The System of Self-Care: the 7 Pillars to Serenity

When it comes down to truly taking care of ourselves, there is more than just our body that needs attention. Of course, it’s an important, even indispensable dimension of self-care but there is more. Surprise – surprise self-care comes in multiple forms.

Before I list down the 7 forms I consider the backbone of self-care – in other words: every activity or sub-dimension of self-care can be listed under one or multiple of these 7 forms – I want you to realize that these seven are inseparably connected with each other.

Not one of them is necessarily more valuable, it’s about the balance and relationship between them.

Sure, one might need less attention in the form of ‘aware’ self-care because it already gets positive fulfillment due to virtuous activities you do naturally in your life. And opposite this statement is also valid, one might need more attention because you have destructive habits that create a shortcoming in some way.

Balance

I like to see these seven dimensions as pillars, all of which support a different aspect of yourself. If one is weaker, or more dominant, the whole structure will be dis-balanced.

Relationship

What I mean by the relationship is that each self-care activity is most probably connected to one of the other forms of self-care and they can affect one another. Therefore the relationship between them can be of great importance on the results you gain from the initial action.

I know I know, these words are just words. Let me elaborate with a realistic example.

A social self-care activity could be to hang out with your friends. Which is initially great!

Yet you all decide to go to a bar and you end up getting wasted.

This, as you can imagine does not at all have a positive influence on your physical state let alone your mental, emotional or spiritual mode the next day…

When we reflect back to the original activity of self-care: to hang-out with your friends and the actual result of the action, how much has benefitted you and how much has ‘worn you out’.

This is what I classify as an unfavorable relationship between the social self-care activity and the other forms of self-care.

Let’s shuffle it up.

Same original self-care activity: hanging out with friends. Yet this time you all meet at the park and bring along home-made snacks ánd your dogs.

You end up getting some exercise by throwing over a Frisbee (physical self-care); munch on a couple of veggie wraps (physical self-care); connect with nature (spiritual self-care); you have a deep conversation with your friends (mental/emotional self-care) and boom, a very loving and caring relationship.

These two examples were of course ‘exaggerated’ cases but I hope that the idea of balance and relationship between the several forms has clarified. Enough introduction, let me give you the ingredients of the juice.

1. Physical Self-Care

Physical self-care involves actions that directly relate to your body’s state of wealth.

This includes a mindful and nutritious diet, enough exercise, a regular and solid sleeping pattern & healthy acknowledgment of your body’s needs. Meaning, when your body is sick you seek medical assistance or when you need to go the bathroom, you go.

Sub-dimensions of Physical Self-Care: Diet; Exercise; Sleep & Physical awareness

Physical Self Care idea’s:

  • Prepare a healthy meal for yourself
  • Do a yoga class; go to the gym; take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Set a goal to drink 2 L of water per day
  • Go to bed early
  • Take notice of signals from your body
  • Moisture your skin

2. Mental Self-Care

Before sharing my two cents on what mental self-care is, I think It’s important to define what is meant with mind/mental and why emotional and intellectual self-care are mentioned separately in this list.

We’ve all had discussions and questions of what exactly the mind is and what it contains. To find there isn’t a conclusive answer. Right?

Amongst various movements of philosophy, religion, psychology and cognitive science there are diverse definitions. If you are looking for a clear answer, I’m afraid I can’t help you.

But what I can tell you, and something I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me. The mind is our private terrain of thoughts, it’s the conversation we have with ourselves.

And if you’ve ever done some research into positive affirmations, you’ll understand where I’m heading.

Mental processes include us having the capacity to make sense of the things around us, to reflect upon them and to interpret. Thinking is another one of these mental processes we’re capable of, it contributes to our understanding of cause and effect, to recognize patterns, to comprehend and to be able to respond in a meaningful and yes – this has to be mentioned – in a mindful way.

Memory, the ability to preserve, retain and recall, knowledge, information or experience. And imagination, the activity of creating unique and new images, ideas or concepts in the mind are both other actions the mind is responsible for.

