Self Care in Trying Times

I’m not sure who came up with the phrase “May you live in interesting times.” But whoever it is, I’d like a word. Because honestly, it seems a bit like a set up! 

Especially over the last few years where it feels like the world moves from one crisis to another. Like before we’ve had time to absorb one shock, here comes another one. And that only covers what’s happening globally. It doesn’t begin to take into account our personal, individual struggles.

It’s easy to begin to feel powerless when you’re constantly coping. If you’ve noticed yourself becoming bogged down by these “interesting” times, it’s more important than ever to double down on protecting your mental health. And here’s the good news: mood follows action. Not the other way around. When you take steps – even small ones – to care for yourself, you remind yourself of your own strength. Here are some of my favorite ways to get back on track when it starts to feel like a lot. 

Calm your mind

The explosion of meditation apps is a pretty powerful indicator that many of us want help managing our minds. One of the best ways to protect yourself against overwhelm is finding ways to calm yourself down. (Side note: It only works if you’re the one telling yourself to calm down. Has it ever worked when someone tells you “you need to calm down”? Nope.) Whether it’s deep breaths, strapping on your walking shoes, or even hiding in the bathroom for a few minutes, find a few go-to ways you can stave off overwhelm. 

Exercise for relaxation

Sometimes you need to put on your comfiest loungewear, grab a pint of ice cream, and get lost in a binge-a-thon. It only becomes a problem when that is the only relaxation tool in your toolbox. When you pick up that tool one too many times, it has a way of feeling less like unplugging and more like fully numbing out. And remember the thing about mood following action. Any time you get up and move your body, in even the gentlest way, you experience a shift. It will make you feel better (almost) every time. 

Sleep tight

Sleep is an essential function that helps you recharge and refresh. Full stop. Without enough of it, your mood can plummet and your brain doesn’t function as well. If you’re not getting enough sleep, take a few minutes and figure out what you can do to prioritize your rest. I promise you: it’s so much more important than whatever you’re looking at on your phone. 

Reduce screen time 

…and speaking of phones, if you have little ones in your life, you’ve probably set some limits on their time in front of screens. But are you limiting your own? Too many of us are “doom scrolling” our way through the day and wondering why we feel down. One of the easiest ways to regain a sense of balance is by limiting your exposure to the world through a screen. 

Ask for help

I know, I know. As a strong, independent woman who’s used to kicking butt and taking names, seeking help can feel incredibly uncomfortable. But look at it this way: You can’t remain the strong, independent woman you are if you can’t make it through the day. Maybe asking for help looks like asking your partner to do all the dog walking for a week so you can regroup in the evening. Or maybe it looks like hiring someone for a few hours to help with something that will free you up for…whatever. Even ordering in food can take something off your plate. (Get it?) You really don’t have to do it all. 

If you’ve tried all of these techniques for self care – and maybe even added a spa day to the mix – and you’re still not feeling better, seek out a therapist, life coach or other mental health professional who can help you get on track. These are tough times indeed. But as tough as they are, you’re tougher. You got this. And you don’t have to do it all alone.

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