When you’re feeling down or anxious, there are lots of things you can try in under 5 minutes to help yourself feel a little bit better. Small things can be really significant, and can help you take care of yourself in a kind and gentle way when you’re having a bad day. Here’s a list of things to get you started.
- Get outside. It can be easy to get disconnected from nature, especially for us city dwellers. So take a few minutes and go outside – walk around the block, turn your face to the sun, feel the rain.
- Take a deep breath. We breathe all the time, but usually don’t pay attention to it. Try a mindful breath – inhale in through your nose and exhale out through your mouth. Breathing is a great way to cope with anxiety or sadness.
- Listen to music. Whatever style you’re in the mood for – classical, jazz, oldies, rap – just listen without doing anything else. Listen to the words, the rhythm, the mood. Music is a powerful way to help yourself when you’re having a bad day.
- Stretch. Try something simple – touch your toes, reach overhead, gently roll your neck from side to side. The idea is not to break into a headstand, but to remind your body (and your mind) that movement and flow are possible).
- Laugh. Even if laughing feels like the last thing you want to do, give it a shot. Watch a few minutes of a funny sitcom or a funny animal video on Youtube (my go to – there’s nothing like it).
- Reach out. Text or call a friend. Send a photo or just an “I miss you”. Reaching out is a way to make connection without placing heavy expectations on yourself (you may not feel up to a 3 hour dinner today, and that’s okay).
- Eat something nourishing and tasty. Maybe that’s a warm cup of tea, or a bowl of soup, or a smoothie. Focus on it as a way to give yourself nourishment and care.
I hope this list is helpful, and inspires some good, gentle self-care. I invite you to personalize it for your own use – make a note for yourself about who to text if you’re having a bad day, or make a “bad day” playlist.
If you’ve been having more bad days than good ones lately, let’s talk – psychotherapy can help you learn more about yourself and use your strengths to live the life you truly want.