By Aubrey Boggs
While there is no doubt that eating healthy food, exercise, and getting good sleep are all wonderful things to do to for self-care, those things are not always feasible for everyone. Expecting all forms of self-care to be well scheduled and planned leaves out many individuals who simply do not have circumstances which encourage or even allow that type of self-care regularly or at all.
I have had plenty of experiences with too little sleep, not having enough to eat, and no time to exercise. I have come up with a list of “on the go” self-care actions I can take when I am unable to keep up my regular routine.
- Go for a walk by myself – this is probably my favorite thing to do when I am experiencing high levels of stress, it allows me to be introspective, or to listen to a song a love while appreciating nature or the hustle of the city. If walking is not an option, as it may not be for many individuals, finding a nice spot to sit and simply be is equally calming and clarifying.¹
Take a bath or a long shower – When I am in a stressful situation I often find myself with back
or neck pain, as I sometimes become tense without noticing it. Taking a bath or a long shower
not only helps my physical pain, but it calms me down while simultaneously refreshing my spirit.
Deep breathing – There are times when I don’t have the option to really “do” anything when I
am feeling particularly stressed. If I am in a social setting or taking care of commitments I might
not have more than a few seconds to gather myself or practice self-care. In these situations I
take as many long and deep breaths as I can. (http://www.stress.org/take-a- deep-breath/)
Call/text/talk to a trusted friend or relative – I’ve found that although it can be hard to reach
out to friends for support, I feel so much better when I do. Sometimes just saying how I feel to
someone who cares about me makes a world of difference.
Reading – If I have a few minutes to read when I am experiencing stress, I get moment to think
about something else and stimulate my mind. I don’t just read books, but include anything that
interests me and makes me feel uplifted. Sometimes I read comics, or recipes, or even blogs to
change my though pattern and refresh my brain. (http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/tips-
Empowering phrases– Although I felt silly when first doing this, I’ve found that announcing
uplifting messages out loud to myself, or ideally in the mirror, has immediate effects on how I
feel. I usually say things like “I am awesome”, “I got this”, “I am strong”, or any myriad of things
that make me feel good. (http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/07/24/how-to- use-self-
What unscheduled things do you do for self-care?
- http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/a-prescription- for-better- health-go-alfresco