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Self-Care Kit - Why You Need One
We all have bad days when nothing, absolutely nothing is going according to plan and life seems to be falling apart. In moments like these, it’s crucial to focus on physical health and mental wellbeing to be able to get back on track and recommit to our routine as quickly as possible. Because otherwise, a bad day can easily become a bad week. A few bad weeks can lead to a bad month. And then return to the right path or the right direction becomes increasingly difficult.
When life gets tough it’s easy to slip back into bad habits, have one glass too much, binge on junk food, engage in negative thinking and obsess over the worst-case scenario. We all know that. We’ve all been there… more than once.
That’s why having a little strategy, a plan in place and a healthy way to soothe yourself is so vital. Because when you’re experiencing a life crisis (greater or smaller), a little emergency first-aid kit is something that will help you to calm your mind, body and spirit in a fast, easy and safe manner. That’s why today, I want to share with you my idea on how to build a self-care kit that will help you to relax, unwind and have fun in those days when you feel like your life just sucks.
I Cleanse Your Mind
Boost your mental wellbeing and obtain absolute focus.
1. Slow Down
It’s ok to feel anxious, stressed out and overwhelmed especially in those moments when you think life sucks. You don’t have to feel 100% every single day. You don’t have to pretend that everything’s fine and behave like nothing really happened. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you feel. Give yourself permission to have off days and don’t feel guilty about it. If you don’t feel in the mood to do something insanely productive don’t do it. Instead, do something that feeds your soul and makes you feel alive. Engage in an activity that you love doing and you know it will put you in a positive headspace. It can be anything from making a delicious cup of coffee to going for a morning run. But it has to be something that inspires you, motivates you and makes you feel good about yourself. Treat yourself in a healthy way. Give yourself permission to slow down, pause and just breathe.
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Journaling has always been one of my favourite self-care rituals and daily practices that support my wellbeing. This simple self-help tool helped me tremendously when I lost my dad to ALS about a year ago. I would encourage anyone reading this to take up journaling and build it into a habit. Honestly, I cannot think of something more beneficial to your health and at the same time so extremely easy as journaling. It’s a life-changer. Once you start putting your thoughts into writing you will never want to stop!
3. Stay Mindful & Create Your "NOW"
The best thing you can do to calm an anxious mind is to practice mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises. If you’ve never tried meditation before, even the idea of it might seem pointless. But it’s really worth trying. Meditation is not easy, nor it’s difficult. Meditation is a meeting with yourself. That’s why if you’re not used to doing so it may be quite challenging at the beginning. But with consistent practice and intention, it will become easier. So if you struggle to focus your attention during meditation, don’t worry. Just start with quick and simple exercises, be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to be distracted. Below you will find 3 types of Mindfulness Practice that I find extremely helpful and quite easy to follow. I hope you will enjoy them!
Guided Meditation – Guided meditations are highly beneficial for both mental and physical wellbeing. They are a powerful tool in building self-awareness, gaining a new perspective, reducing stress and anxiety, accepting your feeling and emotions without judging them, increasing creativity and motivation, connecting with your higher-self, establishing a healthy relationship with your self, creating a mind, body, and spirit balance
Breathing Exercises – Mindful breathing exercises have a variety of benefits. Since we can control and regulate our breath we can use a simple act of inhaling and exhaling as a powerful tool in reducing stress, anxiety or getting rid of negative emotions like anger or frustration. Focusing on your breath can also improve your attention, concentration, and self-awareness.
Body Scan Meditation – It’s a powerful component of mindfulness practice designed to develop self-awareness. In particular, it’s a way to get in touch with your body. A way to narrow your complete attention to the one part of the body to move to the other part right after that. Body scan meditation practice improves the ability to move the attention up or down to the body. It trains your mind to switch your focus from detail to the wider one.
