Sometimes life can really get you feeling rundown. If you’ve been stressed or overworked for a long time the normal manicure and bubble bath just isn’t going to cut it. These are self-care tips for when you feel like total garbage and you need to do some extreme self-care. This isn’t stuff I do every day but when I need to hit the reset button or I’m close to a nervous breakdown I’ll pull out the extreme self-care.
Taking time to take care of your emotional and physical health helps you stay productive in the long run. I used to hate taking the time to take care of myself and took pride in my work ethic. I felt like the fact that I barely took any breaks or time for myself meant that I was badass and I would often brag about the long hours I worked. These days I reject the idea that working constantly means I am valuable. After a particularly long period of working without any days off, I had an epic breakdown in grad school. Like, the kind of breakdown where I couldn’t get out of bed for weeks. After that, I learned my lesson and now I make sure to take my self-care really seriously. I see self-care as taking the time you need to take care of yourself and make sure you are functioning at your highest level. My regular self-care routine includes really boring stuff like working out every day and eating lots of salad. It’s important to figure out what helps you feel good on a daily basis and to make a commitment to yourself to make sure you get whatever it is that you need.
Making It a Habit
If you know you need to up your self-care game start by making a list of everything you could do to make yourself feel better and function at a higher level. Once you have your list figure out what you need to start doing daily, weekly and monthly. I sit down at the beginning of each month and put all of my self-care items into my planner. That way I already know when I am going to do them. When I was first starting to add self-care to my goals and planner I started with exercising five times per week. Once I had my exercise schedule down I added eating a salad at least once per day. After I was doing that for a while I added something else. This helped me from getting overwhelmed by making a ton of huge lifestyle changes all at once. I have found that adding self-care activities to my regular routine has really helped them become a priority and I now find it easy to make sure they get done now that they have become a habit.
Whenever I have too much to do I start ruthlessly cutting things off my to-do list. Try to pick the top two or three things you need to do and just focus on those things. Having a long ass to-do list when you’re stressed out doesn’t serve you. Whenever I have a lot going on I get laser focused and just pay attention to getting a couple things done I feel a lot less stressed out. Staying focused on just doing one or two things at a time can help keep you from feeling overwhelmed by everything you want to get done. If writing things down helps alleviate stress for you go ahead and write out a mega to-do list with all of the things you want to get done but then make the choice to ONLY focus on one thing at a time. If you worry about getting every single little thing done it can be overwhelming and stressful.
Move Things Off Your Plate
When I’m really busy I completely ignore things on my list that don’t actually need to get done. Would it be great to grocery shop and do laundry? Yes but will the world end if I cut it off my to-do list? No. Get super focused on what you need to achieve and what you need to do and get rid of all the extra things that add stress to your life but really don’t freaking matter at the end of the day. Moving things off my plate always makes me feel way better when I’m stressed out and overwhelmed. Decide what things HAVE to get done and what things you can choose to let slide.
Stay In The Moment
Practicing mindfulness can really help you when you’re stressed AF. When you feel your mind start to worry about the past or the future bring yourself back to the current moment. Try doing some grounding meditations to practice being aware of the present moment. Staying in the moment when you’re really stressed can be really difficult but just start paying attention to your thoughts and when you catch yourself worrying about the past or future gently remind yourself to come back to the present moment. If that seems too difficult to try doing a mindfulness challenge. Pick a chunk of time (30 minutes, an hour, a day, whatever) and challenge yourself to stay in the present moment during that time. The more you practice the easier it gets and staying in the present moment is a great way to manage stressful times.
Get Rid of Negativity
If you’re stressed out try to surround yourself with positive energy. If you don’t have any positive people to hang around with start listening to inspirational podcasts and watching inspiring speakers on YouTube videos. If there are specific people bringing you down or being negative try to intentionally limit your time with that person. Try to do activities that make you feel good and bring up your positive energy. Have a dance party, say affirmations or eat your favorite meal. Intentionally do things that are going to make you feel good and cut out the negative crap in your life.
