Healing is a process. Instant miracles do happen, yet most folks will need to work things out over time.
Actually, when dealing with emotional wounds, you will probably feel worse before getting better. After all, you have to dig up “scar tissue” to get to the root of pain in your heart. And if you don’t take care of yourself during this “procedure,” you may find yourself retraumatized.
For me, The Guest House describes this reality perfectly:
“Grief is an intricate part of the trauma recovery journey. Reliving trauma can mean having to grieve what trauma took from them all over again. Survivors have to now grieve the loss of time and the many years of their lives not being heard.”
Being aware of this truth, I understand that making self-care part of your routine is vital. Even the research shows that the more we take care of ourselves, the more we will see benefits in all facets of our lives.
So below, I share tips for everything from indulging in your favourite foods to spending time with the people most important to you. Whether they suit you temporarily or in the long run, make self-care a priority in your life.
1. Practice Gratitude
Life may be far from the best, but you have been blessed with the opportunity to see another day. Gratitude is a way to give thanks for what you have in the present and eliminate negativity.
Try journaling every night about five things you experienced throughout the day that you’re grateful for. No worries if you find that your list is repetitive over the week, month or year. Keep at it.
Slow down from the busyness and never-ending demands that vie for your attention. Take a deep breath and count to ten a few times. Focusing on your breathing allows you to stop and gain composure.
There are so many cool apps and tools to help you settle your mind and step back from the chaos. Some of my fav mental health exercises are found on YouTube. Calm, TalkSpace, and Anxiety Canada are also great.
3. Get moving
Exercise is self-care 101. It can be easy to neglect it during a pandemic as we are often locked up inside. But you know better.
Make regular exercise a part of your day. That doesn’t mean you need to be the next Julian Michaels. Just walking around your neighbourhood can do the trick. I love Leslie Sansone’s Miracle Miles program! All done in the comfort of my home.
If you’re not sleeping, then you’re not taking care of yourself. FYI: I don’t mean a quick snooze. Turn that cell phone off and put the work away. Poor sleep has many negative effects on your mood, leading to anxiety, depression, and other disorders.
Anything above six hours a night is best to replenish your body and mind. Please don’t neglect it.
5. Connect with others
Making time for your family and friends can be hard when you want to curl up and shut the world out. So isolating yourself may appear to be the best solution. However, close connections are important to your well-being.
Are you spending enough time with your friends doing things you love? Are you nurturing your relationships with family and experiencing the warmth of a supportive network? Never allow what life throws your way to steal your loved ones from you.
One of the best self-care tips is loving yourself. That may include time alone to recharge and recalibrate. Prioritize putting your needs first. Know that it’s okay to say no when you feel drained.
I’m sure you’ve heard many variations of the following saying, “you can’t help others until you help yourself.” That is true today more than ever before.
7. Healthy Eating
Eating well refuels your energy. But, sometimes, you’ve got to put down that brown rice and lean chicken and go for that chocolate bar.
Rather than feeling guilty about your sweet tooth, own it, and enjoy it. Who wants to eat healthy 100% of the time anyways.
Allowing people to shame or dictate what you should and shouldn’t eat will only rob you of joy and confidence. Exercise moderation, and you will be okay.
Is there something that should be here but isn’t? This list is by no means exhaustive. Please share your thoughts and suggestions.