As we all know, life is not always smiles & laughter. Sometimes it’s pulling out hair with stress, tears and tantrums, and barely managing to stay afloat. That’s just life. There have definitely been occasions when personal circumstances have really tested me, and at times I’ve felt totally overwhelmed, and just wanted to climb back into my bed and ignore the rest of the world. However, that is probably the very worst thing you could do!
I for one don’t believe that we would fully appreciate the good without the bad. BUT, during these trials it is so important to take extra care of yourself, to prevent becoming caught in the riptide. Plus it’s always good to have a sure fire safety net ready to fall back on when you feel those negative emotions trickling in.
I’ve come up with a list of my simple saviours for when I feel myself getting overwhelmed by the chaos of life, and I am in need of a little calm. These simple actions have pulled me out of many a slump, so hopefully you can take at least a few of these away with you, and find comfort in them next time life throws a curve ball your way.
1) a hot beverage. A warm cuppa ; tea, coffee, hot chocolate.. whatever your weapon of choice, you can combat pretty much anything with a lovely warm drink at hand. At the moment, I’m fully embracing the season beverages, and loving a good coffee with my favourite sugar free Syrups in. A hot drink warms my soul.
2) go outside. Even if it’s bucketing it down. Especially if it’s bucketing it down. Just being outside in nature is a great way to get clarity. The outdoors is vast, and our problems are generally pretty small. My favourite outdoorsie place to be is at the sea, preferably on a windy day, when the sound of the waves crashing down’ fills the air. The immensity of the ocean gives me perspective, and again, reminds me that in the grand scheme of things, my problems really ain’t so big.
3) disconnect. Unplug that phone. Log off from social media. Wander where the wifi isn’t. The idea of being alone with our thoughts can be scary, but turning off the noise can help our inner most thoughts surface, and our true feelings become clearer, when they’re not constantly being interrupted and influenced by the hustle & bustle of the World Wide Web.
4) move your body. Maybe you aren’t in the mood for the gym, or running, or even walking, but even a 10 minute stretch or yoga flow will do you good. Really, truly focus on your body; Focus on pulling your navel to your spine, focus on your breathing, and not much else. When I need to take my mind off something, a short yoga flow always works a treat. I’m also definitely one of those people who can enter the gym in the foulest of moods, but after a blast of my music, and a good weight session, I’ll be skipping out. Endorphins are pure magic! Try it out if you don’t believe me.
5) hug it out. Because a bit of human contact might just be all that you actually need. I’ve built up so much anxiety in the past that the thought of a hug, would make me recoil, but the reality of the right hug from the right person, has had a therapeutic effect, and instantaneously lifted my mood.
6) flowers. Pick some flowers. Smell some flower. Buy yourself some flowers. Just get yourself near some flowers. There have been several studies investigating the positive effect flowers in the home have on our mental health. I guess that’s what they really meant in the 60’s when the referred to ‘flower power’.
7) Hygyee. Turn off the electricity. Snuggle under them winter throws, scatter the cushions, light some gorgeous scented candles, grab a good book, and get yourself cosy! If you can find a furry companion to snuggle up with, great! If you can’t why not grab another throw, or a pillow?. It’s hard to stay stressed for long under these circumstances.
8) Declutter! Less mess= Less stress. Simplify. Tidy up, declutter, shuffle the furniture around, take some clothes to charity.. Not everybody finds the process of tidying relaxing, but the end result, of sitting down in a chaos free room, and clear space (cuppa in hand. Obvs), is a sure way to bring you a little clarity. My thoughts always feel much more organised and together when my house is too. Declutter other aspects of your life too; unfollow people on social media, if they aren’t providing a positive influence, or making you feel bad about yourself. Unfollow people in real life. It sounds ruthless, but this is your life. You only get one shot, so don’t waste your time on people that wouldn’t be willing to do the same for you.
9) Pamper Yourself. Paint your nails. Style your hair. Put on some make up. Do a face mask. Draw yourself a lush bath. Do something just for you, that will make YOU feel sassy and unstoppable. Make time for yourself. Invest in yourself.
10) Have a girl date with your BFF. Sometimes a coffee (and slice of cake) with your best friend is all the therapy you need. I often say that My husband is my best friend, and my daughter, and my dog; all of which is true. But for this one, I’m talking your girl BFF. Not the same person you are with day in/ day out. The one that you can talk to, about anything and everything, and have hours of catching up to do. The one that you may not necessarily see very often, but no matter the time of distance, you feel at ease in their presence, and no subject is off limits with.
