For a variety of reasons, so many of us are feeling stressed out and anxious right now. It’s not the first time we’ve felt this way and I’m sure it won’t be the last. There is so much in the world we can’t control. But, we can control the way we react to it. Or at the very least, try to. I know this is so much easier said than done. Consider this post a hug from me.
During these times, it’s absolutely necessary to prioritize self-care. I know from experience that sometimes even just the thought of trying to take care of yourself can feel like someone asking you to climb Machu Pichu or devise a policy to create peace in the Middle East. But, I’ve also learned that even the most minor acts of self-care and self-love can radically change how I feel. Here are nine ways to take care of yourself in during difficult times, in order of actual effort.
(Disclaimer: I’m not a professional. I’m just a blogger who gets anxious a lot. These things work for me. If you need professional help, please get it. If you don’t know how to, read until the end of the post.)
Puppies! Kittens! Bunnies! Hippopotami!
Get Off The Couch And Out Of The House
When I’m anxious, I need to channel my energy into things that are not an SVU marathon on Netflix. Even just a walk to get coffee feels super helpful. Run an errand like buying groceries or pick up necessities at the drug store. Even just a quick trip has a positive effect!
There is a scientific connection between exercise and anxiety relief. It doesn’t matter if you go to yoga, spin, Pilates or something else. Whatever type of exercise you don’t hate completely will work.
But, if fitness isn’t your thing (no judgments), you don’t have to go all out. No one is going to force you to wear a FitBit or printed leggings. You can start small, like walking around the block for half an hour daily or going to a class three days a week. Anything counts, so celebrate your efforts.
Connect With Others
Isolating probably isn’t going to help you. Meet up with a friend for a meal, drinks or just for a walk (yes, you can combine several of these efforts and multi-task). Share your feelings. Vent. Talk about reality television.
If the thought of going to a large mall or shopping center sounds overwhelming to you (it does to me, even on a good day), pick two or three of your favorite stores and take it from there. Buy yourself a present! You deserve it! Even something small like a new lipstick will make you feel better.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a mani-pedi at your local salon, the Cosmo-Tai at Drybar or a full-on facial at a fancy spa, get your relax on.
I don’t want to turn this post into a personal essay, but I learned how to meditate over three years ago. It was during a really difficult time in my life that was further complicated by getting fired from two jobs I hated, several months apart. I felt so alone and I had no idea why the universe was challenging me so much. Instead of going on a downward spiral, I went to a meditation group every night for a week. It gave me a community, structure and relief from my own headspace. That place was Against The Stream in Los Angeles. They also have locations in other cities including New York, San Francisco and Boston. I highly recommend it.
I also really like The Den in Hollywood, which offers a variety of different classes multiple times a day, so you can definitely find something to work with your schedule. It’s also not affiliated with Buddhism, in case that isn’t your thing.
If you don’t live in one of these cities or the thought of having to sit in a room and meditate with a group of other people sounds just about as relaxing as a jackhammer, why not try meditating with an app? I personally like the Calm and Simple Habit. Both are free with in-app purchases and feature both guided and unguided meditations. Even just sitting for a few minutes can make a big difference.
There are times when only a professional can help or you just need to talk to someone immediately, if not sooner. Even if you have insurance, getting an appointment with a therapist can be a daunting task. Luckily, there are tons of places online that will connect you with a professional through video, phone or even text, including Talk Space and Doctor On Demand and 7 Cups.