Emergency Care Wall: Self-Care Tips That Work

How do you combat sadness, loneliness, self-doubt, anger, and worry?

By Jessica Huynh, Storyteller for RU Student Life

Image Courtesy of Chibird

The other day, I stumbled upon this self-care drawing on Instagram and it had me thinking of the rituals I perform whenever I’m experiencing emotional highs or emotional lows. As someone who periodically experiences anxiety and panic attacks, I know all too well how it feels to feel completely helpless to your own emotions — as though nothing you do will help. I can feel on top of the world one minute and crippled by the weight of the world the next — it’s exhausting.

That’s why it’s important to find self-care practices that work for you in times of distressed. Here are a few of my own self-care remedies — I hope they inspire you to incorporate self-care in your own life:

For Sadness

  • Watch a feel-good comedy. Personally, my go-to comedies are sitcoms. My favourites are: The Office, The Mindy Project, That 70’s Show, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
  • Listen to your favourite bands and musical artists, especially those that put you in a good mood. Anything that gets you up and dancing is guaranteed to cheer you up. Two albums I’m really digging right now is Melodrama by Lorde and Blossom by Milky Chance.
  • Sing along to your favourite song. The louder, the better. Nothing cheers me up like belting out Dancing on my Own by Robyn on top of my lungs. Singing not only gets your mind off whatever is upsetting you, but it’s also super fun!
  • Binge out on comfort food. After all, they say food is the way to the heart. Nothing cures a broken heart like a delicious meal. The amount of times I’ve ordered Thai food when I’ve been too upset to leave my house is embarrassing, but I always feel 100x better afterwards.
  • Scroll through cute animal accounts on Instagram. I’m obsessed with @cuter. It’s guaranteed to put a grin on your face.

For Loneliness

  • Re-read your favourite novel. Sometimes when I’m feeling alone, I’ll pick up a Harry Potter book and battle Dementors and Death Eaters with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Reading a book transports the mind to another world, allowing you feel as though you are far away with all your favourite characters.
  • Call someone. Talking to a friend or family member when you feel as though you have no one can quickly make you realize you are never alone. There is always someone who cares for you, even if they’re not right physically beside you. There is also Warmline, a peer support service line for people who feel as though no one understands them.
  • Pick up a hobby. I always feel loneliest when I’m feeling unchallenged in life. Picking up a new or abandoned hobby allows you to re-focus your mind while introducing you to new, like-minded individuals. It’s a win-win situation really.
  • Journal your thoughts. When I’m lonely, writing down everything I feel helps to alleviate some of the loneliness I’m experiencing. There’s a catharsis element to writing your emotions down on paper that makes you realize that it’s not so scary to be alone.

For Self-Doubt

  • Remind yourself that you are enough. Self-doubt stems from feeling as though you aren’t doing enough, “good” enough, or far ahead enough in life. By reminding yourself that you are worthy, you rise above expectations of who you are suppose to be. “In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.”
  • Turn off social media. Social media is not always toxic, but it can be for someone who is experiencing self-doubt. Platforms such as Instagram often showcase people’s highlight reel rather than their day-to-day reality. When you’re feeling down about yourself, it’s important to focus on what’s real in front of you opposed to the images constructed online.
  • Do something you enjoy for the sake of doing it. There’s a misconception that if you do something, you have to do it well. This creates immense pressure to do everything perfectly, but nobody gets pro at anything the first, second, or even tenth time around. Do things because you genuinely enjoy doing it, and the skills and confidence will come after. Don’t sweat it.
  • Surround yourself with people who uplift you. Good friends value your strengths; they’ve seen you at your worse and they know you at your best. Supportive friends are able to remind you why you are so special even when you don’t feel it yourself.

For Anger

  • Go for a walk. Anger has a way of latching onto you, building and building in momentum. When you’re furious, you actually pent-up unnecessary emotion and energy. Before I say or do something I’ll later regret, I’ll go for a walk to clear my head. By the time I return, I feel 100% better and ready to tackle whatever (or whoever) it is I have to confront.
  • Jot down everything incoherently. Writing is extremely therapeutic for many people, but when I’m angry I want to scribble senselessly all over the page as opposed to composed thoughts. I’ll string together the first thoughts that come to my head: unfiltered, honest, and raw. The end result is usually a page of illegible words and a more rational and calmer me.
  • Scream. If you are in a safe space away from others, screaming can be an excellent form of release. YELL IT OUT!
  • Vent to a trusted friend. Sometimes, just having someone listen without interrupting is all you need to feel better. Meet up with a trusted friend that’s willing to listen without judgment. You’ll feel better talking through your anger than keeping it bottled up.

For Worry

  • Fall asleep. I always find that I worry most right before bed. Exhaustion has a way of creeping up on you and making you a huge worry-wort. It’s usually a good idea to silence the voices by falling asleep and dealing with whatever is worrying you the next day when you’re well rested.
  • Practice mindfulness. If you’re worrying, it often means you’re anxious about something in the future. By re-focusing your attention to the present, you’ll realize that you are more in control than you think. Your fears of the future are nothing more than thoughts.
  • Breathe. Spiraling through thoughts of worry can make you forget to breathe normally. Don’t forget to take deep even breaths by focusing on breathing air in through the nostrils and out through your mouth. This will help center your thoughts and relax your mind.

What would you add to the list? Let us know @RUStudentLife.