When people are new to self care, they tend to assume that it mostly means personal grooming, long hours in a bathroom, manicures, and yoga sessions… And they’re not wrong! Self care can include those things.
But when you think well, self-care runs much deeper than just a bubble bath – it includes emotional self care as well. Since life has become increasingly harder for everyone these days, today, I’m going to talk exactly about it.
What Is Emotional Self Care?
If anyone asked me what exactly emotional self care is, I would say that it’s something that allows you to achieve a level of happiness and wellness within, which is essential to do well in all parts of life.
All emotions are important for our wellness – we can’t live without them. But we experience hundreds of emotions and feelings throughout the day and sometimes there are… Too many of them. Some may be familiar, while others are elicited by extraordinary circumstances (like personal injury, loss of a loved one). When those overflowing emotions are unprocessed, they can make you feel overwhelmed and even depressed.
We need to practice emotional self care to lead a happy and content life, and it becomes especially important when you are going through a hard phase in your life. In these times, emotional self care can help you to become grounded and not be afraid to face all the challenges.
“Okay, but how can I improve my emotional self care? What are examples of emotional self care?”
The truth is, you have to give yourself time and allow yourself to heal. There are a few important emotional self cares activities that can help you to overcome emotional problems, withstand hard times, and aid you in the journey towards a better relationship with yourself. If you’re ready to get better, read on.
8 Emotional Self Care Ideas That Help When Life Gets Hard
1. Maintain boundaries
It is easy for someone’s emotions to have an impact on your own, and it may get to the point where you can’t distinguish your own feelings. People who are natural empaths are especially prone to absorbing emotions from those around them – and it can be very draining.
Just imagine this situation: you and your colleagues hear gossips that your company is planning layoffs. No one knows who is going to get fired yet, but your colleagues are starting to freak out, others become angry or defensive and the situation gets out of control. Office tension intensifies with a ton of different reactions. Now, if you allow all of those outside emotions to enter your head, it may become just… unbearable!
To nurture your emotional self care, you need to set healthy boundaries with the people around you, and never let their emotions become your own. This allows you to take care of yourself and fulfill your needs before the rest of the world.
2. Prioritize yourself
Emotional self care is all about fully experiencing and processing your emotions, so when times are hard, again – it may be best to get a little selfish and place yourself above others. Why? Because you simply need time to be with yourself and your feelings, so they can pass.
You may feel obliged to say yes to everyone, or take care of other people out of the habit, but always remember that your mental health takes precedence. Learn to say no, only spend time with people you are comfortable with, and once you understand your core values, never make an exception for anyone else! Trust me, you can’t be there for others if you can’t offer emotional self care for YOU first.
3. Create a support system
Even though you should take time for your emotional self care, it doesn’t mean that you have to become asocial. No!
We are as great as the people that surround us. They can lift us, they can help us to move on, they can support us through the times when life feels unbearable. To practice your emotional self care, choose to be in the company of those who understand your emotions and support you. A healthy support system will help you get through the hurdles of life, and they can even lift you when you hit rock bottom.
4. Learn to forgive yourself
When times get hard, it’s easy to blame yourself for everything. But emotional self care can encourage you to not beat yourself up over small mistakes, instead – to treat yourself with self-love and compassion. Let go of the past! Forgive yourself, and overcome negative thoughts to move on!
If you feel like it’s something you need to work on, journaling your thoughts on paper can be the easiest and most helpful way to do it.
Always remember that mistakes are a part of life, and it is essential to forgive yourself so that you can move on to the next task.
5. Enjoy your own company
In today’s world, life is a race, and everyone is busy trying to get to the finish line. With long office hours, house chores, and your kids, we forget what it means to simply be and enjoy ourselves. One of the best emotional self care tips is to set aside a few minutes every day, just to be with yourself. How can you do that? Here are several ideas!
How to practice emotional self care by being alone:
- Find a quiet corner, meditate and reflect on your life for a few minutes. Meditation is an excellent way to notice your emotions, and it allows you to center yourself so that you are ready to face the world once again!
- Go for a walk in a park or any beautiful place where you can be surrounded by nature. Fresh air, vibrant plants, and cute animals are very soothing to our minds. Even visiting the zoo can be an option.
- If you have a balcony and it’s warm outside, sit in the sunshine for 15-20 minutes (don’t forget your SPF!) to simply soak in the warmth of it.
- Go to the nearest flower shop and spend some time choosing the flower bouquet you like. Bring it home. Sit next to it, and appreciate the beauty.
- If you don’t have an option to be alone at home, and walking in the park doesn’t feel soothing enough, you can also book a room in a hotel. It can be just a one-night sleepover, but it will definitely help you to be alone and think everything through.
6. Find a way to express your emotions
Most people are collecting negative emotions with no way to release them. These emotions then slowly eat you from the inside.
Keeping a journal and writing in it every night can make a tremendous effect on your mental and emotional health, and it lets you express instead of boxing up all those feelings!
You can also express your feelings through creative activities like painting, writing poetry, or singing.
7. Emotional self care is NOT limited
Taking care of your emotions is in no way limited to your own effort and asking for help is not a weakness. If things are a bit too hard, you can ask the people around you for help, and you will be surprised at how willing they are to help you! Sharing your burden can do wonders for your emotional health.
There’s also an option to talk to a therapist if you feel like things are way too much. In fact, it’s probably one of the best emotional self care things you can do, especially if you’ve been feeling low for a long time.
8. Complement yourself
It is easy to forget your own worth in life. But you should always give yourself compliments when you complete a task, smile to yourself in the mirror (like you would smile to someone you like), and be your own best cheerleader. A positive relationship with yourself will keep you motivated to stay strong while all the storms pass. And while learning to speak positively towards yourself is not the easiest task, it’s one of the most important emotional self care things you can do.
Why Is Emotional Self Care So Important? Recap
When you practice emotional self care in your life, you will get the strength to face all the hardships. It may feel weird to work on fully experiencing and noticing your emotions, but it gets easier once you set boundaries, give yourself enough time, and encourage self-support. You deserve to be treated well – especially by yourself. Never doubt the importance of simply being alone, spending time to process your feelings (even if they hurt), and asking for help when it’s needed. Life is hard, but so are you.
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