4 Ways to Practice Self-Care When You’re Overwhelmed
What does it look like to take exceptional care of yourself when you’re in the midst of an exceptional time crunch? That’s what I’ve been asking myself during a period of overwhelm lately. My days and mind are full of lists, ideas, inspiration, a-ha moments . . . and, admittedly, a fair amount of those stormy thoughts of inadequacy that start to gather when stress builds up. I can accept that for the time being, life feels a bit stifling. But as my available time shrinks, I know that it’s even more important to use some of it to focus on taking care of myself, even as I try to be so many things for others. Some days, that feels completely impossible. So I made some guidelines to help me along the way.
Taking care of yourself demonstrates your sense of self-worth, both to yourself and the world. Self-care keeps you balanced, reminds you to fill your body with breath, and sustains you when life grows unruly and cumbersome. Because it always does at some point. But maybe you don’t want to just cope, weather the storm, and survive. Maybe you want to emerge from a time of transition feeling juiced, full of energy, and expansive. That is my intention this time around. Keeping that in mind, here are some ways to stay centered in the middle of the storm.
- Center yourself: Don’t tell me you don’t have five minutes when you’re laying in bed in the morning to pull yourself together. Gather your sense of self. Remind your soul that it’s an unshakable source of light and wisdom. Remind your body that it’s holy ground. Remind your heart that it’s made for and worthy of love.
- Normalize indulgence: I have a thing for pedicures. There’s something about having my feet rubbed and wrapped in hot towels that just sloughs off layers of stress and striving. However, the most rejuvenating activities are deeply personal and differ for everyone. Besides pedicures, a few of mine include short, scented baths in the morning instead of showers, choosing outfits that feel comfortable and beautiful, and spending time in nature. Find yours, and make them happen regularly!
- Ask for help, ask for support, ask for love: Although the people around us might know how full our life is or how stressed we are, they don’t necessary know what we need or how to help. They can’t read our minds. Cut them some slack. Set aside your pride, the thought that you might be a burden, your feelings of unworthiness . . . and ask for what you need. Personally, my need for physical touch usually brings this to the surface. If I go a day or two without being touched, my body feels bereft and I get despondent. My creativity and energy wanes. I cry easily. When I ask for touch, everything in my life feels more manageable. My energy balances out. I feel powerful and capable. ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED.
- Celebrate through focus: Smack dab in the middle of a storm doesn’t seem like a great time to throw a party, but bear with me. Celebration can take many forms, from the minuscule to the grandiose. Make room for celebrating how much you’ve accomplished, or just the fact that you’re still standing and breathing. Maybe this means taking 10 minutes to drink a hot cup of tea, bearing witness to the sunset and letting it awe you, taking time to create something – make art, or bread, or a new friend, or just strike a yoga pose and hold it, or dance in your kitchen.
Give yourself permission to stop multitasking. I guarantee the quality and quantity of your accomplishments will improve. It takes some trust to surrender yourself completely to one thought or task at a time, but the wholeness and peace that’s born of this practice is remarkable. Embrace it, harness it, and let it create space in your busy life.
How do you maintain steady self-care in unsteady times?