5 self-care strategies for your toughest days

Yesterday morning I found myself inert on the couch, trying to find the energy to shower and head to the office  (I had slept very little due to a tough parenting patch). I know I’m not alone. Lately, I’ve watched many of my friends and clients struggle to stay afloat. Whether it’s swimming through collective stress brought on by the current political/economic climate, navigating a health crisis or loss, feeling isolated in the midst of a career transition or dealing with a difficult relationship challenge–many are living hour to hour and having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.


When you’re having a tough day, what self-care practices help you find your center and tap into greater self-compassion for your current life stage?

On a recent walk, my dear friend Nicole asked me, “Based on everything you’ve learned over the last 20 years about calming the brain and body and helping to reduce stress/anxiety, what are the top self-care practices you recommend to help people find their center on their toughest days? Ahhh, it felt good just to be able to pause and remind myself what I do when I’m struggling. Here’s what I shared with Nicole:

Get grateful. Voicing what we’re grateful for heightens our mood, floods our body with endorphins, shifts and broadens how we see the world and supports us in remembering what really matters. Try starting each day with a gratitude bomb; before you even step out of bed, give thanks, and then get your friends and family to voice what they appreciate.

Do less. Navigating uncertain times requires more space to breathe, feel, digest and discern. We need time to just be so we can integrate what’s happening around us and re-calibrate. Say no; overdoing is depleting. Give yourself full permission to do less.

Go outside. Time in nature–the ultimate antidepressant–positively affects our physical, mental and emotional well-being. It reduces stress, enhances our mood, helps us to “reset,” promotes creativity and problem solving, and supports work/life balance. Plant your bare feet on the ground, lie on a blanket in your backyard or have lunch under a tree. Change your environment and you’ll change your thoughts.

Move your body & breathe. Ever heard the phrase, “The issues are in the tissues”? Conscious movement gets us out of our heads and into the present moment. Yoga, qi gong, NIA and walking are particularly fortifying. Try this detoxifying breathing exercise (through your nose, mouth closed):  breathe in for three, hold for three, breathe out for three. Repeat ten times.

Ask for help. Cultivating the ability to ask for and receive support–whether it’s from a coach, therapist, mentor, neighbor, or co-worker–helps you feel more connected, calm and confident when facing tough times. Learning this skill can be life changing!

Nicole inspired us to create Self-Care Comfort Cards (see below) that highlight my top tips.  I’m offering these colorful, grounding 4×6 postcards with my 5 favorite self-care practices for uncertain times for free. I’d be happy to send you a small stack for your workplace, clients, yoga class, school group or book club. Just email info at reneetrudeau dot com letting us know your address and desired quantity (we’re offering packs of 5, 10, 15, or 25).  We just ask that you first pay for postage, then we’ll handle the rest. These are great to post in your office, car, on your refrigerator or anywhere you’ll see these reminders on a regular basis. Enjoy!


Self-care comfort cards for your work, school or community group. Great reminders for ways to quickly find your center.

I’D LOVE TO SUPPORT YOU AT AN UPCOMING RETREAT! Craving clarity, a greater sense of purpose and deep to-the-bones rest and renewal?  Join me at an upcoming retreat. Our retreats always sell out, so don’t wait to register. Here’s what’s coming up:

women's retreat

1440 Multiversity near Santa Cruz, CA is the newest retreat center to join the legends. Nestled in ancient redwood trees, it’s stunning, expansive & restorative. Join me here April 20-22 for Embracing the Wild Unknown; reserve your room today! Retreat packages start at just $518.

  • Join me THIS FRIDAY! I’ll be in the ancient California redwoods April 20-22 at 1440 Multiversity near Santa Cruz, CA for Embracing the Wild Unknown: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat. This gorgeous new retreat center –nestled in the CA redwoods offers an easy 20 minute shuttle ride from the San Jose, CA airport. It features a healing spa, expansive forest trails, amazing CA cuisine, mind-body classes and more.  This will be a rare, intimate retreat limited to 20–a great chance to get personal support from me and ideal for women asking, “What’s next?”
  • Once a year I offer a Texas one-day self-renewal retreat on Mother’s Day weekend (but they sell out quickly!). We just announced our May 11 New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat (check out our bring-a friend special which includes a Kendra Scott jewelry gift and reserve your spot today).
  • Craving authentic community and want to find (or create) your tribe? Learn more about our global sisterhood of RTA-Certified Facilitators  and empower/support women in your community!  More here on how to become a RTA-Certified Facilitator  ($100 off through 4/30; includes private coaching with me) and join our inner circle.

Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by coach/author/speaker and self-care evanglist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum.  She is the author of three books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 16-year-old son. More on her background here.