Life can really suck sometimes. You never know when it might throw you a nasty curve ball and place you under immense stress. It might be a divorce, caring for terminally ill parents, a job lay off, losing your home or tending to children with special needs due to an illness. Often, there is no rhyme or reason to the situation and we just have to make the best of it.
The argument for self-care
When faced with these out-of-the-ordinary and highly stressful situations, the last thing you think about is self-care as it simply feels like there’s no time or head space for it. But hindsight has taught me a valuable lesson about challenging times; when faced with them, self-care must come first.
Yes, I know, this is so much easier said than done! But self-care doesn’t have to mean a full spa day. Self-care can take a variety of forms and practicing one or two self-care habits will help you stay grounded and sane during your challenging times. They also give you a great energy boost and a chance to clear your head, helping you see things with a different perspective so you can make better decisions, and improve your coping mechanisms.
Here are a few things I’ve found helped me during my hard times:
1. Create a support system
Don’t shoulder everything on your own. Be discerning about who is in your innermost circle and reach out to them for help. Use them to vent, cry, scream, shout, or ask advice. Realize too that reaching out for emotional and mental support IS NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS! We are in this game of life together and the circle you surround yourself with can really make a difference.
2. Nourish your body
Instead of reaching for coffee, soda, alcohol, or sugary drinks when stressed, hydrate with water. While it’s also very tempting to grab a pizza and other junk food to feel better when emotionally drained, healthy food will benefit you so much more. There’s nothing wrong with a ‘cheat’ meal here and there when you’re completely wiped out, but limit it to occasionally.
3. Keep active
I totally understand getting to the gym during stressful life situations may not be an option. But it is still really important to keep your body moving. When we move our body, we release endorphins and they help us feel better. Even if you just put on your favorite play list and dance for two songs, you will have more energy and stamina to deal with the stressful day ahead. Or go for a short walk out in nature, breathing in the fresh air. It will do wonders, helping you feel more grounded and centered.
4. Have faith!
Sadly, not all stressful life situations have a happy ending. There may be times we experience a tremendous amount of loss. But remember that everything in life happens for a reason. Have faith that something or someone greater than us has a plan. While we may never know or understand it, it’s in place for a good reason.
So those are some self-care tips to help you during tough times. Use them when you experience a challenging or stressful situation, never forgetting that you don’t need to fight the world all on your own.