I used to think that self-care was all bubble baths, facials, and manicures. And it absolutely can be all these things! But there is so much more to it than that. Over the last couple of years I have developed a ‘self-care toolbox’ that has become one of the most effective ways I manage my anxiety.
I have come to realize that in addition to taking care of my physical appearance taking care of my mental and emotional health is just as important. In my early twenties I used to seek out things that would make me feel better about myself because I didn’t feel good enough or because I wanted to fix something. Now self care is something I do from a place of compassion and acceptance and is a practice that I rely on to keep myself feeling grounded, clear, and to help show myself compassion when I’m feeling sad or anxious. I know that if I do something positive for myself it will help me feel move through my emotions in a healthy way.
This is a list of all my self-care go to’s that I use when I feel anxious and in need of recharge or when I need to give myself a little extra love.
1. Spend some quiet time alone to check in with yourself and reflect.
I once heard someone say that anxiety comes up when we aren’t getting what we need. Ask yourself if there is anything that you need that you aren’t getting. Be curious about why you feel the way you do, when it started, what thoughts are you having, and where you feel it in your body. Sometimes just having this awareness and getting clear on what is bothering you makes you feel a whole lot better.
2. Go for a quick walk
Sometimes a change in environment, a little nature, and some fresh air is all I need to ease my anxiety. Even though I might not feel like it I force myself to go for a quick walk around the neighbourhood or to the nearest park and I never regret it. Sometimes I will grab a latte as a treat and listen to my favourite podcast or audio book.
3. Listen to an inspiring/ feel good/ funny podcast
I believe we have a responsibility to surround ourselves with people who lift us up and inspire us. Podcasts are a really great way to find people and content that can raise our spirits and make us feel good. I love the Healthier Together Podcast, Manifestation Babe, or Almost 30.
4. Do a stretch or short workout
Anxiety is stagnant energy stuck in the body and moving your body shifts this energy and gives you a good dose of endorphins. If COVID taught me anything it’s how many good workouts you can find online. My favorites are Yoga with Adrienne, Get Hot with Shannon, Melissa Wood Health, ‘Alo Moves’, or Pilates classes from my local studio on the “CorePlus Studios Online Community” Facebook group. I usually have to push myself a little bit but I always feel a little bit better and plus you never regret doing a workout. Even 10 minutes makes a big difference!
5. Get cozy
A hot shower or bath, a candle, my weighted blanket (highly recommend!!), and a cup of tea. I’ll watch my favourite show or do a bit of reading.
6.Face-time a friend
It’s easy to push people away and isolate yourself when you feel anxious and sometimes you really do need to be alone, but creating connection with someone you love is a nice way to boost your mood. See how your friend is doing today!
7. Cook something yummy and healthy that’s good for your body
A smoothie, a juice, a buddha bowl or a coconut yogurt parfait are my favourites. Or do some meal prep so you can start the next day off on the best foot possible.
8. USE essential oils.
Scent can be a powerful way to calm your nerves. I love lavender and sleep blends for relaxation or citrus and mint if I want to feel refreshed.
9. Work on personal development and do some journaling
I have some great Journal Prompts right here on the blog. Pinterest is also great for finding journal prompts. I listen to Kara Loewenthiel, Sam Laura Brown, Brooke Castillo, and Lacy Phillips for personal development inspiration as well.
10. Move through a few breath cycles or do a guided meditation
Quiet your mind through meditation, mindfulness, energy clearing and breathe-work. Insight timer is a great free app for guided meditations. Check out my meditations tips for beginners here!
11. Write a gratitude list
I notice such a big difference when I bring awareness to all the things I’m thankful for. I know this can be really hard especially if your anxiety is particularly intense but it really does help shift your perspective and lift your spirits. I usually fill a page of all the things I am grateful for or all the things that are going really well for me at that time. As always, honour your feelings and emotions and give yourself the space to feel your anxiety, but it doesn’t hurt to focus on the positives.
12. Be generous
When in doubt do something nice for someone. It might sound cheesy but it’s a special kind of feeling when you can contribute to someone else’s happiness. The best way to bring some positivity to yourself is to give it to others. Even if it’s just anonymously donating a few dollars to a Go Fund Me page that you feel inspired by, dropping off some clothes or books at a thrift shop, buying someone a coffee, or baking cookies for a friend.
13. Create a calm space
Maybe it’s just me but I LOVE to have a clean, calm, and organized space, especially when I’m anxious. Make your bed, wash your sheets, pick a cupboard to organize, fold your clothes, do the laundry, etc. Get rid of clutter and anything that is not serving you. You have to be careful with this one though because it’s easy to slip into cleaning mode as a way to distract yourself with being “productive” so you can avoid feeling the anxiety. Make sure your honouring yourself and make a conscious choice to have a clean and clear space so you can feel your best.
14. Cleanse YOUR social media FEED
Go through your Instagram or Facebook feed and unfollow, mute, and delete anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself or is not in alignment with your values. This has nothing to do with them personally! It’s all about establishing your boundaries and self-worth. Have the awareness to recognize that these people are not contributing to your happiness right now and that it would be best if you didn’t see their content every day. Have a feed that makes you feel good and brings out the best side of you!
More on this, plus some great social media account to follow, here!
15. Do a Mindful activity OR DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE.
Work on a puzzle, spend some time bullet journaling, or get zen with an adult colouring book. I also love to pull oracle or tarot cards to tune into my intuition.
How do you take care of yourself when you experience anxiety? Let me know below!