I think that, for most of us, there are times in our lives when it all just feels like too much. For some people, it may last days, weeks, months, maybe even years. Sometimes, just waking up for the day, going to work, or putting one foot in front of the other is a struggle. Maybe it’s because you live with a mental illness, maybe it’s because you’ve had your heart broken, maybe you’re trying to cope with a loss, maybe you're struggling to find your place in the world, or maybe there’s no exact reason for why you’re feeling down.
No matter the reasoning, I hope you realize it is OK to not be OK. Life can be messy, painful, difficult and confusing. Because of this, taking care of yourself should be your first priority. Self care comes in many different forms and it's important to find what works for your individual self. Many self care tips don't take into consideration that people struggling often lack motivation, so going on a vacation or a running a marathon is unrealistic. Sometimes, just getting out of bed is an accomplishment worth acknowledging. These 15 tips are simple and help me, and I hope you or a loved one you know, can benefit as much as i do.
1. Call a trusted friend or family member and talk it out
Getting your thoughts out of your head is essential to start feeling better. Even if your family and friend's don't understand your struggle, they can still be there for you and listen.
2. Create a morning and evening routine that you can look forward to and unwind to
Having a predictable routine can bring so much comfort and grounding in times of life that feel confusing or out of control.
3. Go for a walk/run by yourself, with a friend, or your dog
Sometimes, a walk to clear your mind is the most therapeutic thing you can do.
4. Work out and create goals for yourself
The feeling of doing something good for yourself and your body is unbelievable. Seeing progress, even if it's not much, will help your motivation and attitude about yourself.
Sometimes we forget about our personal hygiene because it's the last thing on our minds. But it is a start to feeling better when we take care of our selves.
6. Eat and Hydrate
This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but many people going through a hard time have no appetite. It is important to give our body what it needs and get nutrients and water.
7. Ask for help
Nobody should have to struggle alone. It is OK to be at a loss on what to do next. Turning to someone trustworthy or a professional is nothing to be ashamed of. That is what they are there for.
8. Write it out
Keep a journal, type, do whatever is best for you. Many people including myself, can have a hard time expressing themselves. Writing is good way to reflect on your feelings
9. Limit your time on your phone and social media
Social media and certain people can be triggering to your emotions. It's helpful to find other things to stay busy with other than your phone.
10. Spend time with your friends and family
Try not to isolate yourself, as hard as that can be not to. It can be as simple as a visit to their home, or grabbing lunch. It can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, but you don't have to carry it alone.
11. Get back into your hobbies and passions
Pick out a new book to read, find new music, go grab that old baseball mitt and throw with someone, volunteer at a humane society or school, do whatever it is that brings you happiness.
12. Get a healthy amount of sleep
If your situation causes you to not get enough sleep, take the time to properly rest yourself throughout the day. If you are sleeping too much and lack the motivation, use this list as ways to get up and get active for yourself and your body.
13. Educate yourself on what you are going through
Look for ways to cope and get help. Find others who have faced similar struggles. Seek out those role models for inspiration.
14. Keep your space clean and organized
When the area that you spend your time is clean, it is one less thing to worry about. Having your physical space in order, can help yourself feel more together as well.
15. Challenge your negative thoughts
Recognizing that your current way of thinking might be self-defeating, can sometimes motivate you to look at things from a different perspective. This is something that takes a lot of practice but is worth the hard work.
This is a good starting point to get you thinking about how you can best take care of yourself during a hard time and to spark your curiosity and interest in strengthening your self-care now and ongoing. You are the expert of your own experience and only you know what’s best for you. I hope that in reading this you’re also realizing how normal and natural it is to struggle and to have these tough, hard times. It’s part of being human. Take care and love yourself first!