So, what’s mental self-care?

Personally, I categorize here activities that lead to a healthy and positive mental state. Ideas that help us think more positively and stimulate inspiring images.

And once again, as I mentioned before, all these forms of self-care are inseparable from each other. So, sure, an emotional or intellectual self-care activity most probably will have similar actions and results in common. Twice as nice, yay!

Ideas of Mental self-care:

  • Practicing a positive affirmation
  • Reading a book
  • Playing ‘brain-training’ games
  • Reflecting on a specific choice/action
  • Observing thoughts, meditation
  • Challenge yourself to say thank you instead of sorry
  • Give yourself a break and take a digital detox!
  • Writing a fictional story

3. Emotional Self-Care

First of all, let’s state the obvious before discussing the core of emotional self-care.

Emotions are complex.

There are literally tons and tons of feelings and emotions we are capable of experiencing, on a wide scale ranging from Affection and Anger all the way to Worry and Wonder. And these emotions aren’t alone, they are like no other intertwined with other dimensions of our experiences.

The word emotion, originating from the French word émouvoir, meaning to stir up refers well to the ability of emotions. They can either motivate or de-motivate, make us feel comfortable or cold; have us gushing out tears or blissfully smiling…

uh-huh, intriguingly intricate.

Emotions are often the driving force behind motivation, both positive and negative. Therefore a healthy, caring and understanding relationship with your emotional state can be of vital necessity for your serenity.

Emotional Self Care idea’s:

  • Mindfully observe without judgment
  • Use an art-form to express your emotions/feelings
  • Mindfully focus on a pleasurable emotion. Make a list of the things you are grateful for.
  • Take some time for yourself. By being alone you can truly distinguish your own emotions compared to those of others.
  • Writing in a journal
  • Follow a drama class

4. Intellectual Self-Care

Your intellect is your capacity for thinking and acquiring knowledge.

Just like a healthy diet being a form of self-care where you are feeding yourself with nutritious fuel. Similarly, intellectual self-care is of importance, you are feeding yourself fuel for the mind.

Intellect is often considered to be a branch of intelligence reflecting mainly its logical and rational side. It, therefore, can help you to come to correct conclusions, whether something is real or true.

Experience plays a crucial role in the development of one’s intellect. Especially relevant, through solving life problems people can reach intellectual enlightenment and improve their behavioral patterns to act more reasonably and appropriately in the future.

Intellectual self-care ideas:

  • Learning a new language
  • Doing something for the first time
  • Watching a documentary
  • Thinking of multiple solutions to a problem
  • Learn to play a musical instrument

5. Spiritual self-care

Similar to the ‘mind’ spirituality can be defined in many ways and therefore there are numerous activities that you can do to improve your spiritual health.

Here at NomadSoulzz spiritual is seen as a subjective experience of a sacred dimension and it covers the ‘’deepest’’ values and meanings by which people live. When practicing spiritual self-care, we aim to transcend the material aspects of life and focus on developing a sense of awe and wonder toward the universe.

As a result of the big differences in how people interpret spirituality, I believe one of the most crucial factors here is respect. Respect for all beings, their beliefs, and their choices.

We are all connected and our state of body, mind and spirit influences that around us. The awareness of this can positively affect our spiritual experiences and health.

Spiritual self-care ideas:

  • Prayer / meditation
  • Attending services with like-minded others
  • Going on a spiritual retreat
  • Clarifying your values and priorities
  • Initiating or joining meaningful discussions with others (with respect towards each other)
  • Finding ways to contribute to the well-being of others
  • Having respect for other people’s spiritual values
  • Reading literature. 

6. Social self-care

I don’t know about you, but every time I see my partner, close friends or a total stranger sending me a genuine smile, that makes me happy. Happy in a way that is different than other things that make me happy.

Why?

Because it’s not just me in the equation. It involves another being, it’s another life merging with yours.

