24 Self-care ideas for the really bad times

self-care-ideasWinter brings with it some really fun times, but the endless gray and slush can be disheartening and downright depressing when things get tough. Winter here in the PNW doesn’t seem to have an end in sight right now.

To remedy the winter blues, take some time to read this list of self-care ideas and comment with your own suggestions if you don’t see them here!

1) Literal self-care – take a long hot shower or bath. Paint your nails. Do your eyebrows. Have a mini spa day. Or have a spa moment, if you’re to busy for a full day.

2) Make a list – write about the best moments from the year. List what you’re grateful for. Write down your favorite memories. List what makes you happy. Post the list somewhere you’ll see it on the regular.

3) Color. Don’t let grumpy, judge-y people tell you this is only for children. Do what makes you feel better, and if wearing fluffy socks and coloring Harry Potter pictures makes you happier, go for it.

4) Spend time with your spirituality. Do Bible study, read the Quran, go to your temple or synagogue, burn incense, talk to a spiritual leader you’re close with, whatever makes you feel at peace and into what you believe

5) Cry. Scream. Whatever you need to do to let the feelings out. Even if you don’t know what exactly is bothering you. Even if you’ve already been upset. Just let it out. Put a time limit on this though – indulging in your emotions is fine, but wallowing can make you feel worse.

6) Take a sick day – you need to take care of your mental health too. Call in sick, turn off your phone, spend the day relaxing with blankets, order-in comfort food, watch Netflix or your DVR, and spend time with your favorite book.

7) If you’re to extroverted for that sick day to work, take the opposite. Have a night out with your crew. Or if you’re all able to, why not have a grown up skip day? Why should high school seniors get to have all the fun.

8) Sometimes, if it’s been a really hard time, you just need to go back home for a bit. It’s not a sign of weakness to go back to your mom’s cooking and your dad’s bad jokes for a bit when the road gets really rough.

9) Change your environment up. Nothing makes a place brighter than some sun and some new accessories, especially accessories and special touches that you’ve made yourself. Find that craft you’ve loved forever on Pinterest and do it. Find something you like at Goodwill and spray paint it your favorite color. Buy posters at the dollar store and cut them up for your own collage. Your environment can impact what’s going on in your head, if what’s around you is cheerful, you’ll feel happier. Alternatively, if your place is a wreck, cleaning it may be the first step to feeling better in your surroundings.

10) Nap. If you’ve ever had a totally normal day but for some reason it seemed overwhelming, it could be the stress getting to you. It could also be that you only got three hours of sleep last night and you’re running on caffeine fumes.

11) Change of scenery. Sometimes you just need to mope somewhere new to get over it fast. Occupy a chair at the local bookstore, stare out the rainy library window morosely, cry with your friends over mimosas at brunch. Emotions are part of what makes us human, and there’s no shame in showing them in public if being somewhere else is what helps you.

12) Retail. Therapy. Maybe material stuff isn’t your love language, but for some people there’s something positive about buying that pair of shoes or jeans you know you’ve needed to replace, and reminding yourself you’re worth spending that money. Just don’t go crazy.

13) Hit the gym, or the trail, or the dojo, or whatever physical outlet is your choice. Go expend some energy.

14) While you’re at the gym, or wherever else, blast that angry music. Or blast it while you’re running around your house cleaning. Or play some melancholy ballads and cry. The soundtrack to your life can help you get those feelings out. Remember to change it to some more upbeat tunes once you’ve gotten your emotions out. Repeat after me, wallowing is bad.

15) Fresh air – Take a walk, take a run, open a window, sit in the sun. It’ll wake you up and make you feel better.

16) Make tea or coffee. And I’m not just saying you should make it because you like the taste – get involved in the process. Pay attention to what you’re doing. Get lost in the motions and routine of it. And it doesn’t have to just be coffee or tea. Spend hours baking the perfect dessert, make a month of pre-planned freezer dinners. Distracting yourself while simultaneously being constructive can feel good, especially if being in the kitchen is your thing.

17) Follow other routines you can lose yourself in. Clean the bathroom til it sparkles. Organize your linen closet (or box, or wherever you keep that stuff). Label te random boxes of seasonal crap you’ve acquired. Whatever methodical process lets you lost yourself in the actions.

18) Sleep. Not just nap, but allocate time and schedule yourself so you get adequate sleep. This will do wonders for your mental state.

19) Volunteer. Find a new cause you believe in. Find an organization you want to support. When you reach that point where you know you can’t just be miserableand alone anymore, force yourself to get out of the house. A great way to do that is with  a commitment to helping other people who need help more than you do.

20) Read a book, or blog, or the news, or Pinterest posts. Whatever written word strikes your fancy.

21) Donate stuff. Go through your clothes, the kitchen items that you have three or four versions of, etc. and get rid of them. Shedding unnecessary stuff can feel like a step towards a fresh start.

22) Light some candles, burn some incense, warm up a scentsy. This goes back to what I said about your environment impacting your mood; make it nice, make your mood better,

23) Pull some weeds. Seriously, go rage at your garden. There’s something a little disturbingly satisfying about pulling something out of the ground and getting rid of it.

24) I do this completely ridiculous thing where I compare my life to all the TV shows and books and movies I consume. And somewhere in all those stories someone has gone through what I’ve gone through, or probably worse, and they made it out just fine. Go watch that. You don’t have to feel 100% okay when it’s all done, but it can help.

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