It’s always important to take care of yourself, but it’s more important than ever when you’re experiencing tough times.
And since most of us are struggling with things like anxiety and depression during this pandemic, now is the perfect time to update your self-care routine.
Anxiety and Self-Care
There’s an interesting connection between anxiety and self-care. And there’s even some research that shows self-care can worsen anxiety. Essentially, if whatever you’re doing for self-care makes you feel guilty, it’s not going to help. Spending a day at a spa sounds like a dream, but if you’re worried about the money you’re spending the entire time, it’s definitely counterproductive.
Also, having a glass of wine or downing a painkiller and vegging out may seem like self-care, but it’s quite the opposite. If you end up with alcoholism or a painkiller addiction, you’re only going to have more anxiety and deeper issues.
Bottom line: Definitely practice self-care, but don’t go over the top. If something feels too luxurious or too frivolous, it’s probably going to have the opposite of your desired effect.
Tips for Updating Self-Care During Rough Times
When you’re feeling especially stressed, there are a few things that provide universal relief for most people.
Here are a few things you can try when you’re feeling stressed.
This is an interesting relaxation technique that you can try anywhere. Here’s how it’s done. Start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and feet. It may seem like it’s not working, but go through the exercise and work your way up your body until you’ve relaxed every muscle. Much like massage, this can help you relieve tension in your muscles. And it works by actively relaxing all the muscles in your body.
Upgrading Your Emotional Intelligence
Spend some “me time” reading self-help books to make this rough time seem more manageable. And if you’re dealing with excess stress, you may want to consider learning about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a technique used by many therapists to help their patients work through anxiety. This form of therapy is effective for a wide array of mental health disorders, and it’s often used for anxiety. The best way to engage in CBT is to consult with a licensed therapist, but you can DIY the technique with the help of self-help books or information online.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are often referred to as feel-good chemicals, in the brain. And it really only takes about 30 minutes of exercise daily to make an impact on your anxiety symptoms. Just focus on getting moving. You can walk, jog, lift weights or do anything that makes you happy.
Meditation is one of the most widely studied and promoted natural treatments for anxiety, and studies have shown that it’s highly effective. There are so many health benefits of meditation, but most people don’t take up the practice because they think it’s challenging. In truth, meditation is very simple to start.
All you need is a quiet room and the desire to clear your thoughts. But here’s where so many people get caught up. The goal of mediation isn’t actually to get to a completely quiet headspace. Instead, your goal is to become aware of your thoughts and attempt to gently shift your focus away from them.
Sit in a quiet, dimly lit room and relax your body. Set your focus on a single point and begin to focus on your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Your goal isn’t to alter your natural state of breathing. Simply observe.
When you have a few self-help tools in your arsenal, you can get through almost anything. Rough times are still going to be rough, but you’re much less likely to have a panic attack or an emotional breakdown when you are in control with your self-care routine.
And to be honest, most people don’t have a regular self-care routine that they practice daily. And in rough times, that can work against you. Whatever you decide to do for self-care, be sure to make it a habit. These things work best when you practice them over time.