If we look at this aspect on a more scientific level we’ll find that the outermost layer of our brains (the neocortex) is much larger in humans when compared to other mammals of similar size. Interesting is that the neocortex is involved in higher social cognition, such as conscious thought, language, behavioral and emotion regulation, as well as empathy. And with this comes the ability to understand the feelings and intentions of others.

Being social is not only natural to us, it is as vital as eating and sleeping to develop ourselves.

Without interaction with others, the parts of the brain that is responsible for empathy and self-regulation don’t develop properly.

So, in a complete and ideal system of self-care, there should be no doubt of the essence of those besides the self. We are all connected.

Social self-care idea’s:

  • Doing volunteer work
  • Giving someone a compliment
  • Joining a club
  • Playing a game with someone
  • Having a meaningful conversation
  • Be a listener
  • Having a family dinner
  • Catching up with a relative through social-media

7. Practical Self-Care

Somethings we do aren’t necessarily ‘fun’ or directly related to an action of self-care, yet, they can be. When this awareness shifts we make things a whole lot lighter for ourselves.

For example, something as practical as decluttering a drawer can have huge benefits on mental and emotional layers. Due to the clean and organized drawer (the result of your practical self-care action) the next time you open the drawer you don’t experience an emotion of frustration and you are more at ease mentally (no negative thoughts towards yourself being unorganized).

Practical self-care idea’s:

  • Changing your bed linens
  • Doing groceries
  • Simplifying your to-do list
  • Donating stuff you don’t longer use. 

8 Badass Benefits Of Waking Up Early!

Do you feel as if 24 hours a day isn’t enough? I hear ya! With so many goals and tasks I set for myself I sometimes feel pretty disappointed if I can’t complete them all. Upping my productivity game whilst keeping my self-care regime in mind I decided it was time to consistently start waking up earlier and boy-oh-boy the benefits of waking up early are a game changer. And it’s about time we share them badass benefits on the blog.

However, before we dive deep into the marvelous benefits of waking up early I believe it’s important to address that you should consider if waking up early suits your needs. In other words, have a clear motivation on why you want to wake up earlier and what the direct advantage would be for your life.

Is it a loving gesture towards yourself or are you demanding something exterior to yourself?

Choosing to wake up earlier needs to be a conscious decision you make for YOURSELF. And not because we say it has benefits, or your partner says you should wake up earlier. However if you want to and you’re looking for some extra motivation, keep on reading… hehe

Personally, waking up early means I create the possibility to stress-free undertake a self-care morning routine. When waking up later I feel stuck in between what the jobs need, what I personally need and what the family needs all under the pressure of a ticking clock. No fun at all.

From Buddist monks to the world’s most successful CEO’s. Waking up early seems to be amongst their best habits. All of them dedicating that extra time to their own needs. From meditation, reflection, and practicing gratitude to working out, studying or even cleaning the house!

Badass benefits of waking up early:

You create routine & consistency

This is one of the most welcomed consequences that seems to occur with deliberately waking up early. And believe it or not, consistency is the hidden key to success.

Besides that, I experience this added consistency as a level up in my quality of life. It creates accountability. And consistency allows you to grow and progress in whatever you choose to do with that extra time you have on hand.

For example, if you choose to work-out in those early hours, within a couple of weeks you’ll find that by coming back consistently you’ll have built up muscle and a higher endurance, you’re much more at ease with certain exercises etc. Similarly, whatever you choose to do you’ll see that by consistently coming back you’ll progress significantly.

As much as I love freedom and no-planned days, the routine of waking up early makes my days so I can enjoy the unexpected instead of having to juggle the chaos otherwise.

Productivity boost

Another great one amongst the benefits of waking up early: having the pleasure of a productivity boost! Remember I mentioned I wish a day had more than 24 hours in a day? Well, by waking up early it seems my wish is being granted…  By being able to utilize the hours that I have more productively.

Waking up early is giving yourself the advantage of being ahead of what is coming. You have the time and space to allow yourself to mentally prepare for the day. What do you want to get done today? What needs to get done? etc.

You get to choose how the day goes!