Ask For Help
I have a whole podcast episode about reaching out for help with mental health you can check out here. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and having a hard time there is not shame in reaching out for help. If you don’t have friends or family to lean on, hire someone to help you. Hire a house cleaner, therapist, coach or whatever kind of help you need. If you have a good support system let your friends and family know you are going through a stressful time. Sometimes just admitting that you’re struggling can make you feel better and help you manage stress.
Book a Spa Day
Sometimes it’s totally necessary to drop some cash and spend the entire day at a spa. I like to find a spa with soaking pools and steam rooms you can spend the day lounging around in after you get a treatment. Go get a facial and an hour-long massage and walk out feeling like a brand new person. This is my favorite way to celebrate major accomplishments that I achieve. Spa time is expensive but it’s worth the investment if it is going to help you feel like a million bucks when you leave. If you can’t afford to go to an actual spa go buy a new nail polish and do your nails at home for a fraction of a cost. The most important thing is that you get the renewed feeling that you would get from a spa day. Figure out how you can make yourself feel renewed and refreshed on a budget. For me a long bubble bath and new nail polish usually does it.
Plan a Trip
Planning a trip to a bucket list location can get you through some tough times. It gives you something to look forward to and spending time planning and researching locations can be really fun and relaxing. Croatia is my current travel obsession but there are so many amazing places you could go. Set a date for your trip and make it happen. When I want to make sure a trip happens I go ahead and buy the plane tickets so I know I will make the trip happen. Traveling is a very serious part of my self-care routine. It helps motivate me to stay physically and emotionally in great shape so I can enjoy the trips I have planned in the future. I love traveling and if you do too I suggest you plan at least one trip a year. Once I decide I am going I will brainstorm ways to make the money I need to finance the trip.
Make a Big Change
Sometimes you need to do something BIG to feel different. Apply to grad school, start looking for new jobs or find a new apartment and move. Figure out what area of your life needs to change and just freaking go for it. It’s so easy to spend forever just thinking about how you wish your life was and never actually take any steps to get there. Take a risk and just go for it. Get the certification you want or move to a new state if that’s what’s calling you. Get clear on the vision you have for your life and do something drastic. Make sure you spend time writing out your longterm goals before you take action. You want to make sure any big changes you make will lead you to where you want to go in the long run. I’m a big fan of taking big messy action if you’re unhappy with your life. I was able to transform my life in a few short years by launching my own business and working my butt off.
Take Yourself Out
Get super dressed up and go out with a friend for a fancy dinner. If you don’t have any good friends to hang around with do your makeup and go read and write at a cocktail bar or a fancy hotel bar. Getting dressed up and drinking a really well-made cocktail (or coffee if you don’t drink) can make you feel way better. I like to channel my inner fancy businesswoman and spend an evening writing blog posts on my laptop in the fanciest hotel lobby I can find. Changing my environment can often help me change my mindset. If you’re feeling stuck or low try to spend time in places that help you shift into a more positive mindset.
Invest in a Course
I love investing in personal growth, it’s probably my favorite way to spend money on myself. Invest some cash on your personal development and take an online course. I have one that is all about creating and channeling your inner badass. I also love the courses that Amanda Frances offers. She specializes in mindset work and the law of attraction. There are tons of great coaches and bloggers offering online courses. Find someone that really freaking inspires you and shell out the cash to take their courses. I’ve taken courses on podcasting, creating a YouTube channel (coming soon!), blogging, mental health and goal setting. I love taking courses and because I always finish them I think it is a great use of money. You can check out the courses I have created to help women manage their mental life and live a kickass life in the Radical Transformation Shop.
Get a Membership
Sign up for a monthly membership. Commit to having a badass wardrobe and sign up for a service like Stitch Fix and get a box of clothes handpicked by a stylist just for you every month. I hate shopping so I totally recommend this service. If clothes aren’t your jam you can signup for a personal development monthly membership. I recommend the Manifestation Babe VIP Tribe and Manifesting Acadamy. There are membership services for just about everything these days and I’ve had ones for monthly makeup samples and books. I think getting something sent to you in the mail every month is a nice thing to do for your self-care and it gives you something you can look forward to every single month. I recently launched the Radical Transformation Tribe which offers new resources every single month to help you live your dream life. I’m running a sale right now where you can get your first month free by using code TRANSFORMATION at check out.
