Self-care looks different for everyone. I’m sharing my personal self-care plan with an invitation to do what works for you.
VOTE. Voting is part of my self-care plan because it an act of power. It is something I have DONE to make a difference. In anxiety, stress and worry, our brain often searches for things we can control. Part of my self-care plan is to remind myself that I VOTED, reminding my mind I have taken action.
REMEMBER THE AGENCY I HAVE. On that note, I remind myself what I AM in control of. I am in control of how I spend my time, what I read or listen to, how I care for myself, others, and my surroundings.
SELF-COMPASSION. This is one of the biggest ones for me. I may slip from my plan from time to time and when I do, I plan on noticing, checking in, giving myself some love, and then with kindness, decide what next smallest step I want to take for my well-being. If you want to know one of my self-compassion techniques, just ask! Self-Compassion is vital and I expect there will be times where I’ll need to interrupt unhelpful thoughts with some love.
CHOOSING WHERE TO LOOK. I have identified what sites are ok for me to check this week (for me, that’s AP News, FiveThirtyEight, and NPR). I will choose not to use Facebook as a news source. I respond more calmly to written news rather than video news, so I will let that guide me.
MONITORING FREQUENCY & DURATION. I’m setting a TIMER on my phone before checking news and social media and sticking to it! I’ve also decided to take at minimum 1-hour breaks between checking news or social media sites (and will encourage myself to take longer breaks, when possible). I will remind myself that things will not be different if I check sites 2 times a day or 20 times a day. I will remind myself of what it is I CAN control.
FUN, LIGHTHEARTED ACTIVITIES. This one is a biggie for me. I’ve made a list on my Keep app of activities I can do this week that are healthy, fun, and/or comforting. I know the list will help when I hit a brain freeze due to anxiety and stress. Many of these activities have nothing to do with the election, on purpose. I’ve gotten specific:
- podcast episodes, tedtalks & audiobooks I’ve been wanting to listen to
- make pretzels (there’s a box of my fav pretzel-making kit in the pantry)
- quick chat with a friend (might have to request some time in the chat is dedicated to subjects outside of the election)
- journaling or Rage Doodling
- 3 minute bursts of movement — putting on a 3-minute song and dancing. Just three minutes of movement can help shift our mood and get those good chemicals in our brain going. I also recommend what I call “punch dancing” if your body allows, pretending to “punch racism” or whatever else feels good to imagine. I can move for more than 3 minutes, of course, but setting that small amount of time makes it easier to do.
- shows and movies — My body is already in a stress response due to the nature of this week, so I’m staying away from content like Criminal Minds and My Favorite Murder, etc, since my body doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined. I’ll choose to enjoy uplifting/fun shows the most. I may choose to watch some sad shows/movies, since that helps me let some tears out, which my mind and body will appreciate.
- going outside or looking at photos of nature (some studies show even photos of nature can have a good effect on our mood).
- send a Marco Polo to a friend that is election-content free.
- craft a card to send to a friend, recalling a fun memory we share together
- do something around the house. This reminds my brain there are things within my control. It might be a tiny project, but it will feel good to have it done!
COMFORT. Big sweatshirts, onesies, fuzzy socks. Staying warm and cozy. Hot Tea. Enjoying fabrics/blankets that feel good to touch.
CHECKING IN WITH MY MINDSET AND MOOD. Practicing techniques that I know help to lower stress and anxiety in my body and mind (you can learn one here). For those of you who took my “8 Bite-Sized Techniques to Comfort the Mind, you have a whole toolbox full of things that will help! I’m also reminding myself that while I can’t control the first thoughts that pop into my head, I can choose where I focus my thoughts from there, bringing myself to the present moment or to a past or future positive thought. If you want me to share more easy, quick, effective techniques with you, just let me know via FB, IG, or email.
SETTING MY BOUNDARIES. Other people may have more bandwidth for talking and texting about the news and I plan on letting them know if I need a break from it for a while, in a way that respects them and my own needs.
HYDRATION AND FOOD. I will remind myself to keep hydrating throughout the day. I notice that the better I hydrate, the easier it is to manage my mood. I plan on eating healthy veggies but am also allowing myself some snacks that likely wouldn’t be recommended by a nutritionist. ;) Speaking of nutritionists, check out Mary Purdy’s podcast episode “7 foods to beat the blues” here: https://marypurdy.co/food-and-mood I’m just making sure I’m incorporating some healthy food too, to honor the rest of my body, not just my tastebuds and mouth. I’m allowing myself some alcohol, but not a bunch, as I know that can often make anxiety and mood worse. I’m going to make sure I’m not overdoing it with caffeine either, since that can activate more anxiety. I’m going to be imperfect with food choices this week, and I’m ok with that. There’s that self-compassion again.
GIVING MYSELF PERMISSION TO GRIEVE AND FEEL SAD. I regularly remind myself that it’s the human experience to feel all of my feelings, not just the ones that are easy to feel. There are reasons we are feeling the harder feelings right now. Naming our emotions, acknowledging them, letting them up, out, and through is part of this. (There’s that self-compassion again).
Keridwyn Deller, Mindset Coach & Hypnotherapist