Nothing external has power over you. Utilize the early mornings in such a way where you can create your own moment where you decide with which intention you step into the day ahead of you.

Besides all the above, if you’re not set on exactly what you need or want to do in the mornings you can use that precious time to get nagging tasks out of the way. Clearing up space mentally for a more productive day. Those tasks won’t distract you during the day as you’ve already tackled it when everyone else was sleeping.

Good time to make decisions

For some reason, the fresh morning energy is super contagious (love it!). After a night’s rest, you’re able to exploit that clarity of the rising sun in your own mind. Making important decisions goes with less effort and more positive rationality.

I believe a great reason for that is during the day we easily get (subconsciously) overwhelmed by external stimuli. From people, from emails, social media, the weather, the news etc. After a period of disconnecting (sleep), we’re more likely to be in tune with our true and intuitive selves.

A rested mind is a useful mind. Use it to your benefit and voila, life will thrive before your eyes.

Another reason why its easier to make decisions in the morning is scientifically confirmed. Researchers found that the prefrontal cortex, the frontal lobe of the brain, is the most active during and immediately after waking up. And this part of the brain is related to the ability to differentiate conflicting thoughts and is capable of arranging thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals.

Active creative thinking

Another one of those yummy benefits of waking up early! Similar to being able to make clear decisions, your creative thinking is more active. And you can use this to your advantage. By doing some activities that require that extra creative alertness and input. Such as creative problem solving, brainstorming a new concept, or writing something.

The Millennial’s Guide to Not Going Broke

How confident do you feel about your financial future? If you’re unsure or perhaps a little concerned, you’re not alone. Research suggests that while 60 percent of women worry they won’t have enough money to last through retirement, only one in three have a detailed budget. It seems we’re all nervous about the future, but we’re not taking control of our spending habits. If that sounds familiar, it’s time to ’fess up and get your finances on track.

Step 1: Calculate Your Monthly Income

The first step is simple: Find your latest pay check to calculate your monthly income after taxes are taken out. This is the amount deposited into your bank account each month after deductions like 401(k) contributions. If you’re self-employed or paid on commission, take a look at the past four to six months to create a realistic monthly estimate.

Step 2: Tally Fixed Expenses

Next, list all the expenses that are non-negotiable. Fixed expenses are those recurring costs that you must pay every month because they’re vital for your well-being or are commitments you’ve already made. Think rent, utilities, and car payments. Also, be sure to include contributions to an emergency and retirement fund in this section—they should be treated as an essential cost.

Now, don’t forget about expenses that aren’t billed regularly. Some fixed expenses you don’t actually pay for in equal amounts each month, so come up with a monthly average, For instance, if you pay insurance just twice a year, calculate the annual amount you pay, and then divide by 12. Or if your utility bills fluctuate a lot, research the total you paid for a full 12-month period, and divide by 12.

Step 3: Estimate Variable Expenses

Now it’s time to chart your extra expenses—think clothes shopping, gym memberships, hair appointments, or money spent on going out. Variable expenses are those that can change each month or are discretionary. Try to think of all the ways you spend money. Going to the movies or to a local coffee shop are black holes for your money. Be sure to create separate categories just for them.

The key to accurately forecasting variable expenses is to call on past spending records. If you haven’t been keeping track, download a budgeting app like Mint or Level Money. Once you link your bank accounts, both apps automatically categorize your past expenses so you have months of spending data at your fingertips.

Next, analyze your habits, and try to create a spending guideline. Identify the areas that are the biggest financial drain, and question whether you could cut back on those costs in your budget.

Step 4: Assess What’s Left

When you subtract your monthly fixed and variable expenses from your monthly after-tax income, what you have left over is your discretionary income. In layman’s terms, discretionary income = monthly income – expenses (both fixed and variable). It’s your leftover money, which ideally should be put toward long-term goals, like saving for a property or putting extra money away for retirement.

The obvious goal is to grow your discretionary income and make saving a priority over spending. Decide how much you’d like to save each month, and then decide where to cut back. You have many needs and wants that are all competing for your limited resources. You have to decide the best way to balance your current expenses and saving needs so you never spend more than you make.

