How To Practice Self-Care When You're Feeling Down
Treat Yourself With These Six Self-Care Tips
I think we can all agree that sometimes life can get extremely hectic and it can all feel like it’s overwhelming or too much for us to handle. It’s at times like these that I like to remember what my grandma has always said to me in times of distress: “This too, shall pass.” While it’s great to remember to take a deep breath to help calm you down and see the bigger picture, waiting around for things to change on their own is not going to help; you have to take action. You might be suffering from depression, maybe you’re dealing with anxiety or PTSD. Whatever it is, we understand that life is sometimes very hard, which is why we’ve put together this primer on how to practice self-care.
Self-Care vs. Avoidance
It’s important to realize that self-care isn’t a period of laziness and avoidance. In fact, self-care is a series of deliberate choices made to improve your emotional and/or physical wellbeing - and perhaps improve your ability to function in society as well. It’s not endless days sleeping in, eating nothing but sugar and binging show after show on Netflix. It’s not a series of candlelit baths. If you feel like you’re withdrawing from society - and society here can simply mean your close friends - you’re probably not practicing self-care. Self-care is about nourishing yourself, taking care of your body, nurturing your emotional health, and finding small ways you can feel accomplished in your daily life. It’s about loving yourself - and treating yourself with the respect that love demands.
Make Guilt-Free Time for Yourself
The first rule of self-care is to recognize that time spent on yourself is never wasted. When you make time to see your friends and loved ones, do you feel guilty and like you’re wasting time? Of course not! You are worthy of your own time, too - guilt-free. It’s not just okay to take regular breaks for yourself; it’s crucial and an indispensable factor in maintaining emotional and mental health.
Take time for yourself each day; if you have to, use a timer to ensure you’re focusing on yourself, and not on what you “should” be doing instead. Ditch the guilt; embrace your me-time.
Get Clean & Smell Nice Things
Whether depressed or anxious or feeling stressed and short on time, taking a moment to breathe and bathe is often one of the first things to go. Either we don’t have the energy or the interest to shower or we rush through it without a pause. Daily washing rituals can easily become daily acts of self-care - you’re keeping yourself clean, which shows respect for your body and can help you feel more put together. Playing with makeup might carry that feeling even farther.
It’s also the perfect time to practice aromatherapy - try peppermint-infused hair care products to energize yourself, or lavender-infused blends to nurture calm. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on your skin and hair care products, either: just pick something that smells good and makes you feel nice. If you can’t take the time to linger in a bath and read or endure a full shower, simply washing your face once a day can work wonders on making you feel fresh.
Nourish Yourself & Eat Good Things
When you’re not feeling great, feeding yourself can feel like it’s not worth the effort. Self-care is the name of the game, though - you’re absolutely worth it. Remember that! And while it’s great to indulge yourself occasionally - who here hasn’t eaten an entire pint of ice cream on their own, or bought their weight in discounted Valentine’s Day chocolate? - it’s important to make some sensible food choices, too. Eat some complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fiber-rich fruits, or nuts. Drink some water; hydration is vital to your body’s function, not to mention your skin and hair health.
It also pays to plan for those days when you don’t feel up to preparing food - practice self-care by cooking a meal with built-in leftovers that you can refrigerate or freeze and reheat at a later date for an easy and nourishing meal.
Build Yourself Up & Do One Thing
It’s hard to be productive when we’re suffering from depression or anxiety (and many other conditions), but then our lack of productivity becomes another thing to beat ourselves up with. Another way to practice self-care is by doing one thing a day - just one thing - to build yourself up with a sense of accomplishment. It doesn’t have to be a significant thing! It can be as simple as knitting a row on a knitting project, cleaning off part of your coffee table, or washing one dish. Any positive movement is a foundation to build momentum on - and if you suffer a really bad day and can’t get your one thing done? Don’t sweat it: just start again tomorrow.
Practicing self-care is about taking these small, practical steps - and still rewarding yourself, too. When things are hard, have a piece of chocolate, use a deep conditioner for some hair TLC, stay home all day reading or buy that amazing new shade of lipstick. Treat yo’self the way Donna Meagle would, and do it more often. Just don’t overdo it! And remember that you’re worth all of your tender loving care.