As a clinical psychologist, I have a long history of dealing with people struggling for all types of reasons. Depression and anxiety are very common in the United States and the numbers of people with these diagnoses only seem to be increasing.
For many people with anxiety, depression, or any other type of stress in their life, the first thing that often gets skipped is self-care. Self-care may not seem to be important for our functioning, but it is essential for healthy living and peaceful times.
So, let’s take a moment and reevaluate what we are (or aren’t) doing in regards to self-care and what we can be doing more of!
Essential Self-Care Tasks
1-Focus on the Positive
One thing we need to do to take care of ourselves is to foucs on the positives we have in life. This can be difficult to start, but it is so worth it!
I recommend using a positivity journal of some sort. This has a two-fold purpose. First, you spend time dailly or weekly writing down the positives in life. Second, on the days where you are struggling and not feeling very positive about yourself or your life, you can look back on your positivity journal. Read back through all those positives in life to remind yourself there are highlights and good things in life.
Try one of these journals to help keep you motivated to focus on the positives!
Practice the Attitude of Gratitude
In addition to focusing on the positives, it’s important to be grateful.
Gratitude also tends to be one of those forgotten concepts. I’m important for us to be grateful, because it forces us to focus on the positive. We need to remember all we have and be thankful for what we have. Even when we don’t feel like we have much, we often have more than we realize. We have food, friends, financial stability, someone that loves us, as well as many other positives in our lives to be grateful for.
Try one of these to help you practice gratitude!
2-Give your body what it needs
Drink more water! One way to make this easier is to keep water with you. Tervis water bottles are my favorite! They don’t spill. Plus, I add a carabiner to mine so I can clip in on my purse or work bag and be hands free!
Add additional nutrients to your diet, even when you’re busy and in a hurry
You can even add protein on the go!
Similarly, excercise is just as important for your body and your health as nutrition. Walk. Run. Hike. Bike. Swim. Do whatever you enjoy to get up and move you body!
You can also add little bits of exercise to your everyday life! Park in the back of the parking lot. Use the stairs. Walk the long way to turn in your work reports. Walk a lap around the inside of the store before you begin shopping. Be creative! There are easy ways to add just a few more steps in your life. This additional exercise helps to make our bodies feel better and our minds and self-esteem will follow.
Furthermore, rest is also a necessity. We need to have adequate rest and sleep to feel refreshed and to be better able to handle the stress that life brings. If you struggle with getting enough sleep due to having a busy life, try to get into the routine of going to bed early enough so you get the amount of sleep that you need.
Maybe you just need a new pillow or some new sheets to make sleep just a little easier??
It can be difficult to get more rest at times, but it’s worth the effort. If you have trouble falling asleep research ways to make sleep come a little easier. Make sure you have down time before you try to go to sleep at night to make falling asleep easier. Have white noise on as you sleep to block out neighboring noises. Check the temperature before you go to back to make sure you won’t be too hot or too cold. Play some relaxing music.
3-Give Yourself a Break
Sometimes, giving ourselves a break is the most challenging part of our self-care journey. We are often harder on ourselves than we are on others. We push ourselves more and expect more from ourselves than we do from anyone else.
All of us need to learn to accept our short-comings and push through our challenges. Accepting our short-comings is difficult, but it is possible. It is also necessary for our self-care and self-esteem. We have to accept we will make mistakes and then learn from those mistakes so we can do better next time. We are only human. You don’t have to be superhuman to be accepted and acceptable.
Relaxation is another way you can give yourself a break. Relaxation takes many unique forms and every person enjoys different activities. Sometimes it takes some trial and error to figure out what helps you relax best. Here are some of our favorites!
Bath time relaxation
Warm water and nothing to do is a great way to relax (at least when you don’t have a beach nearby)!
5-Connect with others
It really does take a village to make it through life. If you have not found your village, now is the time! This is why it’s so important that we utilize our social support network as much as possible!
Reconnect with friends and/or family
Sometimes life gets in the way of what we want to be doing with our time. When this happens, we have to make the time to reconnect with positive relationships and positive people in our lives. We need people in our lives that care about us and support us, even when we don’t think we are worth their time and effort. These are actually the times we need this support the most!
In these circumstances, it is exceptionally important that we take the time to reconnect with those most important to you! Date our spouse! Have a girls’ night with your closest friends! Plan a trip with your family! Have lunch with a friend! Just do something you enjoy with someone you enjoy!
My newest enjoyment is sharing an adult beverage with my husband in the evenings periodically. I’ve learned that I enjoy wine slushies since we did the wine trails in Gatlinburg! These are my two favorites and directions are on the bags!
Find new areas of social support
It’s often difficult to meet new people as we get older. It’s possible, but it sometimes takes more effort than we feel comfortable doing. In these situations, we have to think outside the box and get outside our comfort zones.
You can look into group programs at local libraries, volunteer for an organization you support, or find other community organizations to become involved with to increase your social support network. You can also look online to find groups who share your beliefs or activities or who can support you during times of stress. For example, check out our parenting FB group for parenting support.
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Now, make sure to start your new self-care journey off the easy way!
Join our 5 Day Self-care Challenge!
The above tips are a great way to get you motivated to put some positive changes in your life. However, we need reminders when we are making any changes to our lives, even good changes. This is why our self-care challenge is so beneficial!
You will have five days of self-care ideas, suggestions, and attainable goals sent directly to your email! This truly is the best way to start making positive changes in your life that focus on making self-care part of your everyday life!
A little about me
Mental health issues have been near and dear to my heart for many years. I’ve been working in the mental health field in one form or another since the age of 19. I started out volunteering at a local domestic violence shelter advocating for victims of assault and have worked in many other areas of mental health since that time. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the University of Southern Indiana and then my Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Ohio University in 2005. Since that time, I have been practicing as a psychologist and currently own my own group practice in Indiana, Luzio & Associate’s Behavioral Services.
On top of all that, I’m a wife, mom of seven, grandmother of five, and huge Disney fan!
Life has definitely been an adventure!