Life got you down? If it makes you feel better, you’re not alone. There have never been more reasons to feel stressed and overwhelmed than in this era of the pandemic. And, it has never been more important to take care of yourself, so you don’t implode. Identifying specific self-care strategies that quickly get you back on your feet is the ticket.
But first, you’ll want to be convinced that the benefits of self-care will out-weigh the adverse effects of stress, anxiety, tension, and strain. That way, you’ll quickly recognize a situation that requires your attention. Plus, you’ll become committed to sticking with a self-care plan that works for you.
Next, you’ve got some choices to make. And a list to create.
Deciding what techniques work best will help you to work through, and out of emotional exhaustion, mental burnout, and feeling spent physically. Being prepared with “go-to” self-care ideas will equip you to manage any situation.
Then, the next time you get anxious about something, you can pause and regroup. Which of your favorite self-care strategies can you engage in to ease the worry and relieve the stress?
On your list, include things you can do in five- to ten-minute breaks to satisfy the urgent needs. Also, be sure to think of suggestions that will offer deeper relaxation when there is more time.
To get your thought-engine started, I offer you these recommendations:
11 Self-care Strategies
When You Only Have a Short Time for a Self-care Practice
1. Take a funny-break. One of the best remedies for stress is to laugh. Find a blooper reel of your favorite sitcom and watch for five minutes, allowing yourself to laugh hysterically. Afterward, take a deep breath, drop your shoulders, and go back to the challenge at hand with a new perspective.
2. Take people-break. Sometimes people can push your buttons. Instead of pushing back, excuse yourself politely, and do something to break the tension. Refer to #1 as an example.
3. Make a list. Often you need self-care strategies that help manage your time, reduce the overwhelm, and relieve worry about what to do. Prioritizing your to-do list can help. Making a list of options for dinner during the week may ease the pressure of deciding at the last minute. Is there a list that will help you?
4. Start a health log. Being mindful of what you do to keep healthy brings peace of mind. Keep a record of everything you eat, so you consciously practice good eating habits. Monitor your activity, too, and pay attention to how it makes you feel. This self-care idea takes just a few minutes and keeps you on track with your health goals.
5. Notice something beautiful. As if you are seeing it for the first time. Focus on the flower or bird as if looking through a child’s eyes with wonder. What do you see that you’ve never noticed before? Next, be grateful for the revelation. This self-care practice takes only moments and can take you far-far-away for just long enough to smile and reset.
When Deeper Self-care Strategies Are In Order
6. Turn off and tune out. It goes without saying that there is a lot of noise in our daily lives. And, much of it is of little benefit to our well-being. Consequently, taking a conscious break from the clatter makes sense. The quiet time allows you to recharge and refresh your spirit. Take a breather, meditate, listen to music, take a walk.
7. Do what brings you joy. This self-care idea could be one of your lists from #3. What are the activities that make you happy, relaxed, and joyful? Schedule time at least once a week to participate in one of these activities. Engross yourself, so time stands still. Yet when you finish, it will feel like it has flown. It’s a perfect stress-reliever.
8. Find new favorite books and movies. Keep it light. Another list you can start so you are never at a loss for a happy-ending story. Paying attention to another storyline, instead of the one you’re living, gives you a much-needed brain-break.
9. Create new routines to revitalize your life. Rituals help to keep you balanced and moving forward. However, repeating the same ones day after day can make you feel like you’re in a rut. Changing those practices may spice things up. They will help you to see things from a different angle. What if you made a two-millimeter shift, reordered the sequence, or added something new? This self-care idea can breathe new life into what has become mundane and stressful.
Anytime Self-care Strategies
10. Get a hug. Your pets are the best companions for unconditional love, and when you are stressed, they go a long way to alleviating the tension. Be intentional about the snuggle-time so that you can get the most out of it. Open your heart, and immerse yourself, to receive the love and let the worries go. When you return to life, recall how good that made you feel. If you don’t have a pet, find your favorite loving-caring human and hug them the same way.
11. Put words on a page. Some people think journaling isn’t for them, that they don’t know what to write. I say you should give it a try. Magical things can happen, moods can shift, and you can reveal powerful insights when capturing your thoughts on paper. They can be single words or phrases to start. Full sentences are likely to follow. When you get out of your head and open your heart, you will be amazed at how unburdened you feel. It’s my favorite self-care practice of them all.
Watch for the Signs
When you are emotionally exhausted, that’s a signal to stop and refuel. If you are on the verge of burnout, take notice and recharge your batteries before it’s too late. When you feel drained and depleted, it’s a sure sign that your self-care strategies are not working for you.
You deserve to be operating at peak performance, but that can’t happen unless you take care of yourself. You know the metaphor of the oxygen mask—put yours on first.
My favorite analogy is the teacup and saucer. You are the teacup. Beautifully painted, with a gilded-gold rim and handle. Close your eyes and imagine the colors. It has a matching saucer. With every self-care practice, you fill your cup. As you get better at it, your cup fills to the brim and overflows.
You are ready to face anything that comes at you. Stress. Adversity. Overwhelm.
And when someone needs something from you, you pour from your overflow. See how that works?
Now it’s your turn to choose the best self-care strategies to keep your cup full, so you can get back on your feet quickly when life tries to know you down.
Take the First Step
If you are facing adversity and living with uncertainty about how to move beyond it, you may wonder if it’s even possible. Making choices that move you forward can be challenging, and getting some guidance may be just what you need. Start by exploring how change can impact you. And learn how to move through it with more dignity and grace by reading my free ebook, then let’s have a chat. Click here to take the first step: From Darkness to Light: Learning to Adapt to Change and Move Through Transition.
Thank you for this timely and important piece Maria! You presented some excellent ideas and ways for women to rejuvenate and to lighten their perspectives! Being in a profession that encourages self-care, I have witnessed the profound change in women after they take time for themselves. It is like watching a plant come back to life after it has been watered! Thank you for the wisdom you share so freely, so necessary, especially in these times.
Debbie … I’m happy this article resonated with you. Feel free to share it. It will highlight for your clients why they need you so much! I love the metaphor, “It’s like watching a plant come back to life after watering it.” That’s what we do. We offer water and nourish our clients. ~Maria