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How Do You Practice Self Care & What Self Care Activities Can You Do When You Feel Stuck?
I’m writing this post today because this is something I wish I’d found during those tough mental health days.
A lot of posts (including some of mine) include self care activities in general, but none I’ve found so far cover a self care activities list specifically for the days (weeks or even months) when we’re just not feeling it! When we feel stuck in a deep hole of “I’m not good enough” and we feel we’re never getting out.
These ideas & practices are things that have helped and continue to help me. I share them today in the hope that you’ll find something here that helps you too!
Tea is my absolute favorite of all self care activities because there’s so much to offer! Recently, I’ve been doing some reading into loose leaf herbal teas. Herbs have been used for over hundreds of years 1 for so many different ailments. There is literally something for anything! And of course, it’s natural. Which is another fantastic benefit.
So don’t skip over the benefits of herbal teas for any sort of ailment – even emotional! There’s a reason all those amazing Chinese herbalists study this stuff!
To make it easier for you, I’ve put a list of my go-to teas for a lot of common situations.
To help with ever day stress & wellbeing: Ashwagandha Root Tea
For better sleep: Chamomile Tea
For waking up: Matcha Green Tea
For afternoon pick me ups: Peppermint Tea
A few of my favorite herbal mixes:
For better skin: Complexion Tea
For my immune system/wellbeing: Immune System Tea
Period/Cramps: Pre-Menstrual Herbal Blend
To help detoxify: Liver Detox Tea
The next best thing to tea is essential oils!! Yes, back on the herb wagon (but it’s such a damn good one!).
Essential oils are an important one on the self care activities list.
I often use Lavender oil through the day (I buy all my essential oils from Piping Rock). So if you’re looking for quick self care day ideas – this one could be it! All I do is put a bit of lavender on my wrists, neck and temples to help invoke calm.
I also use it at night and attribute it to having the best sleep I’ve ever had.
Here’s a fantastic chart from Pinterest with what oils to use for what ailments.
Another way to try essential oils is through aromatherapy. This involves using an aromatherapy device which emits the oil into the air. It’s like, when you go to a Spa or a Massage therapist and the place smells amazing! That’s, sometimes, what they might use to get that smell.
Baths are a great one for the physical self care ideas list. They’re relaxing and detoxing. But the best bit is they can be made with ingredients from the kitchen.
A simple, relaxing and detoxing bath (that I’ve personally tried & loved) is:
This bath recipe is recommended by Mark Hyman too. His suggestion was to sit in it for 20 minutes. The benefits of this simple bath are unreal. Some include 2:
- Alkalizing your body
- Helping you sleep better
- Lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels
- Helps aid weight loss by increasing circulation and heart rate
Pick A Mantra Like The The Ho’pono
I came across this self care activity in the documentary E-Motion. The Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian method of healing yourself.
The Hawaiian word ho‘oponopono comes from ho‘o (“to make”) and pono (“right”). The repetition of the word pono means “doubly right” or being right with both self and others. In a nutshell, ho‘oponopono is a process by which we can forgive others to whom we are connected. 3
It involves repeating these 4 sentences/mantras:
- I’m sorry
- Please forgive me
- I love you
If you’re not at the point of being able to verbally repeat this, then one idea could be to write it in your self care journal.
The idea with this method is to lovingly cut ties with the people and situations that we still harbor resentment for. 4
As the old saying goes – when we spend time holding on to hate for someone or something, it only effects/hurts us. Not the situation or the person.
By learning to forgive and love others, we essentially learn to love and forgive ourselves. When we’re in a bad mental space, it’s usually feelings like this that we’re holding on it. That’s what makes this one of the perfect self care activities to practice.
Self Care Journal
A self care journal is a great way to keep track of your mental health and think you out of a rut. The best thing about any journal is that it encourages us to stop and reflect.
So how do you practice self care with a journal?
You can buy a journal with self care prompts.
These are usually journals with reflective journal prompts. They’re a great way to get started if you’re not already journaling.
Some journals I’ve found along the way are:
You can find journal prompts to use in your current journal
Here are some great posts with journal prompts you can use as part of your self care day ideas:
You can find self care layouts for your bullet journal
When I’m stuck in a mental rut and I’m struggling to grow out of it, I know I need to some help. And where better to find help than with all the amazing leaders we have around us.
I recently signed up to Food Matters TV (it’s the health & wellness version of Netflix). Its JAM PACKED with amazing documentaries that range from inspiration & spirituality to food.
