If there’s anything we’ve learned in 2020, it’s to expect the unexpected. Uncertainty has become the new normal. As we head into the back-to-school season, it’s understandable if that has you feeling some type of way.
Self-care is the simple act of taking time for yourself and doing things that make you feel good. Whether it’s reading, taking a bath, doing a face mask or doing crafts, these small actions make a big difference in our overall well-being, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
In today’s post, we give you self-care ideas for when you’re feeling a little less than perfect. Remember, it’s okay to have a bad day—and it’s important to take time for yourself.
Self-care ideas for when you feel: ANXIOUS
Anxiety is extremely common during everyday life, so it’s understandable that stress amid the COVID-19 pandemic has the majority of people in the U.S. feeling some level of anxiety. The word anxious is described as “experiencing worry, unease, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”
When you are feeling anxious, try a combination of the following:
Get some fresh air and exercise. Exercise is very important for mitigating anxiety. Moving your body decreases muscle tension and shifts your energy and attention to something else.
Take a bath. Warm water and aromatherapy can be extremely soothing, and they come together perfectly in a bath. Leave electronics in another room, light a candle, play some music and/or read a book.
Try a guided meditation. Deep breathing is very helpful for calming anxiety, and those that have a meditation practice will tell you how wonderful it is for handling stress. PsychCentral says “when you're meditating, you're intentionally focused on the here and now. Meditation also helps with anxiety because it quiets an overactive brain.”
Self-care ideas for when you feel: SAD
Sadness is the state of feeling sorrow. With illness and strife seemingly all around us in 2020, it’s normal to feel sad at times. In these moments, take some time for yourself to honor your feelings and move through it.
Write a list of things you’re grateful for. The practice of gratitude redirects our attention from negative thoughts to positive ones. There are always things to be grateful for, and when you force yourself to list them out, you actively acknowledge the good things in your life.
Watch a feel-good movie. Pick a favorite movie from your past and watch it under a cozy blanket. It’s important to pick one you already know you love, because you’ll activate nostalgia, a happy and powerful feeling of fondness for the past.
Make-up your mood. Lift your spirits with some make-up! We’re not sure why it works, but putting some effort and attention into your appearance can definitely shift your mood. Maybe it’s a little bit “fake it ‘til you make it,” but there’s nothing wrong with that. Grab that red lipstick!
Self-care ideas for when you feel: UNMOTIVATED / UNINSPIRED
Are you feeling tired of the couch, but can’t seem to get yourself off of it? You’re not alone—but you can do something about it! Here are some ideas to get your energy up.
Get some SUN! Vitamin D supports the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system, so it makes sense that a little bit of sunshine can not only brighten your day, but can also spark some creative energy. Don’t forget to wear your SPF!
Color! Pull out the markers or crayons and get back to younger you! Coloring is a great way to activate your creative side by thinking with your right brain and doing something with your hands. Grab a fun adult coloring book from Amazon!
Have a dance party of one. Pump up the happy jams, and dance like no one is watching! As your heart rate goes up and your blood gets flowing, so do those feel-good endorphins. Dance for a couple of songs to jump-start your energy level.
Self-care ideas for when you feel: LONELY
Humans are social animals, so the 2020 realities of social distancing have taken their toll on people of all ages. If you’re missing your family and friends, here are a few ideas for how to show yourself (and them) some love.
Write some cards or letters. Everyone loves getting something unexpected in the mail! Channeling your energy into a card or letter to a loved one will not only bring you joy as you think about them, but it will also deliver the same to them when they get your letter. It’s time to bring back this thoughtful practice!
Sing. According to this writer at Psychology Today, “It’s almost impossible to feel lonely when you’re singing. I’ve tried it, and it works. Sing solo or let your favorite singer keep you company as you sing together.” Alexa, play Folklore by Taylor Swift.
Self-care ideas for when you feel: TIRED
It may sound obvious, but rest is an extremely important part of self-care. If you’re feeling exhausted, your body is trying to tell you something! Learn to rest when you are tired.
Take a power nap. “Just 20 minutes is all you need to get the benefits of napping, such as improved alertness, enhanced performance, and a better mood. Naps of that length keep you in the lightest stage of non-REM sleep, making it easier for you to get up and go after your snooze session,” says Sleep.org. Make sure to set that alarm!
Eat more often. What we eat and how often we eat can majorly contribute to our energy levels. Harvard says that “it's better to eat small meals and snacks every few hours than three large meals a day. This approach can reduce your perception of fatigue because your brain needs a steady supply of nutrients.”
Exercise. It may seem counterintuitive, but exercising can wake you right up by increasing the levels of oxygen in your blood as well as your circulation. Exercising also causes your body to release epinephrine and norepinephrine, hormones that can make you feel energized.
The Cornerstones of Self-care
The most important thing to remember about self-care is the main purpose, which is taking the time out of your day to honor your body and mind’s need for love. Taking time for yourself is NOT selfish. On the contrary, taking time for yourself allows you to show up better for others. Stay strong this year, and remember that we’re all this together.