Many people are struggling right now. Some are barely keeping their heads above water. I was visiting with a dear friend yesterday who is battling depression. “It comes and it goes. But when it returns, I often freeze and forget what helps me most; all my wonderful self-care practices fly right out the window,” she said.
I get it! Recently I received some surprising news that momentarily sent me into a fear spiral. And while I teach, practice and evangelize about the practice of self-care, for the first 24 hours after this incident, I was paralyzed. Everything I knew about taking sweet care of myself was off sunning on a remote island.
Can you relate? I think we all know what helps us “feel good fast” (both the healthy and unhealthy habits) but when our body and brain get triggered by big, bold, old emotions, we revert to a primal state.
But, good news. There are several simple, nurturing self-care practices that can bring us back to our innate well-being quite quickly.
Here are six things to do when life feels hard:
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. It’s a gift that can be accessed anytime, anywhere and it’s free.
Go outside. Time in nature is often referred to as the ultimate antidepressant because it affects us physically, mentally and emotionally. A date with Mother Nature reduces stress, enhances our mood/overall mental health, helps us to “reset,” promotes cognitive abilities, fosters problem solving and creativity, supports work/life balance, stimulates social interactions and enhances family connection and intimacy. Read Nature: The Ultimate Anti-depressant.
Move your body …breathe. Ever heard the phrase, “the issues are in the tissues” …? Most of us need all the help we can get to move out of our heads and into our bodies. Go to a yoga, Nia or qi gong class, take a hike, walk around the block or in your parking lot at work-just move and breathe! One of my favorite breathing exercises is equal parts breathing (so detoxifying and calming for our systems!). Slowly breathe in for four, exhale for six. Try this yoga-style, through your nose, with your mouth closed.
Ask for help. People who are comfortable asking for and receiving help—whether it’s from a coach, therapist, mentor, professional organization, business partner, neighbor, friend or colleague—experience greater success and feel more connected and confident in all areas of their lives. Learning to ask for and receive help can be one of the most important skills you can cultivate AND it can open you up to all kinds of new perspectives. Having a support system can make all the difference in how you experience the journey. Read more.
Do less. We’re entering a whole new frontier that requires us to find more space to breathe, think, dream, and digest. We’re craving more time to just be — so we can actually integrate into our hearts and souls what’s happening moment to moment. The more choices and decision we have, the less happy we are. Over-doing keeps us from experiencing life in the moment and is taxing to our well-being.
Feel to heal. The more we are able to just be with what we’re feeling, the more we are able to heal from old wounds. When we “feel our feelings,” we become more open and accessible to our loved ones, we’re more connected to our passions and desires, we become comfortable voicing our needs and drawing clear boundaries, we begin to harvest the gifts that come from living with the light and the dark and contrary to what we might think—we actually begin to feel more alive and less fearful. Read When we feel it, we heal it.
Be kind. Always be kind. You don’t know what battles your brothers and sisters in line at Target, on the playground or in the cube next to you are waging. This is a time to be more curious, to move a little slower and to put people first and things second. Let me know how I can support you.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU? HERE ARE TWO OPPORTUNITIES:
- Help your team, organization or employees feel more energized, creative and resilient in 2020! My primary work is speaking to professionals worldwide on how to find balance, release stress & cultivate resiliency through practicing the art/science of self-care. Whether it’s a 50-minute keynote, 90 minute interactive workshop or a half or full-day leadership retreat, I’d love to support your organization. Learn more here and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your next event.
- Ready to embrace new ways of being in 2020? Check out my self-paced, personal, audio classes and find balance, connection and joy in the new year. Only $99. 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 find 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. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups and women’s retreats based on her work. She’s the author of two books on life balance 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 Renee here.