Step 5: Evaluate Your Budget

This final step is vital. Calculate what percentage of your income is put toward each area of the budget. Then review the budget and carefully review how you’re allocating money. Ask yourself, Is there a way you could be better spending your pay check? Are you happy with the amount you’re contributing to savings?

A popular way to divvy your budget is the 50/20/30 rule. This suggests that 50 percent of your income should go toward essential costs (fixed expenses), 30 percent should be allocated to lifestyle choices (variable expenses), and the remaining 20 percent should go toward financial priorities, like paying off debt or growing your savings account.

Good news: You’re done! Now that you’ve categorized your spending habits and assigned new goals, you should have a succinct budget to put into place. Don’t lose momentum though; now’s the time to test out your budget and see if you’ve set realistic limits.

Pencil in 30 minutes at the end of each month to check your budget and compare it with your spending habits. Budgeting is a work in progress, so be sure to fine-tune the categories and goals until you’ve got a workable personalized guide.

Now, ask yourself that question again: How confident do I feel about my financial future? After these five steps, you might find you have a very different response.

101 Self-Care Suggestions for When It All Feels Like Too Much

I think that, for most of us, there are times in life when it all just feels like Too Much.

There may be some days, weeks, months, maybe even years when – for whatever reason – just getting through the day, or going to work, or putting one foot in front of the other feels hard. Really, really hard.

Maybe it’s because you’re wrestling with anxiety, depression or some other mental illness. Maybe it’s because you’ve had your heart broken. Maybe you’ve gone through a physical or emotional trauma. Maybe you’re deeply grieving. Or maybe there’s no easily understood reason for why you’re feeling bad.

Whatever the case, I want you to know that it’s OK if you’re going through a tough time. This doesn’t make you any less lovable, worthy or capable. This just means you’re human.

Being a human can be a messy, hard, confusing, painful experience sometimes.

So if you or someone you love is going through one of these tough times right now, a time where it all just feels like too much, I want to offer up 101 suggestions for self-care to help you or your loved one get through this time.

1. Have a good, long, body-shaking cry.

2. Call a trusted friend or family member and talk it out.

3. Call in sick. Take comp time if you can. Take a mental health day.

4. Say no to extra obligations, chores, or anything that pulls on your precious self-care time.

5. Book a session (or more!) with your therapist.

6. Dial down your expectations of yourself at this time. When you’re going through life’s tough times, I invite you to soften your expectations of yourself and others.

7. Tuck yourself into bed early with a good book and clean sheets.

8. Watch a comforting/silly/funny/lighthearted TV show or movie.

9. Reread your favorite picture and chapter books from childhood.

10. Ask for some love and tenderness from your friends on social media. Let them comment on your post and remind you that you’re loved.

11. Look at some really gorgeous pieces of art.

12. Watch YouTube videos of Ellen DeGeneres and the adorable kids she has on her show.

13. Look at faith-in-humanity-restoring lists from Buzzfeed.

14. Ask for help. From whoever you need it – your boss, your doctor, your partner, your therapist, your mom. Let people know you need some help.

15. Wrap yourself up in a cosy fleece blanket and sip a cup of hot tea.

16. Breathe. Deeply. Slowly. Four counts in. Six counts out.

17. Hydrate. Have you had enough water today?

18. Eat. Have you eaten something healthy and nourishing today?

19. Sleep. Have you slept 7-9 hours? Is it time for some rest?

20. Shower. Then dry your hair and put on clothes that make you feel good.

21. Go outside and be in the sunshine.

22. Move your body gently in ways that feel good. Maybe aim for 30 minutes. Or 10 if 30 feels like too much.

23. Read a story (or stories) of people who overcame adversity or maybe dealt with mental illness, too. (I personally admire JK Rowling’s story.)

24. Go to a 12-Step meeting. Or any group meeting where support is offered. Check out church listings, hospital listings, school listings for examples.

