5 Self-Care Tips Everyone Needs, From a Mental Health Coach
Stress can crop up at any time of year. Mental health coach Julie Geeting of PALM Health has some self-care tips that will help.
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Emotions are an integral part of being a person. That said, learning to manage those deemed less favorable (think stress, grief, and anxiety) is an important step in learning to thrive—not simply survive.
If you don't have a consistent self-care practice in place, right now is the perfect time to start. After all, stress is a part of our life's endless cycles—learning to be present with the emotion and manage it effectively can turn into a truly beneficial (and lifelong) practice.
"I often think of the quote from the Roman philosopher, Cicero: 'If we use nature as our guide, we will never lose our way,'" says mental health coach and counselor Julie Geeting of PALM Health. "Just as we experience seasons each year, our life has seasons. Remembering that intense stress will often come and go like the seasons, can offer some hope."
Here, five sustainable self-care tips that will serve you no matter the season.
5 Self-Care Tips to Help You Manage Stress
1. Take Deep Breaths
The quickest and most accessible way to regulate your nervous system is with a deep, intentional breath (or perhaps a few). If you have a chance to really dive in, download an app and indulge in a breathwork session to ease stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and generally help you survive—and be a more mindful participant in your life.
2. Talk It Out
Though you may consider constant conversation and interaction—with family, friends, and more—to be a contributor to your unease, when it comes to your feelings, the opposite can be true.
"Acknowledging and naming these emotions can bring some relief," says Geeting, who recommends naming your feelings to a trusted friend or professionals they arise to help address anxiety. "Understanding what may be the underlying cause of the anxiety will be key to addressing it well long term."
3. Get Outside
You and all of your feelings are natural—and if you need a reminder of this, time outside can help.
"Using nature for self-care can be very powerful," says Geeting. "Being in nature calms our nervous system, increases feelings of connection to the world around us, and reduces feelings of anxiety and stress."
4. Adjust Your Temperature
Switching up factors in your physical space can have a huge effect on both psychology and physiology.
"Cold therapy such as ice baths, cryotherapy, and cold showers can help us increase our threshold for stress," says Geeting. Likewise, "heat therapy, from sources such as saunas or hot baths, also has positive effects on our mental well-being."
If a trip to the spa isn't in the cards, run an ice cube over your face and neck or draw an evening bath.
5. Practice Reflection
Reflection is the key to gratitude—and gratitude is everything.
"Anxiety can create patterns of avoidance that ultimately strengthen anxiety and worry in the long run," says Geeting. "It can help to reflect on what really matters most to you. Reflecting on our virtues and values and using them to guide choices and behavior can help us accept and tolerate uncomfortable emotions in service to one's lifelong goals of living well."
Invest in a new journal (or re-up your relationship with an existing one) and jot down all of the positives in your life and the world at large. A simple shift in perspective may be all you need for a more positive experience.
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