We all go through seasons of high-stress from time to time. Thank God they don’t last forever! If you’re going through a difficult time now, here are seven ways you can indulge in passionate self-care in order to move forward.
The experience of a stressful season can serve as a powerful reminder of how important it is to prioritize taking excellent care of ourselves.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl
Here are 7 ways you can indulge in passionate self-care in order to move forward:
1) Create a Healthy, Supportive Routine
When we’re dealing with stress, it’s easy to lose our sense of time. Days can begin to blend into each other. A routine can give us an anchor and greater sense of control over our lives. Sticking to a routine can give us a sense of normality.
This routine or schedule can be as simple as:
- 5am-7am – Wake-up – Morning Routine
- 7am-9am – Exercise – Breakfast – Shower & Get Dressed
- 9am-12:00pm – Work
- 12:00pm – Lunch
- 1-4pm – Work
- 5pm-7pm Dinner – time with family or time to yourself to get centered
- 8pm – Evening Routine
- 9pm – Bedtime
It’s also important to recognize weekends because it’s too easy for weeks to blur together. So, make a more relaxed schedule for your weekends. For example, you could include:
- Sleeping in/got to bed later
- Movie night with popcorn
- A virtual happy hour with friends or colleagues
- A fun, creative project, perhaps some art, craft, gardening or home redecoration.
Create a routine for a greater sense of control and mastery over your environment and life circumstances. Reclaim what power you can over your own life, because with all this uncertainty it’s important for you to have a routine.
2) Build Your Physical Strength, Fitness Levels, or Flexibility
Building your physical strength is powerful and health-boosting! Not only is physical strength and flexing our bodies life-affirming and good for our health, but feeling more physically powerful actually helps us feel more positive, empowered and less helpless in life, too!
Add some physical activity into your schedule. It can even be as little as 15 minutes daily.
There are many options to boost your physical strength. Here are some ideas:
- Go for a really long walk around your neighborhood, a local park or the beach (while practicing social distancing, of course).
- Learn to do a plank to build your core muscle strength. Start with trying to do a plank for 30 seconds. Then work up to doing a plank for one minute. Here is a great YouTube video from Bowflex to learn the basics: Planks for Beginners: How to do a Plank (for women)
- There are also many online fitness classes on Youtube – for beginners, experts – with equipment and also with no equipment whatsoever. PopSugar Fitness has many fun options to choose from.
REMEMBER: Being stronger = FEELING stronger and more in control! And building your PHYSICAL strength or fitness = REDUCED feelings of stress and helplessness!
3) Live in the Present Moment
Choose to believe in THIS moment you are OK.
You are safe.
Take one day at a time.
One hour or even one breath at a time if you need to.
This tip is about being super-present, not jumping ahead or dwelling on the past, but simply practicing BEING. In this moment.
This is a PRACTICE – meaning you will have to do it over and over again – bringing yourself back to the NOW. Over time it gets easier, and it’s a great skill to keep yourself from going into overwhelm.
So, when you notice you’re worrying and feeling anxious, say to yourself, “It’s OK. In this moment, I am safe. In this moment I am OK.”
EXTRA TIP: Reduce (or eliminate altogether) how often you watch and read the news. And DON’T read or watch the news just before bed! That’s a big no-no!
One way to tell when you’re NOT living in the present moment is when you start to feel anxious or worried. That is an indication that you are projecting a negative outcome about the future. That is a red flag that you need to bring yourself back to the present moment.
One way to bring yourself back to the present moment when you’re starting to feel anxious is to name three things you feel grateful for. You can even stop whatever you’re doing and write those three things down.
Another way to bring yourself back to the present moment is to listen to beautiful music that feels soothing to your soul. Music you love has the power to instantly energize you with good, positive emotions.
Distracting ourselves with something funny is an effective technique for feeling better!
Laughter releases certain chemicals in our bloodstream – Endorphins (our natural “feel good” drug) and Dopamine (part of our bodily “reward” system).
