There is so much going on in the world right now and it is especially important to focus on self care, especially when we feel pulled into a phase of depression, anxiety, or despondency. Although these are not simple times, there are simple things you can do to support yourself.
Create a Gratitude Practice
What are you grateful for? Think of three things every morning and every evening and write them down, think about them consciously, or journal about them if you have more time. This is an extremely powerful self care practice. One client I worked did this every day for a few months while he was job-searching. He reduced his anxiety and was chosen out of 365 people for a coveted sales position. Granted, he’s a bad-ass and earned that position, however the positive mindset helped him shift out of negative cognitive patterns. In his book “Tools of the Titans”, Internationally known author and podcast host Tim Ferris suggests adding the following to your daily routine:
Reflect on 3 things you are grateful for
Think of 1 thing you could do that would make the day better
Say 3 affirmations that resonate with you (“I am kind”, “I am whole”, etc.)
Write down anything amazing (or even the littlest bit good) that happened that day
Think of 1-3 ways of how you could have made your day even better
Consider a Cleanse or Gentle Detox
These are challenging times and the world is experiencing ecological and social disasters like never before. We are a global community and even those of us fortunate enough to have supportive resources may be persistently inundated with external stimuli, or internal preoccupation that gets in the way of self care.
Feelings of overwhelm, exasperation, and fear can be debilitating and may lead to unhealthy coping strategies, like consuming excessive sugar, alcohol, processed food, or drugs. Disassociating with TV or gaming is also an unhealthy coping mechanism when done in excess.
The body will tell you when you are ready for a cleanse. It is important to desire change and be ready to limit or remove unhealthy behaviors. Now when I say “ready”, I don’t mean doing cartwheels ready. Cleanses may be difficult. And in my experience, once I get going, joy and balance are provoked through the process of consciously honoring and clearing out the body.
Cleanses support us to slowly (or rapidly) eliminate things that are bad for us, and through the detoxification and rebuilding process, we are better able to feel the positive effects of healthy food, movement, supplements, and clean water. When the body starts to recognize what healthy and normal is, we build healthier habits for the long-term.
I am inspired by a product line that supports and nourishes the cleansing process and increases good self care habits. I have been using these products and have seen amazing results. There are so many benefits, but I’ll list just a few. The all-organic, GMO-free green shake and amino acid/gut health supplements have regulated my moon, cleared my skin, and supported motivation and productivity.
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Move Your Body Every Day
This is not rocket science, but unfortunately the mind loves to paint it that way, or recruit the inner critic instead of the inner bad-ass. If you’re out of practice, do something every day that moves your blood and body. Start with twenty minutes and slowly increase. Or, commit to a hour, three to four times a week and notice how you feel. If you miss a day or a week, don’t beat yourself up and try again.
Movement supports the production of dopamine, serotonin, estrogen, testosterone, and increases endorphins, so there is no question that movement, alongside therapy (and in some cases medication), is crucial for the treatment of anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that a brisk walk combats depression and when done regularly, increases the efficacy of therapy by 75% (Scientific America, 2015).
Some Ideas: Walking in Nature, Yoga with slow, deep breathing, Stretching (add music or a podcast if you are easily distracted), Ride your bike, Strength-training, Dance, etc. Youtube has an awesome free fitness channels as well.
Go-to stress relieving breath practice:
If you do not meditate, try this instead in the morning. Set a timer for 5-15 minutes, follow the steps below and repeat until you reach the end of the timer:
Inhale for a count of 4
Hold your breath for 4-8 counts
Exhale 5-7 counts
Developing a healthy social support network is crucial for mental health and self care. Make sure to be in regular contact with your closest friends and family members. Schedule activities, phone calls or videos chats weekly, especially when you know you are having a hard week. My out of town friends and I love the app “Marco Polo” for video exchanging. It works better than Face-time if you’re busy and can’t get to your phone in real-time.
Click here to read my article on trauma fatigue and how to better understand the body’s fight/flight response.
Additionally, I appreciated this video by Dr. Judith Orloff: Being an Empath Today — Surviving and Thriving with the Gift of Sensitivity. It offers insight into what empaths experience, as well as some basic self-care tools.
Sending healing wishes your way,