5. Top 7 Free Meditation Apps For 2020
- Headspace Meditations, Mindfulness & Sleep (Android / iOS)
- Calm Meditation and Sleep Stories (Android / iOS)
- Aura: Sleep & Mindfulness (Android / iOS)
- 10% Happier: Meditation & Sleep (Android / iOS)
- The Mindfulness App: relax, calm, focus and sleep
(Android / iOS)
- Insight Timer – Meditation for Sleep & Anxiety (Android / iOS)
- Smiling Mind Meditation for all ages (iOS / Android)
4. Make The Most Of Free Online Self-Help Resources
Coping with stress & anxiety related to social distancing, quarantines, and isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic can be quite challenging, to say the least especially if you’ve been struggling with mental health issues before all this started. BUT, we should not forget that we live in the digital era and there are countless FREE self-help options you can find online that will help you to boost your capacity to cope and get through these perilous times. If you don’t know where to find them, I wrote a post about online self-help programs, websites, and resources. You can read it here.
5. Top 15 Free Mental Health Apps For 2020
- Happify: for Stress & Worry (iOS / Android)
- Moodfit – Tools & Insight to Shape Up Your Mood ( Android / iOS)
- MoodMission – Cope with Stress, Moods & Anxiety ( Android / iOS )
- Youper Emotional Health Assistant (Android / iOS)
- Moodpath (Android / iOS) – mental health app to guide you toward emotional well-being
- What’s Up? – A Mental Health App (iOS /Android)
- SuperBetter – Get Stronger, Happier and More Resilient (Android / iOS)
- Shine – Motivational texts (Android / iOS)
- Pocket Yoga (Android / iOS)
- Breathe2Relax (Android / iOS)
- Anxiety Reliever (Android / iOS)
- Self-help for Anxiety Management (iOS)
- Sanvello for Stress, Anxiety & Depression (Android / iOS)
- SAM App for Anxiety (Android / iOS)
- Smiling Mind Meditation for all ages (iOS / Android)
6. Netflix And...
Did you know that watching a movie or a tv show can be actually good for your mental health and emotional wellbeing? Yes, that’s true! Researchers have found that conscious binge-watching of your favourite tv program can not only reduce your stress and anxiety but also drastically boost your mood. And if comedy is your binge genre of choice… well, you found a way to get high without breaking the law. Of course, I am not encouraging you to spend entire days sitting on the couch mindlessly snacking and watching TV because that would equal self-indulgence which is unhealthy and unsafe in the long term. I was thinking more like watching some “feel good” TV in the evening after having a productive day of creative work so that you could give yourself a break without falling into the procrastination trap. Find the right balance between self-care self-indulgence and choose conscious series to mindful binge-watch (not more than 2-3 episodes of a program in a row) on Netflix and boost your happy hormones with some “feel good” TV.
II Cleanse Your Body
Get active and increase your endorphins naturally.
1. Get Yourself Out Of A Funk
Developing a powerful and positive self-care ritual is the best way to get out of a funk and uplift your spirits. So if you’ve haven’t already created one, it’s a high time to do that. And you know what? It’s easier than you think. All you have to do is to find an activity that brings you joy and happiness and make a ritual out of it! It can be anything, but it has to be something that inspires you, motivates you and makes you feel good about yourself. For me, it’s always the same thing – a good cup of bulletproof coffee or spicy chocolate (depending on the time of day). This extremely easy activity does wonders for my mood every single time I feel low. I know, it almost seems too easy but the easiest self-care ritual, the better. When life gets overwhelming you need something as easiest as possible to soothe anxiety and boost your mood. So think about these simple life’s pleasures you genuinely love doing, choose those you can do at any time and anywhere and make your powerful self-care rituals out of them! Start building your happiness skills and go after the life you want!
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2. Get Active
Have you ever noticed how good even a little physical activity makes you feel? It’s because during exercise our body releases endorphins and increases dopamine and serotonin levels. This magic trio made up of your natural happy chemicals is all you need to activate your happiness mode. Furthermore, regular workouts boost your energy levels, reduces stress, increases self-esteem and keep you in good shape. Need I say more? Ok, I get it. Working out is not the first thing that comes to your mind after having a tough day. I get it. But I’m not encouraging you to hit the gym to lift heavy weights or go for a 15k run if you’re not feeling it. That would be crazy and probably irresponsible. Actually, I was thinking more about engaging in light physical activity such as going for a walk, doing a little stretch, practice yoga for beginners (or advanced) or play your favourite song and dance like nobody’s watching. (it’s my favourite type of physical activity when I’m feeling low.)