- What are your favorite comedy shows?
- Is there a comedian you enjoy listening to?
- Is there a movie that makes you laugh?
- Netflix, OnDemand and Amazon Prime Video have plenty of options, so find something that makes you laugh!
My favorite movies for making me laugh are dramedies (comedy-dramas) such as Little Miss Sunshine, Dan in Real Life, and The Royal Tenenbaums.
5) Write in a Journal
Writing in my journal is one of my favorite self-care practices.
What is a journal?
“A journal is expressive by nature and it contains feelings, emotions, problems, ponderings and it is more reflective on the meaning of life being lived.” Lynda Monk
More than just keeping a record of your day, a journal is a tool for self-awareness. It can help you explore and sift through your feelings and experiences in order to learn and grow from them.
If you’ve always wanted to journal, now is a good time to start. Here are some journal prompts to get you started:
- Today I am feeling _________. I think this is because __________.
- One big thing I have learned during this crisis is _________.
- One thing that’s surprised me recently is _________.
- What matters most to me in life is _________.
- Describe your ideal day _________.
I like to journal as part of my Morning Routine. The benefits include a deeper sense of self-awareness that stays with me all day. Sometimes when I’m going about my day, I’ll suddenly have an “ah-ha” moment or revelation about something I was journaling that morning.
Journaling is also a great way to anchor in new learnings or a new belief you want to install. I find journaling is most powerful when you are in a quiet, reflective mood and aren’t feeling rushed, which is why I prefer to do it early in the morning when it’s still quiet.
6) Be Kind and Patient with Yourself
Kindness and self-compassion are one of the most powerful tools any of us can have in our self-care toolbox right now.
You can use kindness to comfort yourself when afraid or feeling anxious. Be gentle with yourself. Imagine you’re soothing a friend, small child or animal who is afraid – what would you say to comfort them? Then say that to yourself.
- Use kindness to give yourself the benefit of the doubt.
- Connect with that part of you that is kind, wise and loving. That part of you that unconditionally loves ALL of who you are. Now, when you need it, imagine that loving self is with you, supporting you, maybe giving you a hug – and saying exactly what you need to hear when you need support.
When we are kind, patient and loving with ourselves, we are more kind, patient and loving with those around us, too.
7) Take a Nap
According to this Mayo Clinic article, napping offers various benefits for adults, including:
- Reduced fatigue.
- Increased alertness.
- Improved mood.
- Improved performance, including quicker reaction time and better memory.
It helps to have a quiet space without interruptions – which many of us don’t have at the moment. In that case, try using earbuds to listen to soft relaxing music on your phone. For some people, trying to nap when anxious can feel frustrating. If this is the case, listen to a relaxing guided meditation instead. You can find one on YouTube.
Don’t worry if you don’t do it perfectly. The simple act of lying down, closing your eyes, and calming your thoughts is enough to get the restorative benefits of napping.
It takes practice to create a habit of passionate self-care. So why not make it a habit to take care of the one person who needs you the most, YOU!
You’ll actually come out of your season of stress a better, more grounded and healthier person. This is a practice that will benefit you in countless ways for the rest of your life. Your future self will thank you for years to come for making the effort to take better care of YOU!
Be safe and take excellent care of yourself.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with all the different things you need to do to take care of yourself? As women, we often put others first, and rarely make time to take care of ourselves. The self-care checklist can help!
This self-care kit includes a 30-day checklist with self-care tips and ideas, self-care worksheets and journal prompts, as well as self-care affirmations, and word art quotes to keep you inspired.
Hello, I’m Patti! I’m a Christian Life & Money Coach, Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach, Health Coach, writer, and former retirement planner. I’m also an award-winning co-author of She Writes for Him: Stories of Resilient Faith (Redemption Press), and prayer warrior, serving on the prayer team at my local church.
My mission is to provide inspiration, coaching, tools, and resources to help you claim all the goodness and abundance God has for you.