It's no secret that our world is in a constant state of conflict, but, how has this impacted you and how have you been managing? If you find this to be difficult to manage, maybe it's time to look at more self-care.
Life can be challenging and even more so when you consider many of the events occurring all around us and how we respond to these things. Sometimes it may help to bring yourself back to a focus of self-care. It's something that can be easily overlooked. Let's take a moment to consider some things you can be doing for yourself in an effort to combat the effects this can have on our mental well-being.
1) Take a step back from social media and the internet.
For many of us, the ever-popular social media outlet has become a source for information. It's a quick way to connect with others. It's also a quick way to wreak havoc on well-being. Consider limiting social media to a certain amount of time, and especially avoiding it just before bedtime. Some of the information out there on world news, politics, and other happenings can create anxiety, anger, and sadness that may be difficult to unwind from each day. Online reading can still trigger strong emotions as many websites these days have a “comments” section that can pull you into a negative mindset. Instead, try relying on other sources for your news by reading the newspapers.
2) Create a daily list.
It may help to keep your day organized with activities or necessary daily routines, such as cleaning or organizing. Crossing off completed items can help create a sense of accomplishment which can help counteract depression and anxiety. Try not to be upset with yourself if all the items have not been completed. It may mean revising your list each day to fewer or more manageable tasks. Consider adding things to the list you might otherwise just do without a list to help support positive feelings of completing something.
3) Make time for peace and quiet.
Allowing for some time alone in a quiet and peaceful environment, no matter how long, can help reset your energy. Use this time for yourself and avoid using your smart phone, television, or computer. These things will serve as a distraction. Sit outside and listen to nature at a park. Take a walk while on a lunch break and pay attention to things like your breath and the feel of your feet touching the ground. These are simple mindfulness activities you can do to give your mind a rest especially if you have been feeling overwhelmed.
4) Read a book.
Check out a book at the library or buy a hard copy version of a book to read. It may be helpful to choose something that is uplifting versus one that will create a negative reaction. In such a busy world we sometimes neglect to nurture ourselves with things that could bring a positive impact to our lives.
5) Build positive relationships.
Everyday we are faced with the opinions of others and it can be easy to get caught up in a debate of our beliefs- especially from individuals who seek out these types of conversations. Sometimes discussions, regarding “heavy” matters, can invoke strong internal feelings that can contribute to increased anxiety, among other feelings.
If you are faced with being in the middle of these conversations, try gently guiding the conversation to lighter subject matter by linking it to something positive. In some instances you may need to be a bit more direct by letting the other person know you would prefer to hear about other things, such as how they are doing or a recent success. When possible, surround yourself with positive people. They will have a greater influence in helping support your need to keep a positive mind.
6) Do something different.
Are there things you have been wanting to be more involved in or want to learn more about? Plan a trip to the local museum, take up a class you have always wondered about, check out a new coffee shop, or volunteer your time to a worthy cause.
7) Get out and move.
Exercise can be an effective way to focus on staying positive. Maybe you have wanted to get back into yoga again or get that bike tuned up that has been sitting in the garage for awhile? There are so many options that can allow you to go at your own pace- from beginner classes to your own guided exercise routine. Check out a dvd from the library or choose an exercise video online that you like. Or perhaps partner up with a friend who likes to exercise and can show you some new things.
8) Go green.
When was the last time you got your hands in the dirt? Do you have a garden that needs some TLC or maybe the front yard could use some manicuring, like weeding? Even if you don't have a yard there is always an opportunity to start your own garden or grow your own herbs. Take time to devote to setting up your garden with the necessary tools and materials. If you are feeling especially creative, break out some paints to paint each container or decoupage* tissue paper or pictures onto them. Research recycling options and you may only need to spend money to purchase seeds. Even something as simple as weeding can help de-clutter your mind. Make it a routine, those weeds tend to grow back quickly! By nurturing your environment you ultimately nurture yourself.
9) Be creative.
Tune into your creative side- dance, sing, write, make music, draw, paint- immerse yourself in a creative activity. Even if you always believed you were not artistic or creative, there are many ways to be involved in a creative activity. With the availability of coloring books, one-time art classes, and thousands of projects with how-to guides online give you an endless supply of options. (Some of the latest trend in art projects is rock painting!)
10.) Talk to someone.
If you have difficulty maintaining or developing a self-care routine for yourself that is effective, you may want to consider speaking to a professional. Sometimes something much deeper may be lingering and causing your roadblocks for self-care. Issues happening in our world can deepen feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. For some people, things like the news, can be just the surface of how they may be feeling about their own self and struggle to find ways to recover from these feelings
*Decoupage is a decorative art technique using glue and water, as well as paper or tissue, to cover a surface like a vase or plant pot.
Creative Pathways Art Therapy is devoted to helping individuals face their struggles in a supportive and gentle way. If you are considering therapy options, Art Therapy may help you achieve your personal goals and develop in-depth solutions. If you would like to learn more, please contact us today to determine how we can help.
Sheilagh is an Artist and Art Therapist who believes in healing with art and creativity.