11) Practise Gratitude. Write a list of the things you are most grateful for at this very moment. (Minimum of 10 things.) Often when we are feeling stressed or anxious, it is very easy to forget just how much good we actually have in our lives.
12) Listen to music. Put on your favourite song, have a good sing, and dance. Hear the words and really truly feel the music.! Maybe even discover some new music, or a new artist. There’s a playlist for EVERY mood on Spotify! Find one that applies to what you are feeling.
13) Try a little kindness. Do something nice for somebody else. Unprovoked. Leave a note of encouragement on a colleagues desk. Buy someone some flowers just because you appreciate their presence in your life. I promise you’ll feel great for it.
14) Go for a drive. This isn’t for everyone, but I definitely find that I can clear my head with a drive around, listening to my very favourite songs. I wouldn’t suggest hitting the m4 in rush hour, but perhaps a quiet country lane, or a drive to the seaside! I have be known to drive to the beach late in the evening, and simply sit and watch the waves crash, from the comfort of my front seat.
15) Accept it. Sometimes our angers and frustrations can build, simply because we are fighting it, and just not willing to let things go. We are suppressing the negative emotions, and not really allowing ourselves to feel what we need to feel. If something goes wrong, you have every right to be annoyed or upset, so don’t just smile through gritted teeth. Accept those emotions, feel those emotions, and ask yourself if there’s anything that can be done to change it. Take a deep breath, and breathe it out. Let it go.. There is no point letting a bad yesterday ruin today. Why let an unpleasant 5 minutes, mould the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of your day?
16) Just do SOMETHING. Anything! Not doing anything, and wallowing in self pity isn’t going to help. You are just going to prolong your suffering, and if anything, make it worse! I know getting yourself up and out there may seem like a hideous idea, but everytime I have given myself a boot up the backside, when I felt down, and found myself wishing the day away, actually bothering, has improved my mood ten fold.
17) Read a book. Self help books are great. There are loads out there at the moment, delving into the subjects of mindfulness, intuitive eating, being a total girl boss, and striving for the very best version of you. Or, if there’s a million things going on in your mind, why not get stuck into a new novel? One of my favourite places to be, is caught up in an adventure inbetween the pages of a good book. One of my most recent reads was a captivating tale that left me feeling hungry for adventure, and feeling inspired to pursue new things. ‘My Map Of You’, by Isabelle Broom. I’d recommend this to anyone! It’s a love story of a different kind, but mostly it is a story about a girls journey of discovery, and ultimately finding herself.
18) Eat well & drink your water. Sounds obvious. When I eat like crap, I feel like crap; physically and emotionally. When I eat good nutrient dense foods, my body feels invigorated and full of life! It thanks me when I fuel it with the best, and purest fuels, and it runs of slow, if I give it the processed, harmful stuff. Similarly, when I don’t drink enough water, my body rebels against me; my skin dries out, I get spots, my hair dries out, cellulite starts to appear, my energy feels low, my digestive system slows, and I start craving sugary foods more, etc. I aim for 3 litres or water a day.
19) Play with / pet an animal! The best therapists have fur and four paws. When I was going through some of the hardest times in my life, my beloved Dog, Daphne, was the biggest support. She’d sit with me, and say nothing, but give me all the affection and love I needed, and knowingly look at me, as if she just understood and wanted to see her human happy again. I’ve been crying at films before now, and that wonderful hound has pranced to my side, (or on my lap) squishy nose in my face, tale wagging, making her attack; covering me in wet puppy kisses, like it’s her job to put a smile on my face. I’m the type of person who will walk down a street and see another dog, and absolutely have to stop and say hello. Dogs make the world a better place. And they make my world a happier one too.
20) Sleep. I don’t mean go into hibernation for the rest of the day, but think about it. Have you been getting enough sleep? More often than not, my bad days are a result of severely lacking in the sleep department. If you’re tired and overwhelmed, why not take a short nap? Or if you aren’t one for napping, plan an early night. Leave your phone downstairs, and catch up on some Z’s.
So, if you do happen to be having a bad day, and the dark, ugly shadow of anxiety is looming down on you, I sincerely hope that this post can help you to overcome whatever it is you are battling, and provide you with a little more joy & peace in your own life.
Maybe you have alternative methods of self care I haven’t shared?! If so, please comment your ideas below. Don’t forget to give me a little follow and if you like this post, share it with another friend in need.
Thanks for reading!
Lots of love