The importance of self-care during stressful times

So often in life, things do not happen as we had planned, or things happen that we hadn’t anticipated. This causes stress and anxiety for most of us. 

How is it that our lives get turned upside down, inside out? It seems like we are suddenly living a whole different life and we are left to figure it out. How can we cope when, suddenly, in the blink of an eye, we are faced with a new and scary reality? The main point of this article is “Don’t forget about yourself.”

In times of crisis, a common reaction is to throw all effort into dealing with the situation, whatever it might be, giving no thought to your own well-being. When life has taken a totally unknown turn, taking care of ourselves is a priority. 

What is self-care?

Self-care refers to activities that can be done to promote physical and mental wellness. Self-care is an important part of everyone’s overall health. Listed below are some activities to help in this process.

1. Practice good Emotional Hygiene

In the same way we practice personal hygiene, we also need to develop habits that will take care of our psychological health.

Be mindful of what experiences cause emotional pain for you. This may include getting support from a community support group, a close friend or family member, or talking with a licensed therapist.

Maintain your self-esteem. Stay focused on goals that can promote your self-confidence. Avoid letting your confidence spiral downward after a negative event or experience.

Avoid repetitive negative thoughts by using a positive distraction. Do something that requires concentration to help prevent obsessing on situations that are out of your control.

2. Stay connected to friends and family

Carve out some time to stay connected even if it is just a phone call to check-in or a face-time session.

3. Make time for yourself

Taking time for yourself is important for your mental health. Use your time alone to check in with yourself and reflect on your personal experiences. It’s not selfish; it is self-care and it is vital.

4. Nourish yourself with healthy food

Eating healthy foods keeps your body in good working order and can positively affect your mood. Try to get plenty of whole foods and protein into your diet.

5. Get enough sleep 

Set a regular bedtime if possible. Turn off electronics one hour before bedtime. 

6. Exercise 

Exercise has positive benefits like increasing energy, improving your general mood, and helping you get to sleep.

7. Help Others

Good feelings come about from helping others. Volunteer at a community service agency or offer to help a friend or family member.

Stress is a reaction, whether real or imagined, to situations, events, or people. We may experience symptoms of anxiety and worry when we suffer from stress. We may even start taking actions to escape the stressful feelings. Here are some things to consider when dealing with stressful situations.

You are here. Accept where you are and move forward from there.

Don’t try to please everyone. Save some space for yourself.

Be active. Look for ways to set goals for yourself.

Laugh. It does the heart good.

Take charge of yourself. You can’t control others’ actions.

Relax and give yourself a break. 

You are not alone. Talk to someone you trust.

Dealing with life changing events can be extremely hard. Despite the challenges and barriers, you deserve to be well. This is a process that takes time, effort, and self care. Even if we regress sometimes, as we all do, it is important to keep self-care a priority. Wellness is constantly changing based on our needs, which change over time. We may need to adjust our plan as we evaluate our needs. Start by asking yourself: “What are the things in life that really bring me joy and happiness?”

For more information call TARP at 800-522-8277 or TAP at 800-253-8326.