Don’t worry, you are not alone. It’s perfectly normal to feel a little less than your best after all the baubles and glitter have been packed away. But the truth is, we cannot function at our very best if we are feeling low or stressed, so never feel bad about taking care of your mental health and well-being; you will be doing yourself a massive favour simply by being kind to yourself.
Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. It allows you to serve others more effectively and sustainably.Unknown
Here are a few helpful suggestions:
- Find something to be grateful for every day. It’s inevitable that you are going to have your down days. It’s especially important on these days to find at least one thing you are grateful for because this will help you to shift your mind and energy away from your problems and give you something positive and good to think about.
- Break out the chocolate (dark chocolate is more healthy—just saying). Eat it really slowly, and savour every • single • bite.
- Concentrate on your breathing. Practice 5-5-5-5. Deep breathing soothes the body and the mind. Breathe in for a count of 5, hold your breath for 5 counts, and then exhale slowly while counting to 5 again. Repeat 5 times. Practice this exercise any time you feel your stress levels rising.
- Give up the need to seek the approval of others. Such will only sap your energy and deplete your self-esteem.
“Give the gift of absence to those who do not appreciate your presence.”Unknown
- Learn to say “no”. Saying no sometimes doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a smart person.
- Set yourself “realistic” and “achievable” goals this year. Achieving something new—no matter how small—will give you a massive confidence boost and give you something to look forward to. Break your goal down into “bite sizes” which will help to make it more attainable, and promise to treat yourself to something special once you complete.
- Have an utterly lazy weekend. Get up (whenever), shower and pop on a clean set of lounge wear (or PJ’s) and chill around the house all weekend doing just whatever takes your fancy. Your mental health will thank you for a little time out now and again.
Kindness makes you the most beautiful person in the world no matter what you look like.Johnny Stones
- Perform a random act of kindness. Return a neighbour’s recycle bin after its been emptied; or drop off a few books or magazines you’ve read on a neighbour’s doorstep. Maybe volunteer to walk a friend or neighbour’s dog. The list of possibilities is endless and you’ll get a real buzz from doing something kind for others.
- Pack a winter picnic and head out into the countryside. Park your car / bicycle beside a viewpoint and enjoy the scenery whilst tucking into your picnic goodies. If you have a car, you don’t even need to get outside to enjoy. If you’ve taken your bicycle, savour the fresh air.
- Have a pamper day! Treat yourself to a face mask / manicure / pedicure (or all 3).
- Chill out with a head massage or shoulder massage (or both). If COVID restrictions still apply, talk your partner into taking turns and you’ll both feel fine and relaxed as a result.
- Step outside your comfort zone and try something new. It’s incredible the feeling we get when we realize we’ve achieved something we didn’t know or think we could. I took up photography some years ago when I was feeling in a bit of a rut and now the feeling of accomplishment I get from such—even years later—is still a tremendous boost to my self-confidence. Don’t be afraid to try something new whether it’s a hobby or learning a new language….. you just never know where it could take you.
Tears are nature’s lotion for the eyes. The eyes see better for being washed in them.Christian Nestell Bovee
- Cry if you need to! * Scientists suggest there are many benefits to having a good cry now and again and the benefit to our health is immense.
* Please note: Feeling weepy day after day is something altogether different to having an occasional cry and may indicate professional help is required.
- Enjoy #JOMO (i.e. the “Joy of Missing Out”). Scrolling through social media posts can sometimes lead us into unhealthy comparisons and patterns of thinking. Try #JOMO and step away from social media for a few days and concentrate on something entirely different. Maybe phone a friend or write short note and post it to a friend who you haven’t had contact with in a while. Or even arrange to meet up in your spare time for a coffee or socially distanced walk in the park.
- Listen to a motivational video or two (or more). There are loads of motivational videos online you can stream for free, e.g. Ted Talks or famous speeches…. the choice is yours!
- Check out some motivational quotes. Here are 150 to start you off: 150 Inspirational Quotes for Women. Maybe gather some of your favourites into a notepad and add to them over time. Look them up any time you need a little inspiration.
- Switch off the News. Don’t listen to all the negativity that’s in the world right now. Rather, focus on all the positive things in the world and notice how different this makes you feel.
The list above was fun to put together but is by no means exhausted! There are lots of ways to be kind to yourself during difficult times. Perhaps you would like to add your own ideas by sharing in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.