As a person who has had experiences with anxiety, learning the tools for my own personal self-care has been essential to recovery and managing anxious feelings. Even if you have never had experiences with anxiety, depression or any other mental health condition, self-care is paramount for anyone to maintain a healthy wellbeing in the long term.
While certain methods like having a relaxing bubble bath and glass of wine are popular, what works for some may not work for others. Your self-care is entirely tailored to what works best for you. Here are five things that have personally helped me and may help you as well.
Mindful breathing has been a great way for me to keep calm if I’ve been having a particularly stressful day or been feeling anxious. In the modern age, we often get lost in our thoughts and find it difficult to focus on the present moment. There’s so much to do and organise sometimes we just can’t take a minute to stop. What I do is close my eyes, inhale through my nose for five counts, hold the breath for five counts and release the breath out of my mouth for five. I repeat that, concentrating on the counting and the breath, and within a few minutes I begin to feel calmer and more grounded.
It’s so fluffy
Being in the company of animals is known to pick us up. If you have a pet, like a dog or cat, you’ll know that they’re instant stress relievers! Spend a little time with them if you can, play with them, have a cuddle. Also, remember how when we used to cuddle our stuffed animals as kids and we’d automatically feel better or soothed? The same can apply when you’re an adult. Recent studies showed that having a stuffed animal (aside from them being so cute!) can actually help to ease the symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress etc.
A calming scent to help with your self-care
Engaging one or all of our senses can be used as a great way to soothe, calm and ground us. Sense of smell for many of us is one of the most engaging. A smell of a certain perfume can bring back many memories, and the smell of freshly cut grass and flowers in spring can uplift. I found using scents, particularly of those found in essential oils, very helpful. One of my all time favourites is lavender. Lavender is known for its soothing benefits, linking to help reduce anxiety and aid in sleep. I have lavender skincare, soap and bath products for when I need that soothing scent. Another good scent is eucalyptus. Like lavender, this is also known for helping to calm the nerves. While it’s invigorating and helpful for a wakeup call (so ideal in soap form for your morning shower!) it has the calming effect like lavender, so you have the best of both worlds.
Colour me calmer
Over the last few years, there’s been a rise in popularity of adult colouring books. Colouring, drawing and painting are some of the many components used in art therapy. From personal experience I mentioned in 5 Ways A Self-Care Box Can Boost Wellbeing, that art therapy is the use of creativity to ground, calm and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
So, with adult colouring books that can available in a variety of themes, from Harry Potter to vintage wallpaper, using art is a way to increase your concentration, shift your focus on to something more positive and to channel stresses and anxieties in a healthy way. What’s your go-to when you’re feeling anxious and what self-care tips do you find most useful?