How Self Care Can Help Reduce Stress

Good afternoon, everyone! Today is Mental Health Monday, so we’re going to tackle the topic of “How Self Care Can Help Reduce Stress”. I took some time to write out this post because now that we’re dealing with a seemingly never-ending pandemic, self-care looks different than it used to. As many places are going back into lockdown, we need to find ways to care for ourselves at home which honestly can be very difficult.  I feel terrible for all of you who are locked into your homes or school dorms with nobody to talk to.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, please remember to reach out to someone. It could be your loved ones, an online mental health professional, or your regular therapist. You can even feel free to reach out to me if you’d like! You can find me on the Facebook Group and Twitter and I’ll usually respond within a few minutes. I’m not a mental health professional by any means, but I can be that friend who listens and gives advice if you have no one else to talk to. Now, onto the show!

How Self Care Can Help Reduce Stress

I know that the word Self-Care makes you internally cringe. If you’re so physically and mentally run down to the point of not being able to meet your own needs, how are you going to take care of anyone else? Today we’re going to talk about how self-care can help reduce stress.

As a mom, I typically fall into two categories on any given day.

  1. I’m stressed out to the max and haven’t been able to take care of my own needs in weeks. My nails are chipped, my hair is thrown into a messy bun, I hide behind a pair of leggings and an oversized hoodie, I barely sleep, and my emotions are a rollercoaster. One minute I’m happy and the next I’m yelling.
  2. I’m well-rested, my hair and nails are done, my mood is calm and I’m able to give more focused attention to my husband and son.

Does this ring a bell? Let me know in the comment section and share how you manage your own self-care!

What do you think the difference is between those two scenarios?

In scenario one, I’m focusing all of my energy on making sure my world doesn’t crumble. I tend to focus on the 9,000 chores around the house that need to get done, the stressors of politics, permission slips, finding a job during a pandemic, researching child development to make sure my son is right on track, as well as making sure that I’m being a good wife and mother to my husband and son. Disregarding the minutiae, there is nothing in there stating that I’m doing anything specific for myself. Everything I’m doing here is in an effort to take care of my family.

In scenario two, I’m taking care of my basic needs. I’m making the time to make sure I’m pampered and sleeping well. I’m taking my vitamins, drinking enough water, have a daily schedule to adhere to, and making sure to take the time that I need to recharge my own batteries.  I take the time out of the day to do just one thing purely for me.  I’m still doing all of the things in scenario A, but I have more time and energy to do these things well instead of preventing the proverbial (and sometimes a literal) house fire.

How Self Care Can Look To You

Self-care can look different to many different people. What is right for me isn’t going to be right for you. Whether you focus on your diet and exercise to feel better about yourself, or just sitting down for 20 minutes to meditate, taking that time to just work out all of your frustrations and worry helps clear your mind and reduce stress.

Take it from me, when you take care of yourself, your ability to take care of others is increased. I’m going to challenge you to take 20 minutes out of your day, every day, to do something purely for you.  Whether it’s sitting on your sofa and staring off into space or dancing around your living room in your birthday suit, make sure you actually do it. I promise you that you’ll notice the difference in your stress levels after a few weeks of taking care of yourself.

20 Self-Care Activities to Clear Your Mind and Reduce Your Stress

  1. Take a long, leisurely bath with your favorite bath products.
  2. Get that overdue mani-pedi. Most salons are requiring their employees and customers to wear masks, and have their stations separated from the other stylists and techs by plastic screens
  3. Do your hair and makeup.
  4. Do you want to lose weight? Prioritize your diet and exercise plan.
  5. Read your favorite book from cover to cover.
  6. Get a massage. If you’re in lockdown, ask your spouse or significant other to give you a massage. If you’re alone, give yourself a nice foot and leg rub!
  7. Dance around your home and let your silly side out. Put your favorite song on and dance it out!
  8. Break out your art supplies and draw or paint a picture.
  9. If you like to cook or bake, try a recipe that you’ve collected and want to try that you know your family won’t like.
  10. Give yourself permission to take a break and do it.
  11. Watch a guilty pleasure show or movie on Netflix.
  12. Meditate.
  13. Declutter your home. Clutter makes stress and anxiety worse.
  14. Start a journal and write about what’s bothering you.
  15. Take a nap.
  16. Go to a public place and people watch.
  17. Talk to your best friend about your life.
  18. Order your groceries and have them delivered. Standing in long checkout lines can be soul-crushing and time-consuming. Ordering your groceries online and having someone else deliver them takes out all of the stress of your weekly shop.
  19. Say No. Make the decision to decline the invitation if it’s going to be mentally and physically draining for you. It’s not your responsibility to make everyone happy 100% of the time.
  20. Ask for help. Odds are, you’re not the only person living in your home, yet you’re the one shouldering most of the responsibility. Ask your significant other, spouse, or roommate to pitch in and share the load.

Self Care Worksheet

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to care for yourself and reduce stress. I’ve created this FREE handy little self-care worksheet (with Punky’s help) for you to complete on a daily basis. I hope you make use of this worksheet to write down the things that you find helpful to reduce your stress.

Self care worksheet printable