The current culture of self care, self awareness, and self love is a wonderful place to abide. There isn’t a shortage of “How To” articles, self care gurus, and resources at our fingertips. As I have scrolled through Instagram and read about self care from phenomenal and well-meaning life coaches, yoga instructors, and meditation experts there has still been something missing. Who is guiding the self care for the overwhelmed, chronically ill, and those severely struggling with their mental health?
How can I practice self care when I’m in a horrible season of depression and getting dressed is the biggest accomplishment of the day?
How can I create space for self care when I am overwhelmed and my energy is low?
How can I explore the depths of self awareness when I’m under a dark cloud of brain fog and pain?
There are so many questions like these. I struggle with a mental health diagnosis and it has a ripple effect that touches every aspect of my life. It causes me physical pain, extreme fatigue, and a sense of overwhelm. I would love to implement self care habits that are portrayed on Instagram. Daily yoga, healthy recipes, great books packed full of wisdom, and treating myself to a day of alone time. However, when I’m in a difficult place it feels downright impossible to move, cook myself nutritious meals, read, and even drive myself to my favorite places for some “me time”.
So, I have created a tiny list of self care options for those of us that just find self care so taxing in our most exhausted moments.
Three Self Care Practices for the Overwhelmed
- Create a “Zen Place” in your mind and retreat. This is something I learned in therapy a couple of years ago. I was asked to imagine a safe place in my mind. Get down to every tiny detail. I have two. One is sitting on my couch wrapped in a specific gray and navy blanket that I own. In my hands I have a hot cup of ‘Sleepy Time’ tea and behind my back is my fluffy pillow. My second place is walking to the top of a mountain mid-October with my family. The leaves have begun to fall off of the trees and the smell of damp dirt fills the air. I’m laughing at my daughter as she climbs the rock to my left and I’m watching my husband walk in front of us. The place you create is yours. When you’re struggling and overwhelmed then go to your safe place. Dwell there for a moment.
- Hug someone who loves you. This includes wrapping your arms around yourself! Physical contact that is warm, tender, and loving will lift your spirits. A weighted blanket may also help.
- Get fresh air. Open a window, sit on your porch, walk out of your office for two minutes. Feel the hot or cool air on your face and be present in that moment. Is there humidity in the air? How does it feel when it kisses your skin? Are rain drops hitting the window? How does the air feel in your lungs? Breathe in.
These are three things that you can do when you’re in need of self care, but don’t have the time or energy to do something grand. Remember, self care is so important, but it’s also not another area for you to judge yourself harshly in. Simple is enough. You are enough.
You are lovely and you are loved,