Today we talk about self-care.
I find this to be a great tangent from our discussion of rest, as the two are very much intertwined.
Ideally, self-care is something that we practice consistently throughout every day. But today, I'm going to outline a few things to try when you need some emergency self-care.
Let me preface by saying we all have hard days. Dark thoughts. Emotional slumps. This is where emergency self-care comes in.
1. Remember you are not alone. Everyone has these days. You are not broken or messed up or dramatic or sub your favorite derogatory mental health comment here. It is normal to have down days, so please talk about them. With a friend, a family member, a partner, a therapist. However you need to remind yourself, know that you are not alone.
2. Give yourself fuel. I speak here of the very basics of taking care of yourself - the survival parts. Feed yourself healthy, nutritious, and energy boosting food. Drink lots of water. Get plenty of rest. When we take care of our basic needs, we can begin to take care of our emotional and mental health needs as well.
3. Take things one step at a time. When I find myself in a downward spiral, I find it most helpful to set small tasks to accomplish, which keep me moving forward. I'm going to get out of bed. Okay. I'm going to brush my teeth. Okay. I'm going to put on my clothes. Okay. Etc. Etc. Breaking the day down into smaller tasks can make a down day seem more manageable.
4. Get out there. If you feel up to it, I highly recommend getting some exercise, and getting outside, even if just for a walk around the block. Fresh air and the natural endorphins of moving our bodies can do wonders.
5. Turn off your phone. At the very least, sign out of your social media accounts for the day. In a day of constant demand and connection, unplugging can be the best thing for us. We often don't realize how draining it is to always be connected, to be at anyone and everyone's constant beck and call, to always be seeing the edited lives and bodies and successes of those around us whirling by in a blur of filters and hashtags. Unplug. Just be. Consider making unplugging a regular practice.
6. Find your joy. In the darkest days, in the throes of depression, one of the most common symptoms is a loss of interest in things that used to make us happy. In those dark moments, try to find some joy. Whether it's in a favorite junk food (disregard #2 if needed!), a favorite song, a beloved activity, a wonderful friend, a sunset, a long drive... find your joy. Even if you only dance around the kitchen to one song, you've found joy in those beautiful four minutes, and that's a start.
7. Be kind to yourself. Our darkest days often come from our darkest thoughts. Some days it may feel like we don't have control over our thoughts, but with practice, we can learn to identify harmful self-talk, and rewire the networks in our brains to speak kindly to ourselves, to extend grace, compassion, and love to ourselves, even when we mess up, even when we do not feel like enough, even when we feel like too much. Write down 5 things you like about yourself. If you can't think of anything, ask a friend. There is so much to love, so much to live for, and you are an integral part of how this world works. Don't let anyone, especially yourself, ever tell you otherwise.
If you are feeling a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest, you may be experiencing symptoms of depression. You are not alone. There are therapists in your area who are willing to speak with you and help. Counseling centers are a good place to start, and will often work within your budget.
If you are having thoughts of self-harm or harming someone else, please call any of the following free 24/7 hotlines:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Back to number one: Remember, you are not alone.
All my love,