In today’s Self-Care Sunday, we encourage you to consider the ways that you take care of yourself when you feel stress.
Most of us have, at one point or another, used coping techniques that are dysfunctional. We deny. We avoid. We blame.
And perhaps, during a global pandemic, we lie around eating pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
We use these dysfunctional methods of self-soothing (or self-destruction, depending on your perspective) for three reasons:
1. We all have stressors.
Rich, poor, single, married, old, young, happy, or sad: No one is exempt from stressors. Daily, weekly, or monthly, most of us have moments in our lives when the stress of trying to hold it all together becomes overwhelming.
This is particularly true now, when we are worried about health, finances, and the state of the world.
2. We are not taught resilience skills.
Though all of us will suffer, few of us are taught the skills that help us not only cope with our stressors, but also use them to become stronger, happier versions of ourselves, which is what resilience is all about.
3. The need for immediate relief is a normal reaction to a stressor.
If given a choice between feeling good and feeling lousy, who wouldn’t choose the former? We all want to feel good, and reaching for relief from a stressor is appropriate. However, because we have not been taught resilience skills, we often reach for dysfunctional coping skills.
We use this time drinking bottles of wine, eating junk food, and binging on Netflix. And while some of this is fine, we can get into trouble when we do not have positive coping skills to use as well.
We all know the basics: Alcohol, junk food, and being a coach potato can be fine in moderation, but what will really make us feel better in the long run is to take care of our minds, bodies and spirits in ways that are actually good for us.
You probably have a repertoire of self-care activities you know you should do, but “shoulds” don’t always inspire you to actually do them. Just because you know you should eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, lay off the booze, and exercise, doesn’t mean you’ll do it.
So, today’s activity will help you expand your repertoire of self-care activities to include things you actually enjoy—things that are fun, that inspire you, and that make you feel good about yourself.
Reframing activities you enjoy but might not otherwise make time for as “self-care” just might help you give yourself permission to do them more often.
Whether it’s gardening, reading books, taking walks, listening to podcasts, playing the piano, journaling, drawing, or doing crossword puzzles, finding things you do just because you like to do them will help balance out the stress you feel from all the things you have to do.
Check out today's activity sheet to create your plan for taking care of yourself when you feel stressed. Having a self-care plan on paper will make it much easier to choose something you’ll feel good about rather than something you’ll regret later the next time you feel stressed.
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