Today’s fast-paced life brings along a lot of stress and pressure to meet deadlines at work and balance with responsibilities at home. This leaves us with very little or almost no time to reflect upon how we are feeling both mentally and physically. This stress has further been intensified with the outbreak of Covid-19 as one is always worried about their family and their own wellbeing. This can make us anxious, affecting our mental wellbeing. It is high time that we take a step back and prioritize self-care and indulge in self-compassion.
HealthShots got in touch with Dr T Shanthi Priya, Psychologist, Connect and Heal, who spoke about the importance of self-compassion in our life.
Dr Shanthi Priya says, “While your day-to-day responsibilities are important, taking some time off to reflect and refresh is equally essential. Even if you take a break and think for a few minutes, you will notice changes in your mood, efficiency, and concentration.”
Here are a few suggestions by Dr Shanthi Priya on 5-minute self-care activities that you can practice to give you some emotional stability:
1. Do as much as in your capacity
One may get overwhelmed by a long to-do list or too many thoughts going on in their mind. Pause, think, and execute. Take out 5 minutes in the day to chalk out what you can control and work towards them. “For the things that you cannot take care of during the day, make contingency plans or delegate them to another person in your team or family. The more you lighten your mental load, the more pleasant you will feel without the extra weights bowing your mind down, ” advises Dr Shanthi Priya.
2. Breathe out your stress
Deep breathing is the easiest way to develop mindfulness. It helps to quiet your racing mind, improve your mood, and reduce your stress and worries. Breathing exercises like box-breathing or diaphragmatic breathing or yoga asanas like Sukhasana, Balasana, or Uttanasana can help you relax immediately. These can be performed anywhere, anytime. All you need is a quiet, secluded place.
3. Music therapy for the win
Music therapy is known to calm the mind and is a great way to de-stress. It is a great way to energize oneself and uplift your mood. There are songs that each of us resonates with or loves listening to; compile them in a playlist and use them for self-care. Tune in to the playlist for a few minutes and just relax with the released endorphins.
4. Scribble what’s bothering you
“Doodling or just scribbling your thoughts is a great way to calm the mind. You can also take a few minutes from your day to record your thoughts in a diary or journal. This will help increase your awareness and calm your thoughts. Carry your journal with you to the office, school, or while traveling, and write down how you feel. This will help you reflect on your thoughts and will improve your mental wellbeing,” says Dr Shanthi Priya
5. Bust that stress
Engaging in any physical or stress-busting activity daily is imperative. No matter how trivial it may be, just 15 minutes of this can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Take a short walk outside in your hallway or building, swimming, cycling, or running. It can be immensely helpful. It will help you feel lighter and spark your thinking.
6. Create a ‘gratitude’ list
Dr Shanthi Priya suggests a superb way to combat negative emotions. “If negative thoughts weigh you down or something is not going the way you want it to, let a gratitude list help you climb. Create a list of things you are grateful for and focus on them. You can even use a jar and use small pieces of paper to write down what you are grateful for and watch the jar fill. This can feel comforting, promote happiness, and promptly enhance your mood.”
7. Make room for self-compassion
Very often we are bogged down by expectations, whether they are our own, our family’s or friends’, and not being able to meet them often affects us. It is okay! One should remember that they don’t need to be too hard on themselves. Don’t let your inner voice judge or criticize you. Pause for a while, check-in on yourself and validate how you are feeling. Engage in kind self-talk and handle yourself empathetically. Doing this from time to time can work wonders in calming your mind in tough situations.
8. Eat well
Last but not least, you must eat well. If your stomach is empty you may feel irritable, hence it is important to eat healthy foods that enhance your mood. Take rest and a good massage on days you feel exhausted. Focusing on your physical health is also very important as it gives you that much-needed dose of self-compassion on those hard days.
Some people practice self-compassion naturally, but most of us overlook it. It is a very important skill, especially in today’s tough times. It is high time people started taking it as seriously as they take their problems! Self love is an important life skill that will help you last some tough days. Remember, tough people last, not tough times, hence make sure to practice self-compassion regularly.