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16 Surprising Self-Care Tips You Can Try Today

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When you’re struggling with your mental health, sometimes traditional self-care methods just don’t work in the way you want them to. You may have experience with this. You know, those times when bubble baths aren’t helping and you can’t afford a massage

We know how difficult it can be to try to take care of yourself when you’re struggling. Sometimes, it feels like you’ve exhausted every self-care technique in your coping arsenal, but still can’t find any relief. To give you some fresh ideas, we asked members of our mental health community to share the surprising self-care tips you might be able to try today. It’s important to remember what works for one person may not work for another. It’s OK if you don’t identify with all the suggestions below — feel free to let us know what works for you in the comments!

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Watch a Murder Mystery

Oddly enough, watching murder mysteries. They help me to ‘escape’ for awhile (in a healthy way) and I use them to unwind, relax and calm my thoughts.” — Jessica E.

2. Write Down Your Feelings and Destroy Them 

I write down how I’m feeling. Exactly how I’m feeling, regardless of how irrational or awful it is. Then I destroy it. My favorite method is putting it on my grill or in a metal bowl outside and burning it.” — Sarah L.

3. Swear

“I sing swear words. Usually to the beat of a Christmas song (I’m partial to ‘Carol of the Bells’) and always full of unique word combos that are satisfying to belt out.” — Nicole S.

“I quietly swear a whole bunch. It’s kind of like repeating a mantra, but all swear words.” — Lori U.

4. Ask a Friend to Send Animal Pictures Your Way

“It’s something small but for me, it works. I have a deal with this guy I like, where if I feel down and depressed, I ask him for koalas as they’re my favorite animal. It doesn’t need to be in context. I just randomly say, ‘Can I have koalas?’ and he sends me about two to four GIFs of koalas which always make me smile. If he’s offline, I distract my mind, and even if it doesn’t cheer me up, it distracts it long enough before I get koalas through.” — Zara C.

“I make my friend send me pictures of her Brachicephalic Persian mix cat who has the most tragically adorable smooshed face. “ — Naoko P.

5. Memorize Song Lyrics

“When I get really stressed out and start to obsess and have thoughts constantly running through my head, it’s helpful for me to concentrate on song lyrics. There are a few calming songs I’ve memorized and I go through the words over and over in my mind until I can fall asleep.” — Abby S.

6. Go Window Shopping

“I enjoy going to a store like Walmart or Target and just looking at all the stuff. I like to look at the stuff for houses the most — like small appliances and stuff, but some days I just enjoy going to the gardening center and looking at the plants. I like imagining what I could do with the stuff in my home and garden when my mental health gets under control and I finally have the energy to do my old hobbies again. It gives me hope.” — Lizzy H.

“My mom and I call it ‘imaginary shopping,’ but it’s just really going on apps and online and looking, but not buying.” — Brittany P.

7. Eat Sour Candy

“Keep peppermints or sour candy on hand, they work as a grounding technique as well as a different sensory experience. It’s super small but it can be very useful and you can do it just about anywhere, anytime.” — Dara D.

8. Float in a Pool

“Floating in the pool has helped me so much this summer. I’m sad to see fall get here. Just me and a float… sun and warm water has helped my pain level so much.” — Amy L.

9. Watch ASMR Videos

“ASMR videos! Gentle Whispering, Tingting ASMR, Olivia Kissper… those are my favorites.” — Stephanie S.

10. Put on Your Shoes

“I put on my shoes. They automatically make me feel more productive and usually I’m able to tackle something, which makes me feel a ton better.” — Angie T.

11. Book a Hotel Room for Yourself

“My therapist laughed when I told her — I book myself into a hotel and just lie on the giant bed and breathe in the peace.” — Kam S.

12. Sit Near Water

“Sit by a body of water away from everybody.” — Kali H.

13. Listen to Thrash Metal Music

“May sound strange, but I throw on some Slayer, scream and get lost in the music. It’s a huge release. Makes the bad feelings just go away for the moment.” — Julie M.

14. “Assign” Yourself a Creative Project

“I work on creative projects. I give myself a project to do on my blog. I write an article, create a quote or visual, or I write a poem. I also work on my skillshare classes or my book. I keep myself occupied and stimulated mentally to feel accomplished and refreshed when I complete something.” — Nina R.

15. Actively Change Your Body Temperature

“My new therapist gave me a couple of tricks my first session a couple weeks back: activating the mammal diving reflex (slows the whole body down) by placing a Ziplock bag of ice water over the face and holding your breath for a few seconds; and also by changing the water temperature in a shower from hot, to cold, to hot, etc. I think that’s the gist of them.” — Brianna M.

16. Use a Grounding Object

“I carry a few small crystals in my bag. Just concentrating on touching it, the cold, the smoothness, little natural flaws, helps calm me.” — Andrea T.

What would you add?

Unsplash photo via Leighann Renee

Originally published: September 18, 2018
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