Self Care Tips and Tricks
What does self-care mean, exactly?
Self-care is being a champion for yourself and your well-being. It’s taking an active role and making a commitment to take care of yourself every day in some way to promote and protect your happiness and well-being. Attending to self-care also helps increase your ability to manage stressors as they arise.
How can you practice self-care?
Check in with your body. Are you feeling tension or pain anywhere in your body? When we get stressed or worried, it can be reflected in our bodies. You might clench your jaw or your shoulders might creep up around your ears. If you can notice these things, you can work on not only doing things like stretching but also learning ways to manage your feelings.
Breathe. When you feel stressed, worried or afraid, what does your breathing do? For most of us, it becomes quicker and shallower; we breath using only our chests. This fuels the fight/flight/freeze response and tells our brains to prepare for danger, even if there isn’t any present. Belly Breathing (also known as Diaphragmatic Breathing) is a great way to focus on your breathe and slow down. Breathe in slowly through your nose and out through your mouth, try to make the in and out breaths last the same amount of time. Focus on making your belly expand and not your chest, when you do it correctly, your shoulders shouldn’t rise and fall (it can help to place on hand on your chest and one on your belly).
Fuel your body with a balanced diet and foods that make you feel good. Drink water! Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to avoid dehydration, which causes us to feel sluggish and tired.
Get some sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most people ages 6-12 need about 9-12 hours of sleep each night. Between the ages of 13 and 18 we need about 8-10 hours a night. Try to stay on a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up around the same time, even on weekends. That helps teach your body when it should feel tired and when it should feel awake.
Move your body and engage in physical activity you enjoy. Go for a walk with a friend, turn your favorite music up and dance, do some gentle stretches, anything that gets your body moving.
Check in with your mind. It’s easy to go through the day and not notice what you’re thinking about. What are your thoughts telling you? It’s easy to believe everything we think but it’s important to remember our thoughts aren’t facts. If you notice your thoughts tend to be negative, ask yourself “where’s the evidence for that?” or “what makes me think this is true?”. Sometimes we have to do some investigation to find out what drives the way we think.
Pay attention to how you talk to yourself. Practice talking to yourself with kindness and compassion.
Try new activities or learn something new that challenges you.
Use healthy coping strategies to manage uncomfortable or difficult emotions.
Set healthy boundaries. Sometimes this mean saying no and focusing on what you need.
Use creative expression. A creative outlet for your emotions helps you process and express your feelings in a positive way. Some forms of creative expression can help when you don’t have words for how you feel, like drawing, coloring, making a collage, photography, dancing or playing music.
Ask for help. Talking things out with a trusted person can help when you feel overwhelmed, unsure of what to do or just stressed.
Spend time with friends and family who love and support you.
Know when alone time is helpful. Some people recharge by spending time with themselves.
Be mindful of how you engage with social media. This can be a great way to connect with others, express yourself and learn about the world. However, it can also set unrealistic expectations around how we should look, what we should have and what we should be doing. Take time to disconnect and engage with the world around you.
Do things that help develop a deeper sense of meaning, understanding or connection to the universe. This could be spending time in nature, sitting quietly and noticing the world around you or attending a religious service.
Meditation. This can be done anytime, anywhere and can look a lot of different ways. You can try guided meditations on YouTube or simply sit quietly for a few minutes and
be present in your body.
Want to learn more?
Below are some additional resources we've selected just for you:
Crisis Support Numbers:
- The Maine Crisis Hotline: 1-888-568-1112
- Crisis TEXT line: 741741
- Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988 (call/text)
- NAMI Maine Helpline: 1-800-464-5767
- NAMI Teen Text Support Line: 207-515-8398
- Trevor Project (24/7 crisis support services for LGBTQIA+ youth): 1-866-488-7386 (call/text/chat online)
- Peer Support Warmline: 1-866-771-WARM