25. If you suspect something may be physiologically off with you, go see your doctor and/or psychiatrist and talk to them. Medication might help you at this time and they can assist you in assessing this.

26. Take a long, hot bath, light a candle and pamper yourself.

27. Read these inspirational quotes.

28. Cuddle someone or something. Your partner. A pillow. Your friend’s dog.

29. Read past emails/postcards/letters etc. from friends and family reminding you of happier times.

30. Knit. Sculpt. Bake. Engage your hands.

31. Exhaust yourself physically – running, yoga, swimming, whatever helps you feel fatigued.

32. Write it out. Free form in a journal or a Google doc. Get it all out and vent.

33. Create a plan if you’re feeling overwhelmed. List out what you need to do next to tackle and address whatever you’re facing. Chunk it down into manageable and understandable pieces.

34. Remember: You only have to get through the next five minutes. Then the next five. And so on.

35. Take five minutes to meditate.

36. Write out a list of 25 Reasons Why You’ll Be OK.

37. Write out a list of 25 Examples of Things You’ve Overcome or Accomplished.

38. Write out a list of 25 Reasons Why You’re a Good, Lovable Person.

39. Write out a list of 25 Things That Make Your Life Beautiful.

40. Sniff some scents that bring you joy or remind you of happier times.

41. Ask for support from friends and family via text if voice-to-voice contact feels like too much. Ask them to check in with you via text daily/weekly. Whatever you need.

42. Lay down on the ground. Let the earth/floor hold you. You don’t have to hold it all on your own.

43. Clean up a corner of a room of your house. Sometimes tidying up can help calm our minds.

44. Ask yourself: What’s my next most immediate priority? Do that. Then ask the question again.

45. Read some poetry. Rumi, Hafiz, Mary Oliver are all excellent.

46. Take a tech break. Delete or deactivate social media if it feels too triggering right now.

47. Or maybe get on tech. If you’ve been isolating maybe even interacting with friends and family online might feel good.

48. Go out in public and be around others. You don’t have to engage. But maybe go sit in a coffee shop or on a bench at a museum and soak up the humanity around you.

49. Or if you’re feeling too saturated with contact, go home. Cancel plans and tend to the introverted parts of yourself.

50. Ask friends and family to remind you that things will be OK and that what you’re feeling is temporary.

51. Put up some Christmas lights in your bedroom. They often make things more magical.

52. Spend a little money and treat yourself to some self-care and comfort. Maybe take a taxi versus the bus. Buy your lunch instead of forcing yourself to pack it. Buy some flowers that delight you.

53. Make art. Scribble with crayons. Splash some watercolours. Paint a rock. Whatever. Just create something.

54. Go wander around outside in your neighbourhood and take a look at all the lovely houses and the way people decorate their gardens. Delight in the diversity of design.

55. Go visit or volunteer at your local animal rescue. Pet some animals.

56. Look at photos of people you love. Set them as the wallpaper of your phone or laptop.

57. Create and listen to a playlist of songs that remind you of happier times.

58. Read some spiritual literature.

59. Scream, pound pillows, tear up paper, shake your body to move the energy out.

60. Eat your favorite, most comforting foods.

61. Watch old Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood videos online.

62. Turn off the lights, sit down, stare into space and do absolutely nothing.

63. Pick one or two things that feel like progress and do them. Make your bed. Put away the dishes. Return an email.

64. Go to a church or spiritual community service. Sit among others and absorb any guidance or grace that feels good to you.

65. Allow yourself to fantasize about what you’re hoping or longing for. There are clues and energy in your reveries and daydreams that are worth paying attention to.

66. Watch Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response videos to help you calm down and fall asleep at night.

67. Listen to monks chanting, singing Tibetan bowls or nature sounds to help soothe you.

68. Colour in some adult colouring books.

69. Revisit an old hobby. Even if it feels a little forced, try your hand at things you used to enjoy and see what comes up for you.

