5 self-care strategies when the going gets tough
This past weekend I found myself inert on the couch, trying to find the energy to get up and get moving. In addition to not sleeping well, I was navigating a whole slew of work and parenting challenges. I was exhausted. And, I know I’m not alone.
Over the past month 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 difficult time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
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 anxiety, what are the top self-care practices you recommend to help people find their center on their toughest days?“ Ahhh — it felt good to be able to pause and remind myself what I do when I’m struggling. Here’s what I shared:
Get grateful. Voicing what we’re grateful for heightens our mood, floods our body with endorphins, shifts and broadens how we perceive the world and supports us in remembering what really matters. Try starting each day with a “gratitude bomb”; before you take a step out of bed, give thanks, and then ask 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 seconds, hold for three seconds, breathe out for three seconds. 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!
I’D LOVE TO SUPPORT YOU THIS SPRING! HERE ARE THREE OPPORTUNITIES:
- Schedule me to plan/facilitate a custom workshop or retreat for your company, team or organization on life balance, resiliency or self-renewal in 2019-2020. I’ve been speaking professionally for 25+ years on work-life balance and managing your energy. My clients include Fortune 500 companies, national conferences, nonprofits and organizations. Learn more and email me at workshops at reneetrudeau dot com with questions.
- Find 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 and join our inner circle ($100 off through 4/30 for training; learn more + includes private coaching with me).
- Two new retreats! Join me May 1oth from 9-4 in San Antonio, TX at the stunning, peaceful, 19-acre Cathedral Park at the Bishop Jones Center for our New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat (Mother’s Day Weekend); check out the bring-a-friend specials but don’t delay-this always sells out; learn more. And just announced, a June 8th Brevard, NC mini New Way of Being Retreat; learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist 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 and mindfulness including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 17-year-old son. More on her background here.
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