I don’t know about you, but lately, the world seems really overwhelming. Between politics and tragedies, it is hard not to get sucked into the negativity that surrounds us. As a culture, we tend to focus on the negative over positive. I think it gives us more to talk about, but it also hinders our emotions and can deeply affect our mental health.
I, like a lot of people around the world, have experienced bouts of anxiety and depression lately. As a highly sensitive person, I feel my own pain intensity and others’ pains too. Sometimes I am at a loss for what to do. One thing I know I need more of during these challenging times is self-care. I’ve listed a few self-care practices I am working on integrating into my life. I am spending less time online and in front of a screen.
1. Log off Facebook.
I will scroll through Facebook throughout the day and see images from protests and the latest disheartening political action and be totally overwhelmed. It is not healthy to be exposed to depressing, sad news throughout the day. It can affect your mental health in a negative way and leave you feeling hopeless. For the next month, I am going to sign out of Facebook each weekend and do a 48-hour Facebook detox. I am not able to delete my Facebook as my job and work involve Facebook, but taking little breaks is permitted.
2. Make your home a peaceful, safe place.
I recently moved into a new apartment. I am working on making it a homey space with candles, Himalayan rock lamps, cozy blankets, diffusing essential oils and home cooked meals. It is important for me to have a home I want to come to after a long stressful day to unwind and relax.
3. Channel your inner child.
What did you enjoy as a child? Did you love splashing in puddles? Playing in the snow? Building things with your hands? Coloring? Painting? Whatever you loved as a child, take the time to do it as an adult. We only spend a small fraction of our life as children. Tap into what made you happy during one of the simplest times of your life. I loved coloring as a kid. Sitting down, focusing on the picture in front of me, only thinking about the next color to choose was always a fun time! Luckily, “adult” coloring has become a thing, and I have a few meditation coloring books I enjoy coloring in.
4. Read, cook or play with your companion animal if you have one.
Do something that doesn’t involve switching on your phone, TV or computer. I was feeling anxious the other day after work and instead of scrolling through social media or flipping on the TV, I made cookies and played with my dog. It may have only been about 45 minutes, but it was 45 minutes I was able to care for myself (baking is one of my favorite self-care things to do!) and spend time with my furbaby who I don’t get to see during the day.
5. Set boundaries.
I’ve had many conversations over the past six months about politics with friends and family. Since then, when I am feeling overwhelmed and don’t want to continue talking about a certain subject, I say, “I am not going to talk about this anymore.” That’s it, and if they do not respect my wishes and continue to talk about the issue at hand, I walk away.
6. Go outside.
For me, going outside to take a walk is the ultimate way to destress. When walking, I am focusing on the step in front of me, taking in the seasonal smells and watching my dog interact with the world around her.
During times of stress and anxiety, it is important to take extra care of yourself.
Follow this journey on Voices of Anxiety.
Thinkstock photo by jacoblund