When you take good care of yourself, you have the energy and mental capacity to support others. If you want to be happier more often, try incorporating some activities that you enjoy into your day regularly. When you feel sad, don’t suppress your feelings; instead, try different strategies to overcome those feelings. I want to share some self-care strategies for challenging times.
Self-care is essential to our overall well being. It’s not enough for us to simply have a self-care routine. We also have to have some self-care strategies to help execute our plan.
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Let’s talk about resilience.
In simple terms, resilience is the human ability to overcome challenges. The nervous system can send us into the fight, flight, freeze, and feigned death responses if the difficulty is too extreme to overcome (Center for Adolescent Studies).
Why did I mention resilience? Well, if you want to manage stress, then you need to be resilient. This is where self-care strategies come into play. We need self-care strategies to overcome challenging times.
How do you take care of yourself during difficult times?
When there’s lots of chaos around you, you have to be intentional about taking care of yourself. Here are some strategies to help you take care of yourself during difficult times:
Maintain your friendships.
Connect regularly with family and friends and do things together that you all enjoy. Tough times are easier with friends. Do not neglect your friendships when things are challenging. Your friendships can make all the difference in the outcome of your situation.
Keep a journal.
Take some time at the start of the week to set goals and acknowledge what you are grateful for. At the end of each day, you can write a few short sentences about your favorite memory from the day. For example, you can talk about the dogs that made you laugh as you walked through the grass or maybe some new idea that inspired you. Writing in your journal helps you focus on your goals and essential habits.
Practice Mindfulness Techniques
During uncertain times like these, it is natural to have some thoughts like what if another outbreak happens or what if you don’t find a job soon. This can be quite overwhelming as uncertain times feel particularly challenging because we are generally not comfortable facing the unknown. Our minds like it when things make sense, and let’s face it, we prefer predictability and straightforward answers. So to calm your mind, try to limit the “what-if” thoughts and reconnect yourself in the present moment. This allows you to experience the small and meaningful moments in your daily life, like a delicious cup of coffee, a new leaf on one of your indoor plants.
Many people across the world have started doing yoga because it offers so many benefits. One popular benefit reported over and over is that yoga increases calm feelings. At the end of a yoga session, many people report feeling less stressed and more relaxed.
There are few things more soothing than meditation in this world. Meditation helps quiet the mind. After even a short meditation, your mind is clear and focused. All you need to do is sit for just 15 minutes every day with your timer and let your thoughts and feelings do whatever they want to do. At the same time, try to stay curious and open-minded so that you can observe your mental and emotional state. The only aim of the mediation is to give your mind time and space to do whatever it feels like it needs to do.
Watch some movies.
It is always a great idea to snuggle in your favorite place in the house and binge-watch a good movie. Avoid movies that are emotionally intense or violent. For self-care days, I always advise you to watch some movies that are light and can help you be relaxed.
Repeat positive affirmations.
Repeating positive affirmations is excellent for self-care. You can use simple affirmations like “I am safe, I am loved, I am supported,” or “I’m doing the best I can” when you feel you are being unnecessarily self-critical or when you are feeling overwhelmed. When you talk to yourself, you feel calmer and mentally stronger. This might seem weird at first, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you will become.
Put limits on social media usage.
Excessive social media use can have a negative impact on your well being. So, in challenging times you might want to try limiting your time on social media. Try your best to maintain the boundaries that you set. It is also a good idea to avoid opening social media apps one hour before going to sleep.
Get regular exercise.
This one really helps with reducing stress levels and improving your health. It may go hand in hand with the first tip, find an activity that you enjoy with your friends and do it together. Try aiming for 20 minutes a day, even a 10-minute walk will benefit you.
Eat a balanced diet.
Eat nutritious food as this helps with energy levels and stress management. Try to avoid too much caffeine or sugar – it may help you feel more energized in the short term but it can have negative effects in the long term.
Ask for help and accept it when it is offered.
This one may seem tricky however no one expects you to deal with whatever is going on in your life alone. If you’re experiencing stress or worry it can help to talk to someone about it. Whether that be a friend, family member, your doctor or a counselor.
Be your own best friend.
Be kind to yourself. Encouraging and rewarding yourself for getting through a difficult period or achieving a goal, however small, will reinforce your self-confidence. Try to be as positive and compassionate towards yourself as much as you can.
These are just a few self-care strategies that you can practice regularly to help you better deal with challenging times. This is not an exhaustive list and it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Try different self-care strategies until you find what works best for you.
Best Journals for Self-Care
Journaling is one of my favorite self-care activities. It’s also a great way help you begin to move towards forgiveness. The key to making journaling a habit is to find a journal that you love. One of the first things I look for in a journal is one that is good quality, like this gratitude journal from Therabox.
I also love this guided self love journal that is filled with prompts and practices to help improve self-esteem and self-confidence.