Life throws all sorts of struggles our way. Financial troubles, physical or mental health problems, family problems, issues at work or school, traumatic experiences… the list goes on and on. And when we get caught up in these sorts of struggles, it’s really easy to withdraw, feel depressed and hopeless, and stop taking care of ourselves the way we should.
But neglecting yourself doesn’t help anything improve. In fact, it just makes it harder to focus, feel motivated, and conquer the issues at hand as best as you can.
The following advice for self-care during times of hardship are really important. They can help keep you healthier, and they’re so important to your ability to come out the other side as soon and as successfully as possible.
Keeping Up with Self-Care During Times of Hardship
- Apply these tips for getting past hardship to help stay positive and motivated, and hopefully to get through your situation sooner
- Acknowledge what you’re dealing with and what you’re feeling about it; don’t try to hide from problems or bury your emotions, as this will only make things—and your general condition—worse
- Keep in close touch with family, friends, counselors, religious advisers, and others in your support network; it may feel natural to withdraw, but good self-care means staying engaged
- Get six to nine hours of sleep every night (sleeping too much can be as harmful as sleeping too little); if you’re having difficulties falling asleep or sleeping restfully through the night, take steps to improve your “sleep hygiene”
- Don’t neglect your hygiene and cleanliness; sometimes, people who feel down start showering, brushing their teeth, doing laundry, and performing related tasks less often, but this contributes to a downward spiral of feeling worse, doing less, then feeling even worse…
- Don’t neglect the state of your home, either; clutter and dirtiness make you feel more stressed and out of control
- Eat a well-balanced diet, using these tips for healthy eating to keep you on track, and drink plenty of water, too; good nutrition and hydration and the right amount of calories are essential to feeling energized, your ability to concentrate, your mood, and your health
- Get some exercise every day, even if it’s as simple as doing jumping jacks at home or going for a walk; like eating right, exercise helps keep you going physically, mentally, and emotionally, and it’s a highly effective stress-management tool
- Spend at least a little time outside every day, preferably around nature (even if it’s just a small park in your neighborhood); being outdoors provides an instant boost in mood and encourages a healthy perspective on the world; also, too much time without sunshine can make depression worse
- Use these tips for achieving a more positive attitude on a daily basis; how you think has a huge effect on how you feel and your ability to accomplish your goals
- Find at least a few minutes each day for being alone in peace; sit and enjoy the silence, listen to relaxing music, do some deep breathing, or meditate
- Don’t get wrapped up in other people’s problems (unless you can genuinely help); it may seem like an escape from your own troubles, but usually it’s just more negativity in your life when you really can’t afford it
- Know the signs and symptoms of clinical depression and get professional help if you’re experiencing them (or support and encourage a loved one to seek help)