70. Go to the ocean. Soak up the negative ions.

71. Go to the mountains. Absorb the strength and security of them.

72. Go to the forest. Drink in the shelter, life and sacredness of the trees.

73. Put down the personal help books and pick up some good old fashioned fiction.

74. Remember: Your only job right now is to put one foot in front of the other.

75. Allow and feel and express your feelings – all of them! – safely and appropriately. Seek out help if you need support in this.

76. Listen to sad songs or watch sad movies if you need a good cry.

77. Dance around wildly to your favourite, most cheesy songs from your high school years.

78. Put your hands in dirt. If you have a garden, go garden. If you have some indoor plants, tend to them. If you don’t have plants or a garden, go outside. Go to a local nursery and touch and smell all the gorgeous plants.

79. If you want to stay in bed all day watching Netflix, do it. Indulge.

80. Watch or listen to some comedy shows or goofy podcasts.

81. Look for and Google up examples of people who have gone through and made it through what you’re currently facing. Seek out models of inspiration.

82. Get expert help with whatever you need. Whether that’s through therapy, psychiatry, a lawyer, clergy, let those trained to support you do it.

83. Educate yourself about what you’re going through. Learn about what you’re facing, what you can expect to feel, and how you can support yourself in this place.

84. Establish a routine and stick to it. Routines can bring so much comfort and grounding in times of life that feel chaotic or out of control.

85. Do some hardcore nesting and make your home or bedroom as  cosy and beautiful and comforting as possible.

86. Get up early and watch a sunrise.

87. Go outside and set up a chair and watch the sunset.

88. Make your own list of self-soothing activities that engage all five of your senses.

89. Develop a supportive morning ritual for yourself.

90. Develop a relaxing evening ritual for yourself.

91. Join a support group for people who are going through what you’re going through. Check out the listings at local hospitals, libraries, churches, and universities to see what’s out there.

92. Volunteer at a local shelter or hospital or nursing home. Practice being of service to others who may also be going through a tough time.

93. Accompany a friend or family member to something. Even if it’s just keeping them company while they run errands, sometimes this kind of contact can feel like good self-care.

94. Take your dog for a walk. Or borrow a friend’s dog and take them for a walk.

95. Challenge your negative thinking.

96. Practice grounding, relaxation techniques.

97. Do something spontaneous. Walk or drive a different way to work. Order something new off the menu. Listen to a Spotify playlist of new songs.

98. Work with your doctor, naturopath or nutritionist to develop a physical exercise plan and food plan that will be supportive to whatever you’re facing right now.

99. Pray. Meditate. Write a letter to God/The Universe/Source/Your Higher Self, whatever you believe in.

100. As much as you can, please try and trust the process.

101. Finally, please remember, what you’re going through right now is temporary. It may not feel like that from inside the tough time you’re in, but this too shall pass and you will feel different again someday. If you can’t have faith in that, let me hold the hope for you.

I hope you found this list of self-care suggestions helpful in some way. But please remember, by no means is this list exhaustive nor will every item on this list possibly feel good and right for you. This list is not meant to be prescriptive, nor do I mean to imply you need to do all or any of these things to take good care of yourself. You are the expert of your own experience and I trust that you know what’s best for you.

Really, this list is really just a starting point meant to catalyze your own thinking about how you can best take care of yourself during life’s tough times and to spark your curiosity and interest in strengthening your self-care now and ongoing. Also, my hope is that in reading this you’re also hearing me say how normal and natural it is to struggle and to have these tough, hard times. It’s part of being human. You’re not alone in this.

But I have to say: The suggestions in this list are in no way a substitute for care or advice from a licensed mental health care clinician. These are self-care coaching suggestions, not therapeutic advice. Moreover, if you feel suicidal or find yourself having suicidal ideations, please call the 24/7 Lifeline Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 13 11 14 (24 HRS a day).

Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments below: What self-care techniques have really supported you when going through life’s tough times? Let me know one or more ideas, tools or activities that have brought you relief and comfort so that others can benefit from your experience and wisdom. 

Until next time, take very good care of yourself.

Warmly, Elle