It is so unbelievably important to care for yourself, both physically and mentally. Often, we get so caught up with needing to meet this deadline, or write that paper, study for an exam, or just excel and push ourselves too far. Not caring for yourself can negatively affect your professional and personal life. Self care is just as important as an annual checkup or daily vitamin.
Just recently, a young woman “went viral” for an email to her boss about using a couple of sick days to take care of her mental health. Her company was grateful for her openness about her reasoning. Oftentimes, those who have higher than average stress or anxiety levels are “encouraged” to just move on past it. However, treat your personal well being just like you would a cold or the flu.
Speaking personally, I do tend to get overwhelmed or stressed in certain situations. It’s difficult for me to let something go or move on. I’m lucky enough to work for a company where I can work from home. I’ve run into it a couple of times as of late where I’ve needed to go home to finish my work day so that I can decompress.
Identifying Where You Need Self Care
First, take a look at your life and where common stress or pain points are. Is work stressful? Are you concerned over a new diet? A bad relationship? Family concerns? Every person is different and has stress or concerns in different places. For me, I’m often stressed at work due to different actions of others. Additionally, I have some concerns over my relationship status, both in pursuit of a future spouse as well as friends around me.
How Do You Combat This?
Just like everyone’s stressors are different, coping mechanisms are different as well. For example, petting a dog can often decrease cortisol levels in your body decreasing your stress level. That’s why I’ll go home sometimes if I’m feeling overwhelmed. Sweet Olivia is sure to cuddle up with me and make it all better. Additionally, I find that word puzzles or logic puzzles or math puzzles are a great distraction. Actually taking my mind off of whatever is stressing me out and putting my thoughts toward a separate goal really helps.
Ways to Implement Self Care
These are some different ways that I’ve found to show some self care and recharge.
- Say “No”. Stress can easily come from trying to do it all. Proactively show yourself some love, and say no to some things. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Read a book. If you love to read like I do, this can be any book. If you’re not a big reader, maybe read one of your favorite books from growing up.
- Watch your favorite movie. For me, this is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I mean, I like other movies better, but this is just cute and sure to brighten my spirits.
- Write a “tell all” letter to someone who hurt you. Burn it. If your harboring some negative feelings for someone who hurt you, write it down! Get everything out in a letter, exactly as you would love to say it to that terrible person. Once it’s done, burn it. You’ve exhumed those feelings from yourself, so burn it and release the anger and resentment.
- Write down 50 positive things in your life right now. If you’re feeling glum, write down amazing things in your life. This helps to put things into perspective.
- Take a bubble bath.
- Eat dessert for dinner. You’re an adult. Treat yourself to some cake!
- Take yourself on a date.
- Have a Harry Potter movie marathon. Or Hunger Games. Maybe you want to binge watch seasons of your favorite show.
- Turn up the tunes and dance around your house!
- Go for a swim.
- Don’t wear a bra or makeup all day. Embrace your natural self!
- Get dolled up. This is the other half. Maybe your self care is putting on a killer outfit and hitting the town.
- Go hungry grocery shopping. This, to me, is the ultimate #treatyoself. Get those Pop-Tarts. Gourmet ice cream? Absolutely. Avocados on sale? I’ll take them all please.
- Eat your favorite comfort foods.
- Go for a hike and leave social media behind. I was originally going to recommend leaving your phone behind, but I’m all for safety, so you should keep it with you. Bury it in your backpack or make it difficult to get to. Spend some time with yourself in nature.
- Work out. Whether this is a cardio class, yoga, or just going for a long run, get moving. You might not want to start, but you will feel better.
Remember to take care of yourself first. If you’re stressed or overwhelmed, you’re not any good to anyone. Do whatever you need to recenter yourself. That way, you can conquer the world tomorrow.