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The Solution to Stress Less? Self Care.

The Solution to Stress Less? Self Care.

Are you feeling the stress of the holidays and life in general? Here is how to alleviate it.

There is a lot of evidence to show that people resist self care even when they need it most. Self care is not selfish. It is extremely necessary and very personal because only you know exactly what you need. But when we’re in the midst of the stress of holidays you can sometimes lose sight of the small (or large)steps you can take to counteract the frenetic energy around you.

In reading about self care, I came across two quotes that were really meaningful to me:

“ Keep taking time for yourself until you are you again.”

The month of November was so incredibly busy for me that at a certain point I just felt like I couldn’t function. Couldn’t make a decision, couldn’t get things done. So not myself. Pushing through was not the answer. The answer was to sit. And then do a face mask. And then read a book.

I’ve been thinking about the: Who? What? Why? Of Self Care and I’m curious to see if it resonates with you too.

Who Struggles with Self Care?  It’s especially hard for those who focus on other people’s feelings, needs and problems to disconnect from that pattern and ask themselves what it is that they need. Sound familiar?

What Exactly is Self Care? It’s very simply doing something that helps your body, mind or soul feel good. It does not have to be elaborate or indulgent, but the more draining the energy around you is, the more you need to counteract that energy.

When Should You Practice Self Care? Every day. Whether it is little things/moments or a decompression block. Choose a self care activity that matches your changing needs. For example, pay attention to how you physically feel by noticing pain, tension, shallow breathing. Maybe exercise would release tension. But if you feel exhausted and frantic, maybe sitting still and breathing deeply is the answer.

Why is Self Care Important? Listening to yourself and actively addressing what you need will improve your physical health, reduce anxiety and stress, boost your self esteem, protect your mental health which all leads to better relationships.

How Do You Practice Self Care?  The very basics are:

  • Focus on BOTH physical activity and stillness. Go for a walk, but also sit and read a book or listen to music. Binging on Netflix or scrolling on social  is not the same. 
  • Put yourself to bed with a calming bedtime routine and also take naps as needed.
  • Eat healthy food and drink warm tea or hot lemonade throughout the day. 
  • For extra credit, do something extra.
  • Meditate. Stop your mind from racing by starting a meditation practice.
  • Scent is a powerful way to recall a time or place when you felt at peace. This is why certain scents are used in rituals. But you can use any scent that is special to you. Spritzing yourself or applying hand cream in the afternoon when your energy is low is an easy way to reset.
  • Give yourself a facial with a steam and a mask. When under stress, the  first response is to be self critical. Be kind. Take care. Feel better.

What happens without self care?

  • Less patience with everything. 
  • Increased headaches, stomach aches and other physical symptoms of stress like skin eruptions, limp and lifeless hair.
  • Difficulty falling and staying asleep.
  • Binging/unhealthy eating. 

“When you take care of yourself, you’re a better person for yourself and others.”

There is nothing selfish in that.

Specific Steps to Stress Less:

  • Your body is in tune with everything your mind says. Download a meditation app to support yourself starting off on this process.
  • Eat real and nutritious foods.
  • Do not overload on caffeine. Switch to herbal tea or hot lemonade.
  • Ground yourself with aromatherapy. Explore lavender, juniper and patchouli which are all grounding scents.
  • Skip wine and make a golden latte before bed. Wine can feel like a stress escape but an anti-inflammatory, sleep inducing warm drink is the real self care.

My two favorite ways to take care of myself right now are:

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