This week has been a hard week. Everyone has hard weeks, whether they are anxious or not. I am no different than the millions of other people walking this beautiful world who have also had a hard week. It is important to learn how to take care of yourself when this happens. What is important is not focusing on how hard, stressful, or upsetting your week may have been. Sounds easy, right? Nope, that is a super hard thing to do especially when my specialty is stressing and worrying (thanks anxiety).
Unfortunately, it is not easy to let go of the bad and my anxiety makes it all too easy to fret, obsess, and worry over everything (even when something is already done and I can’t change it). I have to consciously remind myself (and I challenge you to do the same) that it has already happened and there is not one thing I can do to change it. I can’t change what someone else did or said, and I can’t change my reactions or actions in response to someone else either. What’s done is done. I have to accept what has happened and move on, or I will be stuck on it for weeks. I have to have perspective, too. Perspective that this one little 5 day work week is so small in comparison to the hundreds of days that I have spent having GOOD weeks. The GOOD does outweigh the BAD and that is important to remember.
It is important to focus on what you can do to get through it, get over, forgive, and have a better week next week. One way to get over problems, forgive others, manage your anxiety, and have a better week next week is to remember to set aside time to prioritize yourself. Do what you physically, mentally, and emotionally need to do to find peace and happiness. This is called taking the time to care for YOURSELF.
Self-care is extremely important for overall health, especially mental health. I can’t say this enough….if you don’t take care of YOU then there is no way you can handle what is expected of you mentally, physically, or emotionally. Your life, obligations, stresses, and anxiety will run rampage until you invest in YOURSELF. Although this post is geared towards using self-care to manage anxiety, it is also a post to share things that ALL people need to do to help themselves be the best versions of themselves, anxious or not. Every single person needs to be reminded to take care of themselves, prioritize, and recharge so that they CAN be the best versions of themselves, not just for others but for themselves.
In the world we live in we are often times too focused on helping others (sometimes before we help ourselves), being perfect, fretting over decisions we cannot make for others, worrying over outcomes we have no control over, over achieving, being what the world wants us to be (even if it means sacrificing who we are), etc. Instead we need to be focused on helping ourselves and learning to control ONLY what we are able to control. I want to be the best person I can possibly be, and I want to be as happy, non-anxious, and peaceful as I can be in this crazy wonderful life of mine. Why? Because when I am bettering myself, when I am happy, and when I am peaceful then I am a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc. Self-care makes me ABLE to be a better person; the person I WANT to be.
This said, I put together 12 Self-Care Tips that I use to help stay on top of and manage my anxiety. I hope these tips help you take care of yourself (anxious or not). I challenge you to INVEST IN YOURSELF!
1.Take care of your body’s basic physical needs.
Avoid high amounts of sugar and caffeine, exercise, and get enough sleep. You will be AMAZED with how much making sure you are doing these basic (simple) things really helps you and your anxiety.
2.Let go of perfection.
You are AMAZING, but you will NEVER be perfect. You can do ANYTHING, but you are not able to do EVERYTHING. And you know what? That’s okay! Let go of feeling the pressure to be perfect and to do everything. It is simply unattainable. Learn to be content doing a GREAT job-not a PERFECT job. If you focus on perfection you will only stress yourself out, feel like you have not lived up to your expectations, and you will obsess over everything. You need to let go of your need to be perfect.
Take the time to go get your nails and hair done, go for that massage, and buy yourself that new dress if it makes you feel FABULOUS. I am not telling you to spend all your money on pampering yourself (don’t blame that monthly budget on me he-he), but I am telling you to invest some of that money into YOU, especially if it makes a big difference in how you feel.
4.Be aware of your emotions/feelings and actually process them.
Acknowledge what you are feeling and know that it is important for you to understand what you are feeling and why. Do not distract yourself from dealing with your emotions. Process what you are feeling, and find a person or a technique that will help you deal with your emotions/anxiety in a HEALTHY way.
