It’s 6 p.m. and you’ve been running around all day. You still have a few more things to do before you can call it a day, but your mind is foggy and you’re feeling extremely overwhelmed.
We’ve all been there. The hustle and bustle of life can seem like too much to handle at times. So, what can you do about it?
When these moments happen, it’s important to take some time for yourself so you can feel refreshed and ready to tackle whatever life has in store for you. It might take some time to discover what works best for you, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Here are 5 free self-care strategies that can help you make sure that overwhelming moments don’t get the best of you!
1. Move Your Body
Staying active is one of the most soothing self-care strategies you can do. You deserve a break from your typical day-to-day tasks that might be preventing you from engaging in self-care. Dance to your favorite Spotify playlist or go for a walk and breathe in some fresh air.
You could also try practicing yoga at home if it’s too cold to be outside. Yoga has a ton of health benefits. It can help you improve your flexibility and strength while decreasing your stress levels.
It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you’re active and it makes you feel good! According to Harvard Medical School, regular aerobic exercise can help treat mental conditions like anxiety and depression because of endorphin stimulation. Endorphins are hormones produced by your body that can reduce your perception of pain and improve feelings of well-being.
2. Start Journaling
Creativity is all about self-expression. There are many creative outlets, such as painting or scrapbooking, that you can dive into if you’re feeling overwhelmed. The possibilities are endless when it comes to expressing your creativity, but most people at least have a notebook with a ton of empty pages and some kind of writing utensil lying around.
Regularly writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you better understand yourself. You can’t control your emotions, but you can become more self-aware of the root of your emotions.
Remember that there are no rules to journaling. You don’t have to show anyone. You don’t even have to read what you wrote after you’re done. You can write down any negative feelings you have, rip the paper out, and throw it in the trash – symbolizing how those feelings do not define you. It may be challenging at first, but the more you practice self-reflection, the easier it will become.
3. Practice Deep Breathing
Have you ever caught yourself saying something out loud and thinking to yourself, “What just came out of my mouth?” If only you could take a step back and see things from a different perspective. Deep breathing can help you do that!
Not only is this self-care strategy free, but it’s also something you can do pretty much anywhere – even at work. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, imagine that your emotions are in a bubble. You don’t have to pop that bubble, but you can acknowledge how you are feeling at that moment.
Put the bubble to the side and focus on your mind and breathing. Breathe in for a few seconds, hold, and breathe out. Sometimes this is all you need to gain some clarity when you’re feeling overwhelmed. In fact, try it out right now! Let me know in the comments how this exercise made you feel.
4. Put Yourself First
This might seem difficult, especially if there are people in your life who constantly depend on you, but you have to put yourself first sometimes. Please give yourself permission to take care of yourself because you deserve it.
Hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. Even if no one else does, you should reward yourself for all of the effort you’ve been putting into your job, relationships, and family. Catch up on your favorite TV show. Read a book. Go on a date. Spend some quality time with your friends or family.
Do something that you enjoy for once. Taking time for yourself will help you avoid the unfortunate burnout that typically comes with taking care of everyone else.
5. Take a Break From Social Media
Social media can be a great asset if you want to stay connected with friends and family around the world, but it’s not always good for your mental health. Social media can lead to, or even exacerbate, anxious and depressive symptoms.
Being bombarded with invasive ads and updates of people’s lives that seem far more exciting than your own can put a toll on you. Most people only show the best sides of their lives on social media platforms. No one’s life is perfect. The imperfections and spontaneity of life are what make it so beautiful.
If you find your perception of reality is warped by negative headlines, “perfect” influencer lives, or offensive comments online, take a break and use the time that you’d be scrolling on social media to engage in self-care. Try out any of the free self-care strategies on this list or do something social offline if you can.
I know it may be harder to see your loved ones these days, but building bonds with others is one of the best ways to get through overwhelming moments. If you’re feeling stressed, reach out to a friend or family member. You don’t have to be alone through this hard time!
Your turn! Write your own self-care strategies in the comments below. Let’s support one another in self-care!