When we’re in the middle of a crisis, we often feel like we are just barely keeping our heads above water.
Stress levels spiral, we don’t sleep well, and we don’t take the time to take care of ourselves.
If we have self-care practices (and let’s face it – many of us don’t!) they often start to slip when things go wrong in our lives. That can skyrocket our stress levels, which makes every crisis feel even worse.
When we’re under a great deal of stress, it can:
- Slow down our ability to physically heal.
- Impair our personal and professional relationships.
- Damage our self image.
- Impede our coping skills.
This is the exact opposite of what needs to happen in a crisis. We want to shore up our relationships, increase our healing ability, and boost our coping skills.
So how do we combat stress when we’re experiencing some sort of crisis, so we can prevent these toxic effects?
The solution is self–care.
Why You Absolutely Must Take Time for Self–Care When You’re in Crisis…
I realize many of you are rolling your eyes and saying, “I don’t have time for self-care right now! My life is insane, and I’m barely surviving.”
I get it. I’ve been there, too.
If you’re experiencing health problems, self-care might be the last thing you want to make time for. Your symptoms might be draining your energy and making you feel physically awful, or your schedule could be so packed that fitting in another thing feels impossible.
But when we’re in crisis, it’s critical that we make time to take care of ourselves. If we don’t, you simply won’t have the mental or physical resources to manage challenging circumstances.
Self-care practices make you stronger in body and mind – and that’s worth making time for.
I recommend scheduling time for your self-care practices in your calendar – it’s the best way to ensure nothing else infringes on that time.
3 Time-Tested Self-Care Practices for People in Crisis:
1. Choose Joy
When you’re in crisis, it’s easy to focus on everything that’s going wrong. That’s just human nature.
But you’re going to feel better, mentally and physically, if you allow time for joy in your life, even when things are rough.
One of the best ways to do this is to focus on what’s happening right now. Instead of thinking about tomorrow, or next week, or next week, just live 15 minutes at a time.
Is there something happening right now that’s beautiful or meaningful? Are you listening to a song you love on the radio? Did your child just get an A on a test? Did your spouse give you a hug when you needed one?
Focus on small, positive things in your life, one tiny moment at a time. Over time, this practice helps you stay present in your life, which decreases your stress and helps your body and mind heal.
Activities to try:
Gratitude Journaling – A gratitude journal is simply a list of things you appreciate every day. You can keep a physical journal, or use an app to add to your list. The benefits of gratitude have been scientifically proven, and keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to notice and document the things you’re thankful for.
Get a massage – There’s something about getting a massage that lets you connect with the present moment. Massages feel great, and they don’t have to be expensive! Find a massage chain in your local area if you need to save a little dough.
Go on a date with a partner, friend, or family member – We often neglect our relationships when we’re under stress, so it’s a good idea to carve out some time to go out and have a little fun with your partner or buddy. This doesn’t need to cost a lot of money, either! Check out these cheap romantic date ideas, or this collection of budget-friendly “friend dates”.
2. Move Your Body
One of the absolute best things you can do to take care of yourself is move your body.
Exercise (even very mild exercise) can boost your endorphins and make you feel happier, strengthen your bones and muscles, decrease chronic pain, improve your self–esteem, and lower your stress levels.
The key is to pick a physical activity you enjoy doing. If you’re not currently exercising, start slow – there’s no need to be a hero! Remember, this is part of your self–care practice, so you shouldn’t dread it and it shouldn’t make you feel worse.
Check out this great list from Nerd Fitness for some ideas on adding fun exercise into your life.
Activities to try:
Try getting in the water – Water exercise can feel very nourishing when you’re stressed. Try paddleboard, swimming, or water aerobics. Even walking in the pool for a little while is a great start!
Take a yoga class – No need to go hard core if you’re a beginner! Look for gentle yoga or senior yoga classes and don’t push yourself.
3. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are “naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants.” We can use them in a number of different ways to increase our physical and emotional wellness.
Each essential oil compound has a different benefit – for example, Peppermint Essential Oil can ease an upset stomach or a tension headache. It can make you feel more alert.
Oils aren’t just useful for physically symptoms, though. They can actually turn emotional responses on or off, which can be enormously helpful when you’re in the middle of a crisis.
You can use a diffuser for your oils, and use them topically.
Activities to try:
Try a blend – I recommend choosing an essential oil blend each day that matches how you’re feeling, or the fits the physical symptoms you’re dealing with that day. Check out this post to see a list of my favorite essential oils and their benefits.
Take an aromatherapy bath – Baths with essential oils can be relaxing and restorative. Turn your bath into an extraordinary experience by using these simple steps or watch this free webinar where I discuss it, along with other detox therapies.
Self–Care Resources for People in Crisis:
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are some of my favorite self–care resources for folks who are struggling. I recommend creating your own library of resources that you can reach for anytime you need it.
- The Bible
- Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity – Mark Batterson
- Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living – Shauna Niequist
- Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God – Mark Batterson
- The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level – Gay Hendricks
- 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You – John C. Maxwell
- Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone – Brene Brown
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