It is not a secret that I am a very stressed out and anxious person, between being a workaholic and simply by living with generalized anxiety disorder I have a few tricks up my sleeve for incorporating self-care into my day to life. In this article, I will be sharing the tips and techniques that work for me in hopes that you’ll find ones that help you, now remember everyone is different and the tricks that work for me might not necessarily work for you; most were reccomended to me by thearipists, friends, family and cowokers so keep in mind but feel free to give these a shot because you never know until you try, the best way to see if something works is by doing it daily for 2 weeks and tracking how it makes you feel thourghout each day.
Now before I get into my tips there are 6 main types of self care, physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social, and sensory. I’ll let this diagram from tulipsandsage.com explain the various types before I give you my personal methods of self-care which share each of therse aspects to help clear my mind, body, and spirit.
Going on a walk – Phsyical
Walks are the cure to 90% of my problems in life, I thank my boss for this tip, sometimes he even walks with me if i’m too stressed out or anxious and other times I walk alone regarless, something about walks just helps clear my mind and get my thoughts back on track especially if the walk is on a sunny day or in the woods, nature is very calming and has very positive effects on our mental state so next time you’re feeling stressed take a 10-15 minute walk to clear those thoughts. I personally go on walks during my 30 min lunch breaks at work but have also taken additional breaks just to walk and clear my mind they really do help clear out those pesky negative thinking patterns.
Journaling – Emotional
One of my favourite forms of managing my mental health is by journaling or more specifically bullet journaling. Writing down your feelings and planning out your daily/weekly/monthly tasks helps get your head in gear. There are so many ways you can use a journal such as listing what you’re greatful for (I track my gratitude daily), keeping track of habits, writing about your day, etc. I like doing a variety of these types of journaling to mix it up and express my emotions in a various ways. My go to journaling spread is a daily spread of my to-do list, self care tasks I want to acomplish, one fun hobby, one work related task, and one thing that brought me joy along with my favourite song of the day.
Apps – Emotional
There are so many apps out there you can use to check in on yourself, having an app will alert you to check in with yourself, personally I set my alerts for 8AM and 8PM everyday so I can check in with myself twice a day. Some apps I have found useful are Moonly, Reflecty, 365 Grattitude, Me+, Mental Health, and Inner Hour. It’s imporant to check in with yourself thoughout the day and awknolege your feelings. Another type of app I enjoy is the kind that send you daily affermations, everyday at noon I get a text that tells me an affermation and I like to take a minute to process what it’s saying and reminding myself of it throughout the day.
Meditation – Spiritual/Sensory
The next self-care tip I have is meditation, meditating takes time to get used to doing and it can be hard to get into (trust me it took me a soild 6 months for it to even be effective) but once you do it becomes common pracice. Finding time to meditate might seem hard but it’s as simple of finding 60 seconds to just clear your mind and be present in the moment. If you happen to have more time such as waking up 30 minutes early for a 15-30 minute meditation to fully be in the moment that is great but if you’re busy then find 1-5 minutes to meditate, I like to meditate first thing in the morning and right before bed, most mornings I only have 1-5 minutes but at night I am able to make more time for a longer meditation and even like to light a candle to fully let my mind ground itself and self reflect in a peacful enviroment.
Cleaning – Physical/Sensory
Okay I know cleaning is not the most fun activity in the world but it’s really good to do, if your apartment is mess chances are so is your mind. Taking as little as 5 minutes during your day to clean a small section of a room is both groudning and rewarding, put on a song and clean for the duration of that song and make it fun, the simple motions of wiping a countertop or taking out the garbage help put your focus on the task at hand you feel so much better when you look at your clean space.
Reading – Intellectual
I am by no means a reader, I have no mental imagery in my mind (it’s called aphantasia only 1-5% of population have it which is kinda cool, maybe I’ll do an article about that in the future). Regardless reading is still a mindful activity that helps strengthen your mind. You can defiently wind down with a fun story heavy book if thast’s something that relaxes you or you could read about a subject that interests you for me it’s reading about astorlogy and the planets since it does not require me to visualize anything and it’s all just facts that I enjoy learning about and sometimes when I get really into whatever I’m reading i’ll take notes and fully study it. Now not everyone will find ‘studying’ to be relaxing or calm their brain but for me it’s defiently a go to.
Music/Art – Emotional/Intellectual
Whether you’re playing a musical insturment, writting a song or drawing these are forms or art that unlock your crearive side and boost your serotonin! Simply finding a creative hobby you enjoy and making the time for it will befint your mind greatly. You can express your true emotions and feeling through art and music, nothing helps me clear my mind more than writing a song about what I am feeling and finding a melody on my guitar that will compliment the lyrics.
Skincare/Spa Day – Sensory
When most people think of self care they always assume it’s about taking a bath with a bath bomb and all your problems go away, which is not how that works but it does help. Something as simple as lighting a candle or putting some essential oils in a air difuser with a calming aroma can help settle any uneasy thoughts or feelings, having a bath or shower will ease the tension in your muscles and the feeling of the warm water sooths you, washing your face and putting on clean natural skincare products will also make you feel relaxed, everyone deserves to pamper themselves.
Spending Time With Friends – Social
The best hangouts I’ve had with my friends are us just sitting at the pier and watching the sunet or stars and legit not talking, just being around people that you love and who love you is so comforting whether you’re talking or just sitting side by side, simply having people around you for support is a good feeling. Even calling a friend and catching up is a great way to incorporate social self care epically as an adult because peopole are always busy and offten times you can’t see your friends all the time but that doesn’t mean they’re not there for you and vice versa.
Turning Off Social Media – Emotional
My life got to much better when I stopped checking social media everyday, there is so much toxic content out there and even simple posts about what people are doing can still be negative depending on your headspace. Offten times the posts you see are heavily edited and fake and your mind may compare your physical appearance to the photshopped models or how someone went on an exotic trip or started a business and maybe they’re younger than you and it makes you feel unsuccessful in life ,there are just so many things that can trigger you whether you know it or not. Social media is also so draining on your mind epically when you mindlessly scroll through it with no satisfaction, I typically only check socials for less than 5 minutes after working hours in order to not side track my brain and just to see what my friends are up to but honestly more than half the days out of the week I just don’t even open the apps because I have better things I want to do that are healthy for my mind and if I wanted to know what my loved ones are up to I could just call them.
Alright that concludes my self care tips, I hope at least one of these tips is helpful for you and remember that to see if something truly works for you, you need to give it time and don’t worry if you don’t do self care everyday sometimes it’s just not possible and there is no need to lose sleep over it, self care if a process and in time it’ll become a natural part of your daily routine, I try to do at least one act of self care a day even if I don’t feel like it because I know it’s important and I’ll feel better afterwards.