3. Treat Yourself In A Healthy Way
We all have the guilty pleasure food that we ashamed to love but eating eat makes us so good and relaxed that we just cannot resist. And let’s face it when life gets tough and nothing absolutely nothing is going according to plan these cravings on unhealthy foods and sugar (of course) are so intense that resisting the temptation becomes almost a full-time job. That’s why I keep in my pantry healthy versions of my comfort foods ready to grab on days when I need this dopamine spike. Because let’s face it when you have a bad day the easiest way to produce a temporary increase in serotonin level along with a rush of dopamine is to binge on junk food. But, the truth is, eating a whole tub of ice-cream or an entire chocolate cake as a band-aid for your emotional bumps and scrapes will only make you sick. Yes, we all know it. Yes, we’ve been there. That’s why it’s better to be prepared for times like this. So make a healthy grocery shopping and stock your fridge, cupboards, and pantry with healthy options of your favourite comfort foods so that you can binge on delicious snacks without feeling sick afterwards.
4. The Power Of A Bubble Bath
There are very few things in this world as enjoyable, relaxing and satisfying as a soothing bubble bath. I don’t know about you, but I feel relaxed just thinking about it. People think that they need to spend lots of money in a luxury spa & wellness to have this “feel good” experience. Nothing more mistaken! You can re-create a relaxing home DIY spa experience right in your own home within a couple of minutes. It’s easy, fun and very low cost. Have you seen this episode of “Friends” – “The One Where Chandler Takes A Bath”? It’s one of my favourites! Monica turns Chandler on to the concept of a bath to relax, de-stress and wash negative energy away. And if you remember how their bathroom looks like, you know that’s it’s nothing special. Just a typical small bathroom in an old Manhattan’s West Village neighbourhood. So, forget about an expensive spa & wellness membership. Instead, turn your bath or shower into a spa and let your worries wash away.
"Wash All Your Tensions Away" Kit
5. Punch A Pillow
Pillow punching is a great technique for anger management especially if you’ve built up a lot of anger and rage in a relatively short period of time. Also screaming from the top of your lungs works remarkably well, however, if you’re living in a condo like me it may not be the best way (for legitimate reasons) to release tension and negative energy from your body. Of course, if you want to do it go ahead but don’t be surprised if your neighbours call the cops on you. So if you feel the need to release anger and you want to do it in a healthy and quick way I highly recommend you punching a pillow (but not your favourite one). Beat the hell out of it!
6. Stress Ball
Just tell me, you’ve never used a stress ball to calm your anxious mind and release tension from your muscles. When I was in high school, this squeeze and release relaxing tool was my favourite way to deal with anxiety and tension in the classroom. And let me tell you something, my high school was an extremely stressful place. Did you know that they’re making talking stress balls now?! That’s a massive technological advance. Ok, I’m just kidding but, the truth is, this squeeze toy is a cheap, fun and functional mental therapy! You should definitely try it!
Effective As Fck Stress Balls
III Cleanse Your Soul
Engage in spiritual self-care, tap into your intuition and deepen your connection with your higher self through a powerful and positive ritual.
1. Put On A Cozy Playlist
If you haven’t already created an account on Spotify I really don’t know what you’ve been doing with your life. Even my 82-year old neighbour has one. She throws out the garbage waltzing… I’m not kidding. It’s funny to watch. I have multiple playlists on my Spotify account, each of them is created for a different purpose such as relaxation, creating motivation, boosting energy, maximizing productivity and so on. I highly recommend you do the same right away. Go on Spotify here and put together a playlist (or multiple playlists) of your favourite “feel good” songs.
