When you're going through a stressful time, it takes a lot of work to try to “hold it all together”. Working so hard to push your emotions down to get through the day, or putting on a good face can be exhausting—and you may end up finding it difficult to take care of yourself in the most basic ways. During a crisis, a major life change, or while struggling with your mood and anxiety, your basic physical, social and emotional needs can easily slide to the bottom of your list of priorities.
For many people, the notion of self care can sound foreign, unnecessary, or even selfish. It can seem easier to keep pushing yourself through, but this can often prolong your problems. Whether you're a postpartum mom swept up in the moment to moment care of your family or someone struggling with anxiety or depression, tending to your own emotional and physical well-being can be a daunting, but very important task.
There is a very strong connection between emotional well-being and basic self care. At the most basic level, self care includes how well you sleep, your diet and exercise, and rest and relaxation. Other important types of self care focus on taking care of important relationships and your emotional well-being. Taking good care of yourself also helps build resilience, so that you can weather difficulties, and maintain a healthy relationship with yourself and others. What self care looks like is different for everyone—ranging from eating well to joining a support group, avoiding alcohol or setting a boundary by saying no. Here are some things to think about:
Keep It Simple
Just a small boost can get you moving in a better direction. If you're going through a challenging time, your mental, emotional and physical energy can easily become depleted. Symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD can make it difficult just to get out of bed. Deciding to make big changes or set ambitious goals for yourself are not likely to be successful-or helpful. But by paying attention to the physical and emotional signals that your body and mind are sending you, you can identify small steps that can help you make a little bit of time and space for yourself. When life feels overwhelming, focusing on the simplest ways of nurturing yourself is more likely help you find relief.
Think Beyond Physical Self Care
When you're busy just trying to get through the day, it can seem difficult to find the time and energy to do even the simplest things that might help you feel better. Depression, anxiety and PTSD commonly lead to difficulties in maintaining important relationships, and can make it difficult to meet the day to day demands of life(physically and emotionally). Asking for support(professional or from friends/family), deliberately checking in with a friend, or learning healthy coping skills can keep you connected to the important people in your life and the things you enjoy.
Saying no doesn't come easily to everyone. If this is true for you, you may find yourself trying to make sure you don't let anyone down, even when it means sacrificing your own well-being. Asking yourself if you need to start saying no, let go of a few commitments or adjust your expectations of yourself is a good place to begin. And if saying no brings up feelings of guilt, self doubt or anxiety, then this might be a good time to take a look at how this issue is really impacting you.
If you’re going through a stressful time and finding it difficult cope on your own, help is available. To learn more about how therapy can help you overcome anxiety, depression and trauma/PTSD, please give me a call at (626) 808-5463 or email me at email@example.com. I look forward to talking to you- Holly