Along with the rest of the Self Help side of the internet, I've been reading a lot lately about the importance of Self Love and Self Care. When we think of Self Care, we may conjure up ideas of massages, spas, and professional therapy. Powerful, singular events. These are great but perhaps it is even more important to work cheap, easy, daily techniques into your regular life. Several days this week, I've woken up with zero ambition to do more than roll over and go back to bed. I had to find small, immediate ways to bring light to my insides, relieve my brain of its Spinning Thought Wheel of Doom, and treat myself nicely.
Small Ways to Care for Yourself on Days Where You Really Don't Feel Like Caring About Anything
▽ Stretch! I love yoga but don't always have the patience or time to do a whole routine. However, exercise and endorphins are surefire ways to clear the gloom so I try to go through one or two sun salutes and maybe throw in a couple of jumping jacks.
▽ Similarly, take deep breaths. Try to slow your whirling brain. Use your breath to focus on the present. Inhale good thoughts and positive energy! Exhale destructive thoughts and negative energy! I found it helpful to take a deep breath in and then repeat the words "peace", "love", and "joy" softly to myself while exhaling. Try it! It's like soft self-hypnosis.
▽ Drink a glass of water. Refresh your body! Better yet, throw in a lemon or some of that Emergen C powder! You can even sign up for free samples on their website (I just did!). The placebo effect of orange flavored nutrients always makes me feel bright and energized!
▽ Sit in that warm patch of sunlight in the kitchen to eat your lunch instead of retreating to the cold, dark living room. Sunshine makes you happier. There is science behind it.
▽ Take a hot shower. Wash away the stink of depression!
▽ Eat good food. If you enjoy cooking, prepare a nice meal for yourself. If, like me, you can barely make toast, do NOT spend time on this task! You will inevitably burn something and sink deeper into despair. Eat something lovely that requires minimal effort. For me, this was a ripe avocado with salt and pepper.
▽ Talk to/text/call a trusted friend/family member/significant other about your blue mood. Seek out that one person who knows just how to give you a pep talk and will affirm your worth.
▽ Talk to/text/call a trusted friend/family member/significant other who will make you laugh. Seek out that one person who will send you a hundred texts featuring jokes about The Hobbit.
▽ Look your best. Or at least, slightly better than usual. Or at least, brush your hair. Compliment your reflection.
▽ Get the heck out of the house and go for a walk. Take yourself to the grocery store and buy a candy bar. Travel to the dog park and watch the happy puppies play. Move your butt around the block. Something! Just get out of the house!
Usually, when I'm feeling down, I beat myself up about it. Or I hassle myself into getting over my mood as soon as possible so it doesn't interrupt my plans for the day. But these methods don't work. Generally, they just make it worse.
What did work was putting myself on a mission to locate immediate ways I could be gentle to myself. Making the effort to take care will put you on the path to being well again!