, make sure you keep yourself fed and hydrated. While it may not always improve your emotions or mindset, it will prevent you from feeling worse; such as getting stomach pains or nausea from not eating or drinking enough. Eating healthy is always the best and will give the best results, but it’s important that you don’t go without; even if what you eat or drink isn’t the best for you.
Number Two: Relaxation
Some people think practising self care means that one has to get up and be active, or do something big that can seem challenging, overwhelming, or even impossible. The truth is: Sometimes practising self care, means not doing much of anything at all. Especially if you’re one who is usually running around and on your feet constantly to get things done, sometimes the best thing we can do to help ourselves is to slow down; and allow ourselves to take a break. Taking a nap can work wonders for de-stressing, by giving the mind a chance to recuperate and heal. This can also be done by lounging in a hot bath, perhaps a bubbly bath, or using bath salts/bombs. Bathing not only refreshes and relaxes the mind, but it relaxes and eases tension in the body as well.
Number Three: Physical Care
Although one rarely wants to do these things when struggling with their mental health, it is important to keep up with caring for your body. Even if it’s the last thing you want to do, we feel better when our bodies are taken care of and maintained properly. Even the most simple of physical care tasks, such as brushing your hair or getting dressed; can help to improve your mood. When we feel taken care of, we feel better than when we feel neglected; especially our bodies. Taking a shower or bath, brushing your hair, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, or doing a little more difficult task such as exercise; can make a big improvement.
Number Four: Socialization
One of the best things you can do when you’re feeling low or upset, is to reach out to either a professional, or somebody you know and trust for support. Everybody needs help now and then, and contrary to what some people tend to think, there’s no shame in asking for it. Speaking with a professional can be the best way to improve or resolve a situation; as well as to find ways to prevent it from occurring again. If you don’t feel that you are ready or need to bring a professional into the situation to find relief, then turning to somebody you trust is the next best thing. Whether you’re asking for assistance with difficult tasks, seeking advice, or even just somebody to talk to who’s willing to listen; speaking with somebody can be one of the best ways to care for yourself when you need it.
Number Five: Little Achievements
It’s hard to get anything done when you don’t feel like you can handle it, or can’t find the motivation to do it. When tasks seem too overwhelming to face head on, the best thing you can do is be patient and understanding with yourself; take it one step at a time. You don’t need to take giant leaps in order to make progress. In fact, the best progress is made by taking baby steps; rather than biting off more than you can chew. When you’re in a low place, doing even the simplest of tasks can help you to feel by better; by making you feel as if you’ve achieved something; no matter how small. Whether it’s picking up your child’s toys, cleaning a dirty appliance, or organizing a messy drawer; every little accomplishment is worthy of celebration.
Number Six: Hobbies
I find that one of the best ways to help myself feel better when I’m in a low place that I call an ‘episode’ is to do something that I usually enjoy doing, even if I don’t want to do it at the time. If you can give yourself the little push you need to start, things usually go uphill from there. Doing anything that you enjoy can work wonders for improving your mental state, and even physical too; depending on the activity. Playing video games, reading, writing, coloring, watching movies or tv, and doing art are only some of the things that you could do; not only to entertain yourself or pass the time, but to pick yourself up. When you’re feeling low, turning to one of your hobbies can be one of the best, and fastest ways to help yourself.
Number Seven: Spiritual Care
Spirituality isn’t for everybody, and that’s okay. For those who are spiritual or religious in any way, turning to it for comfort and peace can be a huge help. No matter your religion, saying a prayer for your situation can lift the weight off of your shoulders; and bring peace knowing that the being you believe in is watching over you. Depending on your beliefs, reading your bible (or whatever the equivalent may be) can also bring a sense of peace, and a more stable/positive mindset. On top of these, I’ve found that meditation is one of the best grounding and calming tools that one can use; it is a marvellous activity for both stabilizing and improving one’s mindset, and mental health. The best method I’ve learned for meditation, is to use guided meditation videos; which are available for free to access on Youtube.
No matter what you choose to do for self care, as long as it is healthy, beneficial, and isn’t harmful to you; you should be proud of yourself. Celebrate every one of your achievements, no matter how small they are; or how silly it may seem. Even if you think something is small or insignificant, it can turn out to be a big and important thing; especially if you need it. Don’t be too hard on yourself, remember to tackle things one little step at a time; and don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way.
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