The Subtle Art of Self Care

Finding time to focus on the present is difficult for me. As someone with an anxiety disorder, I often linger in the realm of catastrophe: worrying what if, visualizing the worst case scenarios, reliving moments I’ve experienced, and focusing on the embarrassing things I’ve said or done, what I could have done differently. There is constantly a stream of thoughts flowing over and over through my brain.

I’ve come to the realization that I can’t be the best me if I don’t take care of myself. When I’m not the best version of me, I can’t possibly be the best partner, employee, friend, daughter, pet mom, auntie, or sister. I’m slowly working on self care: taking time to be gentle with myself, feel my thoughts and feelings, and slowing down.

Here’s what I’ve been focusing on. Maybe these things will help you too.

  • Dumping my brain
    Getting it all out. On paper. On a computer. Vocally. Through art. I keep a journal beside my bed now to dump my brain onto half an hour before bed. Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I dump all my thoughts and feelings out in there in the middle of the night. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to make sense. I’ve found that just getting it out there lets me move on to something else, if only for a few moments.
  • Getting outside
    Connecting with nature. Breathing in the fresh air. Running my feet through the grass. Walking my dog. Feeling  the sun on my face.
  • Brushing my  teeth, washing my face, putting on deodorant
    The most basic of self-care. Sometimes when I’m potatoing I don’t even do these simple things. You’ll feel better, if only for that moment. Even if I accomplish nothing else that day, at least I had a fresh face, fresh bod, and fresh breath.
  • Napping
    Escape for a while with a snooze. Some people claim that you shouldn’t go to bed angry. I disagree. Sleep helps clear my brain from unnecessary chatter. Naps have saved me from saying things I didn’t really need to say.
  • Changing out of my pajamas
    …even if it is into other pajamas. Put on something comfortable. Wear your favourite shirt. Get cozy.
  • Stopping the mindless social media scrolling
    This is my biggest crutch when I’m feeling anxious, unwell, restless. I keep expecting something to break me out of this cycle. I keep waiting for someone to like my posts or acknowledge my presence. I’m just looking for the reassurance that I exist and I’m important. I’m slowly trying to be present in the real world and not the digital world.
  • Breathing
    Whether you meditate or not, taking the time to focus solely on your breath. It can bring much needed clarity, if only for a few moments. I’m slowly learning that mindfulness can help calm my anxiety. If you are looking for easy mindfulness/meditation apps, check out Buddhify and Headspace. I am currently using both.
  • Being kind to myself
    Treat yourself with grace. It’s okay to be feeling the way you are feeling. Try not to compare yourself to who you were yesterday or worry about who you are going to be tomorrow. Give yourself the space to feel this feeling.
  • Create something
    … whether it’s art, writing, or even making a healthy meal for yourself. Focus on doing a task. Focus on the steps you’re taking: the veggies you are cutting, the pencil you are holding, the words you are typing.
  • Get moving
    Running is obviously my go to (or else I wouldn’t be the Little Anxious Runner, would I?). You don’t need to run like me to reap these benefits. Just get your body flowing. Yoga, playing with your dog or child, lifting weights. You name it. Take a walk around your block – extra points if it ends up at an ice cream shop.

What do you do to make time for yourself? Squeeze in a little TLC? Share them below. I’d love to hear from you. Did you like my tips? Do you know someone who needs a subtle self care boost? Repost or share on your social media page 🙂

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