“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.”
It is important to recognize your feelings and to know that those feelings are ok. No one is immune from living a stress-free life – we all face challenging moments. The key is to have coping methods to boost your body, soul, and mind during those moments.
Take Care of Your Body
Changing habits to include exercise, rest, and nutritious foods can be a challenge, but if you start small you might find it to be a little easier to make these habits part of your daily or weekly routine. Begin by taking a 10-minute walk each day, stepping outside for a few minutes of fresh air, drinking more water, trying a new five-ingredient recipe, … and laughing. You may find that laughter is the best medicine. Consider starting your day or week by sharing a meme that best portrays how you are feeling or one that just makes you chuckle.
Nurture Your Soul
A simple place to start – breathe. Find brief moments in your day to collect your thoughts and breathe. Taking a deep breath counting to five and then exhaling for another five can come in handy during those difficult moments, but also can be an easy strategy to try throughout the day. Other techniques to consider include journal writing, drawing/doodling, guided meditation and mindfulness apps, listening to music, engaging your senses by experiencing textures, sounds, and smells that you find pleasant, and muscle relaxation. Finally, explore a new skill or hobby or immerse yourself in a special interest – find time to practice something that is solely for you!
“Shout-Out” to You
Taking a moment to acknowledge and celebrate something about you each day can be the medicine needed to boost your outlook. Start your day by telling yourself one thing you are proud of – this could be making your child laugh, capturing the attention of your students, training a coworker, trying a new food, or overcoming a personal challenge. Then end your day recognizing at least one thing you accomplished. Celebrate you each and every day!
Go Easy On Yourself
Remember this is a marathon not a sprint. You can be the model parent, caregiver, self-advocate, and professional, but like anyone else you will need to be ready for moments that just break down. When you hear that discouraging voice in your head, tell yourself something positive - send feelings of hope and positive vibes – “I believe in you!”, “You got this!” Focus on the positives, set small, simple steps to get back on track, such as jotting down worries and then talking through one at a time, and, most importantly, be patient with yourself as you experience these feelings and challenges – you are going to get through it!
Relaxation Techniques: Breath Control Helps Quell Errant Stress Response, Harvard Medical School
The stress response is how the body reacts as it prepares to confront or avoid danger. Learn how deep breathing benefits the stress response to help one rise to the challenge.
Mindfulness Practices, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the moment, and without judgement. Learn more about mindfulness practices to reduce symptoms related to anxiety, depression, and stress.
6 Self-Care Tips for People on the Autism Spectrum, The Mighty
Learn how these self-care tips have supported the well-being of an autistic adult.