What is self care? That is a broad question, but I tend to think it encompasses listening to your inner voice to recognize your own needs and then, in-turn, processing those emotions constructively. Something that requires constant maintenance. An ever fluid situation that is often influenced by the things happening around us. We all know how loco 2020 was, but loving yourself is never out of date! If you find quarantine has taken a toll on your sanity and your patience, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
It has almost been a year…everyone has had a quarantine birthday, it all sucks. Some have run the gambit on emotions. But the one thing I think is, that anyone with a sense of personal awareness, has realized things about themselves. What they like, and don’t like. What they have the power to control, and how they deal with stress, boredom, and loneliness. There’s a number of frustrations in the world at this moment, and it can get overwhelming. It’s important to take care of ourselves, not just physically, but mentally too.
Sometimes my mind goes to a dark place. I think that is common for a lot of folks. The trick is not letting yourself get stuck in that mindset. It’s challenging to break routines, and having reoccurring negative thoughts is a form of routine. How does one change they way they think? Here are some of the ways I like to disrupt my own thinking patterns and snap myself out of a funk…
1. SUDOKUS. Your brain needs a workout too. These are far ess frustrating then a crossword puzzle and are a fun way to keep your thinking skills sharp.
2. TAKE WALKS. It’s truly amazing what just a little change in scenary will do. Walking allows you to take in a lot more visual ques that stimulate different areas of the brain. Not only is it a beautiful distraction, but walking in nature is great for all your senses, sort of flooding your receptors with information… subconsciously redirecting your thoughts. You can always add your headphones to the mix an listen to some of my favorite songs, but it’s often nice to hear the sounds of wildlife to really make you feel alive.
3. COOKING. No matter your skill level, thanks to the internet, pretty much as long as you can follow instructions, you can put together a fabulous meal. Cooking is a great way to engage your brain because there is typically a lot of multitasking & planning involved. From researching a recipe, sourcing ingredients, to chopping/measuring and then actively cooking. Cooking also offers the ability to include others in the process, from children to a group of friends/family. The great part about cooking and mental health for me is the process forces me to focus on the task at hand, rather then any other randlom thoughts. Then once I’m finished making something, I feel a sense of accomplishment usually immediately followed by satisfaction. Like, legit, I made this awesome tasty thing, oh hell yeah!
4. CALL PEOPLE. This might sound like a gimme, but it’s something we all take for granted. Reach out to that childhood friend, bestie from High School or a favorite old co-worker. These calls are great as they bring nostalgia, but also a sort of talk therapy that happens when you let the conversation free flow.
5. DRINK WATER. It really is one of the fastest, most natural energy boosts. Often times we don’t even realize we are under hydrated until it is too late. Make sure your body is getting enough of the basics, we are made up of 60% water, so that’s pretty important. I know I always feel a sense of accomplishment after a chug a 16oz glass. Want a cheep rush? try it!
6. VITAMIN B. Don’t for get to take your Vitamins! B is a great place to start, and feel free to add others, but if you only do one, vitamin B complex should be it. Great for a natural energy boost and helps with hangovers! Heads up, if you have never taken these before they will turn your pee bright yellow, but that’s normal. These have been a staple in my daily regimen for the last 7 years.
7. BREAK STUFF. *Got an old pillow? Rip it to shreds. Just don’t let your dog see you do it. *Random old, broken appliance tucked away in the garage or the basement? Go full Office Space on that bitch. Have the home demolition project that you have not tackled yet? Now is the time to throw that sledge hammer around. Another idea, visit a thrift shop/ secondhand store, buy some china, flatware, plates, ect…put on some tunes, start dancing and throw plates on the ground. The Greeks do it, OPA! Bonus points if you throw on a little Limp Bizkit while you do it!
8. DIY SPA DAY. I’m a big advocate of these. Run the gauntlet of all the pampering or pick one task and lean into it. Face masks, bath bombs, scented candles, paint your nails, cucumber slices on your eyes, soak in a hot bath, conditioning treatment for your hair, coconut oil moisturizer treatment for your skin…just to name a few!
9. MAKE A PLAYLIST. Again, on of my favorite things…but this time, the focus is on the act of creating based on feelings. It’s a sort of music therapy combined with nostalgia. Listening to the different songs takes you down memory lane and once you build the playlist, it’s one more tool in your arsenal against *those days* as music has been scientifically proven to have an impact on our moods. I have playlists for all the occasions…crying, angry, relaxing, uplifting. While I don’t listen to them all that often, I constantly add to them.
10. SELF IMPROVEMENT. At the end of the day, the only thing we can control is ourselves. Internal reflection is healthy, but can be tricky waters to navigate. One of my favorites books, called “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz has been the single most impactful guide I have come across so far, which is why I revisit it every so often to keep it fresh in my mind. A short read, even faster listen, this work focuses on the individual, and how we ourselves influence our worlds.
While seasonal feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness may be temporary, they can feel overwhelming. If you, or someone you know is struggling, don’t be afraid to explore and reach out to any or all of these resources:
- The Suicide Prevention Hotline. Call 1.800.273.8255 for 24/7 confidential help, free of charge. Services are available in English and Spanish.
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. A very detailed and elaborate website with a wealth of information, resources and support systems.
- Suicide Prevention Resources Center. A search page that allows you to quickly filter down to the services offered and available in your specific area or any location.
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