Feeling tense? Running on empty? Maybe work, finances, relationships, changes in routine, or daily life have you feeling overwhelmed. Warning signs include feeling anxious, irritable, fatigued, and having repeated intrusive thoughts about a stressful situation. Extreme stress can make you feel like there is nothing you can do. The key to regaining control is a radical return to self-nurturing, to recharge your emotional and physical batteries. Here are some strategies to foster the Art of Self-Nurturing.
Admit your stress. Admit when circumstances have got you down and change is needed. Admitting this creates a moment of calm and stillness, a space to breathe, and a space for observation and awareness. Moving forward is difficult unless you recognize the situation and make a commitment to help yourself through it.
Identify Your Hot Buttons. Figure out what is causing the stress–a relationship to a co-worker or loved one, work demands, a financial commitment, uncertainty about the future? Write this down.
Acceptance. Take a look at your list of stressors and identify the things that can be changed as well as the things that can’t. Accept that some things are always going to be stressful. Then, attention can be focused on the things that can be changed instead. Try focusing on action steps to make the future less uncertain, such as acquiring skills, making friends and setting goals. This also means not sweating the small stuff - pick your battles and invest your energy wisely.
Notice how you talk to yourself about yourself and others. Observe the language you use to create your reality, to define and judge yourself and others. For example, you may say to yourself, "Here I go again, stressing out", when a more effective, self-compassionate statement would be, "Stress is part of life and I'm learning to address it effectively by taking it one day at a time."
Get Outside. Taking in natural beauty, along with physical exercise, can reduce stress and improve physical health. The color green has been shown to have soothing effects on body and mind. Nature can provide a peaceful soundtrack, beautiful scenery and fresh air to help soothe the soul. Try hugging a tree or walking barefoot in the grass.
Let It Out. Bottling up emotions can increase stress through accumulated feelings of loneliness and helplessness. Communication, both with yourself and others, is key in addressing problems quickly and honestly. If you need help identifying what's causing your stress, and how to effectively address it, talk to a trusted person or mental health professional.