Practical tips for self-care
We all go through difficult times. It's a natural part of life's ebb and flow. This is why we need to learn how to take care of ourselves––mentally, emotionally, and physically. It should be our number one priority.
I know that if I didn’t have a self-care routine, it would affect my work and relationships with others––including how I feel about myself and life.
How to take care of yourself during hard times is a practice to keep up with, even if you don’t want to. Take note of practices that soothe you. If you don't know how to start taking care of yourself, give these ideas a try, and things will get better!
#1: Have a positive inner-dialogue
When we are going through a hard time, it is normal to focus on the challenging things happening. If you are wondering how to take care of yourself, practicing positive self-talk is a great way to soothe negative thoughts during a difficult time.
Be your best friend
You would never say the things you say to yourself to others. Start by speaking to yourself as you would talk to a best friend. Say 3 encouraging things to yourself every morning. If this is difficult, write them on a post-it note, put them on the mirror, and read them aloud.
Start a gratitude journal. It will help you soothe yourself and bring attention to all the nice things still going well in your life. At the end of the day, list at least 5 things you are grateful for. The examples can be simple, "I laughed at a dog on the internet."
Take care of yourself emotionally and mentally by listening to a guided meditation a few times a week. Guided meditations can help you find focus and soothe yourself. You can take care of yourself with this simple, yet extremely powerful, shift in mindset.
#2: Connect with your support system
Learning how to take care of yourself doesn’t have to be a solo pursuit. Your support system can help us ease the loneliness we feel during hard times and help us take care of ourselves emotionally.
Start by reaching out to the people you feel close to––family, friends, or even co-workers. Let them know you are going through a difficult time. By sharing our experiences, we might find that others feel the same, and they could soothe us with an encouraging story or support us along the way.
It might feel overwhelming to join a community when we are going through a difficult time. But there are lots of low-commitment communities online. Join a Facebook group related to your hobbies for example.
Another great option is volunteering at an animal or homeless shelter. Helping others can help us gain perspective, connect with others, and soothe our inner critic.
#3: Get some rest
Proper rest is not just getting a good amount of sleep. Although to take care of yourself physically, you should be getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Once you get enough sleep, continue to take care of yourself by resting.
Social media is famous for making people feel bad, so spend quality time away from it. It is inherently competitive and jealousy-inducing. People only post their 'best' online and often show an unbalanced version of their life. Spend hours or days unplugged, and don't let the internet rob you of the beauty in your own life.
Spend time in bed, on the couch, or in the grass, simply resting and daydreaming. Daydreaming is extremely productive. It is useful for tapping into your creativity, intuition, and manifestation powers. Dreaming about the life we want can help us feel hopeful and inspired.
Check out the philosophy of The Nap Ministry, as they share a powerful message on the importance of "Rest as Resistance." Make sure to invest in a comfortable bed for the best napping possible. Soothe yourself through intentional naps.
Learning how to take care of yourself during hard times is never going to be easy. But building a self-care day into your weekly schedule should help you start. Having just one self-care day can make a big difference.
Create time for all of the practices mentioned above, and start taking care of yourself today. See what you enjoy the most and integrate them into your daily life.