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2. Use Your Support System
Instead of over-analyzing the situation you’re in and creating different worst-case scenarios talk to someone. Free yourself from this internal tension by sharing your experience with others. Of course, I’m not saying that you should approach a stranger and tell them about your mental health struggles because it may not be a good idea to share your private life with some random person. Instead, use your phone and call or message someone that you know is trustworthy. Talk to your family member, friend or even co-worker and describe how you’re feeling. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. People are around you in your life for a reason.
Talking to someone about your struggles is a great opportunity to release stress and tension from your body, refresh your thinking, gain a new point of view and in consequence look at your situation from a completely different perspective.
3. Have A Brain Orgasm
I am sure you heard about ASMR – this incredible experience of tingling sensation inside your head involuntarily induced by a stimulus. This “low-grade euphoria” or brain orgasm – like some people call it, can be experienced on command or spontaneously. So, if you find your ASMR triggers you will be able to put yourself in this incredibly pleasant feeling in the body every single time you feel down, overly stressed or anxious.
Of course, everyone is different and each person has different triggers that’s why you will have to find your ASMR triggers. However, I’ve noticed that most people I know experience ASMR when they listen to a voice that calms them down. So my advice for you is to search for a person with an amazingly soothing voice that will calm your fears, anxiety, or even pain. It can the voice of your favourite singer, podcaster, your friend that could send you a voice message on Whatsapp for example.
Find the voice that calms you helps you to enter a flow state of mind every time you feel upset and disturbed. When you’re anxious, overwhelmed and stressed out just put some good relaxing music, listen to gentle whispering on Spotify or ASMR podcasts and zoned out.
4. Connect With Your Inner Child
Do you miss your childhood? Wouldn’t it be great to back and re-experienced the best moments of your early life? Maybe you constantly find yourself thinking about days when life was free from worries, adult problems and all of this everyday stress. At times like that, you probably say to yourself, If only time travel were possible…
Well, technically it’s quite possible. So take a deep breath, make yourself comfortable, close your eyes, let yourself go and project yourself into the past. Let your imagination run wild and get in the flow state of mind. Find your activity that sparks your flow. Refocus your focus on something fun and creative that will make you lose track of time. Engage in an activity that will spark your flow and unlock your creative potential. Engage in an activity that will make you lose track of time. Focus like a ninja on something relaxing and enjoyable but also creative. Try to think like a child again! Paint using your hands, build sandcastles, invent your own game, dance like no one’s watching, laugh your head off, indulge in chocolate dessert. Suspend your judgment, bail on the fear of rejection, failure, judgment, and possibility of making mistakes and let your imagination run away with you. Just zoned out.
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5. Use Your Emotions As Your Guidance
When life gets tough and nothing goes according to plan it’s easy to engage in negative self-talk and obsess over worst-case scenarios. We all know that. We’ve all been there. But this negative mental attitude not only does it not solve anything; on the contrary, it exacerbates every problem. So if you don’t want to make a bad situation worse, stop the negative inner voice in your head. Turn it off. Be assertive. Feel free to say “NO” to this harmful, negative and fearful internal voice that your brain creates so willingly every single time you feel low. Just say “NO” to this bullsh*t! Instead, tell yourself that you are SAFE in all scenarios that you co-create. Remember that you are NOT at the mercy of your emotions that your brain creates without your consent. All the emotions are SAFE. They cannot do ANY harm. They come and go. Emotions are just a piece of information that tells us the truth about the situation we found ourselves in. So use them as your guidance not a weapon of self-destruction. Be mindful. Be in control.
6. Smell Your Way Out With Essential Oils
And last but not least (the order has been random) absolutely must-haves in your self-care kit are essential oils. Essential oils are well-known for stress relief, energy boost and beauty-boosting abilities. Did you know that they’re making essential oil diffuser jewellery? This means, that you can make your favourite essential oil blend and take it with you wherever you’re heading! If you’re new to the concept of aromatherapy, I highly recommend you “Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle” that you can learn more about here.
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and Create Your Epic Self-Care Kit For A Strong Mental Health!