It’s the ultimate of the self care day ideas for the lazy Saturday or Sunday.
Some of my go to documentaries for bad days are:
Sometimes, when we’re stuck in a downwards spiral, we’re looking at all the things that are wrong. We become extremely critical of ourselves (which doesn’t help) and are not short of personal insults and complaints.
Every time I stuck in the washing machine of thoughts like “why me” and “this is sh*t”, I find the best thing to do is stop and remember that we attract what we focus on. As Tony Robbins says “what we focus on we feel”.
Well… makes sense why that hole just keeps getting deeper!
So one way to grow and learn out of a mental rut is to practice self care activities like a gratitude meditation.
Stop and think about what you’re grateful for from life, from this situation and from yourself.
Lighting incense is another way to invoke peace and calm in any space.
HEM has some great stress incense to help you relax. They’re great & really budget friendly. Best of all – the smell lasts forever!!
Detox Foot Bath
Let’s be honest – we don’t all have time to have a detox bath daily. But we do have time to do a foot bath!
A nightly foot bath was suggested to me from my Reiki specialist as apart of my physical self care ideas. Every night I get a bucket, with a handful of salts (I use rock salts but you can also use Epsom salts) to get rid of all the negative energy from the day.
It’s one of my favorite on the self care activities list.
Read a book
Recently, I was in a bit of a depressive time in my life. So I decided to find some books that could specifically help me grow and reflect on the situation.
The book I chose was Tears to Triumph: Spiritual Healing for the Modern Plagues of Anxiety and Depression. I’m still working through it, but it’s been an amazing read. I can’t recommend it enough as part of your self care day activities list.
Talk To Someone
I have a psychologist that I visit every time I struggle to see beyond my difficulties. It’s one of the most important and life changing practices on my self care activities list.
Talking to someone (even if it’s just one session), should never be looked down on.
When we’re in a dark hole and we feel we can’t get out, other peoples advice, perspective and compassion can help us find the light.
So don’t be afraid to talk to someone or seek external help from an unbiased person.
Write a letter of release
During times of doubt, stress or frustration, it’s usually because we’re focusing on a person or situation we keep thinking about.
The one thing we learn during difficult times is that it’s about us. We have the choice at any point to release the hate, doubt and stress. We have the power to forgive that person/situation if we choose to.
Which is why a letter of release is a great! When we realize that forgiveness is something we can send on our own, without the other person being there or the situation being different, it’s truly freeing.
Have you thought about writing about the situation or person that is causing you grieve and trying to release it that way?
Sometimes this might take minutes or hours. You can let go and write everything you’re feeling. Then, when you’re ready, you can burn it (somewhere safe!) to release the energy and feelings you’re holding on to.
Choose a prayer
Prayers have gotten a bad rap in the past decade. I for one, never through of a prayer as something you would do unless you were religious. But prayer is a spiritual practice too.
If you’ve ever read A Return to Love by Marianna Williamson, you’ll know that prayer is something you can do to to connect to the universe. To that feeling, that place we feel is there. But we just can’t explain it!
Marianna relied on prayer a lot through her difficult times. Her book taught me to respect prayer as another of the self care activities that can be truly healing.
Write a set of personal rules
There is nothing more empowering than self care activities like setting a set of personal rules for yourself when you’re having a tough time.
I will always remember Tony Robbins story about writing a list of the things he would and wouldn’t accept.
It’s a very respecting thing to do when you set personal boundaries for yourself and others.
Ask yourself – why are you in this position? What have you allowed or accepted that you shouldn’t? What do you need to do, for yourself, to have a more peaceful and loving life?
Write it down. Decide what you’re going to accept from yourself and others and commit to it.
This is one of the key learnings I got from the documentary E-Motion.
As children, we were never really taught how to feel emotions. We were taught to just keep going until we’d buried it enough that it didn’t effect us consciously anymore.
This eventually takes it toll.
When we suppress too much it comes up in different ways – how we treat people, how we treat ourselves or even physical pain.
So the last of the self care activities list, and the most important one, is to just feel.
Sit and look and where you feel the discomfort physically. Allow your mind to focus on it and see what it feels like.
Yes, this is an uncomfortable process. But it’s also the most rewarding when you walk away feeling lighter.
If you want to know more about how to process feelings, I highly recommend watching E-Motion.
So, in answer to the question “how do I practice self care during mental ruts”, these are definitely my go to activities and ideas. There’s a lot here, so try and choose whatever sits with you best. I hope it helps 🙂