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When you are deep in the valley in your struggles, it is important to remember to practice self-care. Your tough ordeals can hurt your body, mind and soul. You might just want to lock yourself in the bedroom and never see anyone again.
It is Ok to grieve your loss. You are allowed some alone time to process your emotions and the major life changes that you are facing. Do remember to practice some basic self-care practices, even if you do not feel like it and just want to sleep the pain off.
Eat regularly. Take a walk. Being out in the nature helps with depression. At the very least, spend some time in the backyard where you’re surrounded with trees or the balcony where you can look up to the sky.
Here is a list of self-care practices that help me go through my dark moments:
1. Come to consciousness mindfully
When you wake up in the morning, spend 10-15 minutes just lying in bed before your feet hit the ground. Assess how your body feels. Where does it hurt, if any at all? How do you feel? What are the thoughts that run in your mind? Are they good or negative thoughts? Do you need to cry it out? Go ahead cry it out. Then, wipe your tears and pick yourself up again.
2. Quiet time in the morning
Give at least 30 minutes to yourself in the morning before you attend to your obligations (i.e. spouse, kids, household chores, or work). Use it to talk to God (pray & worship), do yoga, practice meditation or connect to your higher consciousness – whatever your belief is.
3. Practice gratitude
Make a list of what you can be thankful for in whatever situation you are in. In my darkest night, my list looks like this, “Yes, everything hurts. But, I am still here. I am alive. Yes, I lost everything. But, I still have a place to sleep, clothes to wear and food to eat every day. Others have chronic pains to deal with every single day. I do have things to be thankful for.”
4. Take a walk (or run) at least 30 minutes every day
Make it a routine, so you don’t have to ask yourself if you should do it or not.
5. Take up yoga and/or meditation
Yoga trains you to focus on the present moment — to be still and focus on your breath. The present is all we have. The past is gone and the future is yet to come.
Plus, you will get physical benefits from the poses you do while practicing yoga.
Meditation also focuses your mind. It helps quiet the chatter in your mind.
6. Start a journal
It’s a good way to be aware of what thoughts your brain is conjuring up and what your heart is feeling. But your soul is the one that needs to decide which values align with your highest self. Every decision we make in our life is an expression of who we are. What do you want to say about yourself?
7. Learn to master your emotion
This is one of the hardest things for me to do. I am a very emotional gal (what can I say? I am scorpion!). That means I feel the good feelings deeply. I get tears of joy in my eyes when I laugh out loud. But, the downside is I feel the negative emotions deeply too. It took me a long time to let go of the past and heal.
Feel your emotion, but don’t let it define you.
8. Listen to inspiring music
Sing along and dance even if you’re by yourself.
9. Watch inspiring Ted Talks
10. Read inspiring books
11. Skip social media (and the news) for a while
Seeing pictures of your friends living it up when your own life is in a shambles don’t help at all. Focus on yourself. Join the world again when you are ready. If they are true friends, they’ll still be there for you.
I included skipping the news because, sadly, there are so many negative stories in the news nowadays. You’ve got a lot on your plate to deal with. Read or watch something encouraging instead.
12. Build a vision board
Give yourself hope for a better future. Your current dreams and plans have been shattered. Make a new one. Decide who you truly are and who you want to be this time around. What do you really want? What do you want to do for work? You are given a chance for a new life. Craft the live that you want to live.
13. Keep in touch with old friends
Bug them once in a while. See what they’re up to.
14. Find support in your community
If you lost all of your support system like I did, find your new tribe. You are also welcome to find support here in Making LOL.
15. Help someone in need
After your shutting-the-rest-of-the world period to take care of yourself, go out and help someone in need. It is said that when you are hurting, one of the best way to take the focus off yourself is to help others in need. It’ll help shift your perspective in life and realize that you are not alone in your suffering. You might even find that others are facing bigger challenges than you are.
Give yourself grace. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Release all the anger, fear and guilt you might be experiencing with this difficult season. You WILL heal and put the pieces back together again. Before you know it, you will rock this new journey and build a new life for yourself.
How about you? What do you do to get through your darkest moments?
Please share the love if you find this helpful! Thanks!