Self-Care means taking time to do the things you find enjoyable, relaxing, or energizing. It also means taking care of yourself. Self-care can be defined as any healthy, deliberate activity intended to nourish your mental, emotional, and/or physical wellbeing.
In order to make self-care a habit, it is important to make it a priority. The first step in self-care is to find activities that you like and will consistently engage in it.
Coping skills are tools and strategies that we can engage in to change our feelings and our thoughts during stressful situations. We can’t always change our situation or what happens to us but we can do things to help us manage the feelings and thoughts we have about the situation.
The first step is to practice different coping skills so when a distressing event occurs you have tools that you can rely on.
Examples of Self-Care:
- Spend time in nature
- Get enough sleep
- Physical Exercise — walk, jog, swim, yoga, bike etc.
- Eat nutritious foods and balanced meals
- Keep scheduled therapy and doctor appointments
- Take prescribed medications as directed by your physician
- Engage in a hobby – gardening, assemble a jigsaw puzzle, paint, write a song/poem, etc.
- Watch a movie
Examples of Healthy Coping Skills:
- Deep Breathing – ‘5, 3, 7’ Method • Breathe in for 5 seconds, Hold for 3 seconds, Breathe out for 7 seconds. This repetition sends a message to the brain that everything is okay or it will be soon
- Journal your thoughts, feelings, and concerns
- Mindfulness meditation
- Practice Gratitude – When you take the time to notice positive moments in your day, your experience of that day becomes better. Try writing down one thing each day or week that was good
- Reframing – Taking an emotion or stressor and thinking of it in a different way. What is upsetting me? How can I think about this differently? What can I do differently?
- Affirmations and positive mantras
Tools and Tips:
- It is important that you practice self-care and coping strategies even when you start to feel better.
- Be sure to add self-care to your calendar so you don’t forget.
- Unhealthy activities don’t count as self-care. This includes substance use, smoking cigarettes, excessive gambling, over-eating and other unhealthy behaviors.
- Don’t feel guilty about taking care of you! Your mental health is just as important as the other things on your to do list!