I know that I don’t always feel like getting together with people. However, if I just MAKE myself get up and go get together with others I feel great because I did. It is not always easy pulling myself out of my yoga pants and t-shirt (and did I mention shower he-he). But… just getting dressed like the adult I am and getting a good visit in with family or friends is enough to make me feel much better 9 times out of 10. I always feel better after a good visit with someone, and I am always grateful that I dragged my tush out of the house.
6.Enjoy a cup of tea/coffee.
Do you need a few minutes each day that you can really look forward to? I REALLY look forward to making my second cup of coffee at 12:30 after I get back from lunch duty. I sip my coffee while catching up on e-mails or talking to my co-workers, and I really love having that small window of time be just for me and my coffee. Set aside 10-15 mins to make and enjoy that cup of coffee/tea and just sit. Sit and read your devotional, sit and be in silence, sit and visit with a friend, sit and catch up on something, etc. Whatever you decide to do with this time, allow yourself to look forward to it, and give yourself permission to do nothing but relax.
7.Make goals and work towards them.
It is important to grow in this beautiful life. Grow your relationships, grow your experiences, grow your finances, and grow as a person, etc. Make goals and work towards your dreams. Make a plan to accomplish your goals, detail how you will achieve it, and work towards it. You will feel energized and excited to have a plan in place to accomplish something YOU have decided is important. You will feel even BETTER when you achieve it.
8.Get to know yourself.
Spend some time alone doing what you enjoy. Think about what you could be doing that you would really enjoy. Get to know yourself. For me, I really enjoy sitting in the sun reading my book. I always feel so content and relaxed when I get a chance to do this. Figure out what it is you enjoy and DO it. I knew I enjoyed writing, but couldn’t think of a way to do it. Yet, here I am. I thought about what would make me happy, and developed the plan to start this blog .I am so glad I got to know myself, and am doing what I know will make me happy. On the same hand, figure out what you don’t enjoy and learn to say NO.
9.Try something new.
Trying new things allows you to look forward to something, and become excited about something new and positive in your life. Try that new type of food, try to complete that art craft, plan to do something new as a hobby, or find a new place to visit, etc. The world has endless new opportunities that are at your feet to try. What’s the worst that could happen? You could decide you really didn’t like it. What’s the best that could happen? You may fall in love with something new-it’s worth the risk!
10.Invest in, and work on, your relationships.
I can’t begin to emphasize how important relationships are. Having people I can turn to when I need them is a HUGE part in helping me with my life in general as well as my anxiety. You are better when you are loved by others than you ever are alone. I want people that I can call on to celebrate this crazy life with me, and people that I can call on to help me through the thick of my problems. I also want to be there for those that I love and care about. Therefore, I take the time to invest in the people I have in my life. Prioritize and invest in the people who love and invest in you. Invest time and energy into your marriage, even when you are dragging and just want to lay down. Take that 5 extra minutes to sit together and talk! If you have a few spare minutes call that friend back and connect with them, you’ll feel better for doing it. Is there someone you really enjoy but haven’t spoken with in a while? Check in with them, make plans to get together, and enjoy their company. Having people in your life that you can rely on and have help you through the hard times and celebrate the good times is what MAKES your life enjoyable and bearable. Take the time to invest in them!
11.Learn to pray.
I know I wrote about this last week, but praying is a WONDERFUL thing. Learning to pray is instrumental in feeling content, forgiven, and recharged. I pray for those that I am worried about. I pray for peace and reassurance when my own worry takes over. I pray to be forgiven for the things that I have done, and then I give myself permission to forgive myself. Pray helps me let go of things that would normally bring me down.
12.Work out your finances.
Money is something that a lot of us stress over. Money shouldn’t be as important as it is, but it necessary for a lot of things. Money is necessary for your power, car, home, healthcare, food, etc. Money can be a huge factor in making your anxiety worse. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your finances, take the time to sit down and write out a plan that will get you where you want to be financially. You will feel better for actually planning and feeling more in control than you would have felt just ignoring it without a plan to fix it. Invest in yourself by working to eliminate this as a potential stress.
I hope these tips help you, and I challenge you to INVEST in yourself!!
Until next week,
Hey all you awesome people reading my blog. I'm Ginger and this blog chronicles how I live my life fabulously with anxiety.