I used to be really bad at Self-Care. I felt like putting myself at the bottom of my priority list was a “noble” thing to do. I took a lot of pride in the fact that I worked so damn hard all the freaking time. When I was in graduate school I held a job and volunteered at a domestic violence shelter. Every minute of every day was spent either studying, working or volunteering. There wasn’t ever any time left over to take care of myself and about six months in I started to feel really run down and exhausted all the time. The quality of my work went from great to crap. I started to get more and more behind and getting caught up started to feel impossible. Eventually, I had to rearrange my schedule to make it more sustainable and move some of my tasks off of my plate by asking for help.
Looking back I realize I could have saved myself a lot of pain and grief by making a self-care plan sooner. I created this self-care assessment to help you avoid the mistakes I made and put together a plan for your own self-care to help keep your functioning high and prevent burnout. It’s so easy to put yourself last and never make time to take care of yourself or your mental health but it will eventually catch up to you. Grab the free self-care assessment workbook below. If you’re looking for ideas for self-care check out my post of free self-care ideas here and my guide to guilt-free self-care.
Find a Therapist
If you really feel like you want to change your life get a therapist and start getting your mental health straightened out. I loving using BetterHelp for therapy because I can talk to my therapist via skype, phone call or email. This is a much more convenient and affordable option for me. If you prefer to talk to someone in person try this therapist finder to help find someone near you. If you haven’t been to therapy before check out my post on going to therapy for the first time. Therapy is one of the biggest monthly expenses I have but I believe investing in my mental health is one of the most important things I can do. In the long run, I know I can’t meet my goals and live the life I want if I am struggling to manage my depression and anxiety.
Hire a Housekeeper
If you’re feeling really busy and rundown hire a housekeeper to come clean your house once a week. Trust me, it is a game changer. This is the first thing I do when life really starts to get crazy. It helps me feel like there’s order in my life and coming home to a clean house is such a great treat to give yourself. I know when I get overwhelmed and stressed my house gets very messy really fast. The mess just makes me feel even more stressed out and the more stressed I am the less I want to deal with the mess. Knowing you have someone that is going to come and help you get your living space back into shape can really take a lot of stress off your mind.
Declutter Your Entire House
Go on a super intense crazy decluttering and see how much stuff you can get rid of. Cleaning out all your closets and drawers and organize the shit out of your laundry room and garage. Getting rid of things you no longer need is a great way to give yourself a fresh start and it doesn’t cost anything. In fact, if you sell some of your old stuff you might even end up making some money. If you want some tips on cleaning when you’re depressed check out my post here.
Upgrade Something You Use Every Day
Drop some cash and invest in the stuff that you use every day. Buy yourself a fancy dishwasher or washing machine. Invest in a fancy cappuccino machine (I’m lusting after this one. Throw out your old mattress and buy yourself a new comfy one. If you’re looking for less extravagant upgrades get yourself shampoo and conditioner from a salon or a new pair of everyday shoes. Figure out what you use every day and consider upgrading it. If you’re not used to investing money in yourself it can be difficult to get used to spending money on stuff you need but I have found it’s easier to invest in something I know I will get a ton of use out of. If you’re flat broke and want some free self-care ideas check out my post of 50 free self-care activities.
Redecorate a Room
It can feel really good to change your environment. Commit to redecorating one room and make it as beautiful and comfortable as possible. You can redecorate your house room by room by doing one room at a time. Eventually, you’ll have a house that is filled with things you love and that you are obsessed with. It makes such a big difference in your wellbeing if you love where you live. If you can’t afford to completely redecorate just try moving some furniture around. Giving the room a fresh new feel can help you reset your mindset.
Purchase a Home Security System
This is probably one of the most extravagant and best things I ever bought myself. I had a traumatic experience a few years ago that made it difficult to sleep at night. At the time I was living alone and would wake up in the middle of the night scared and freaked out. I got an alarm system (I use SimpliSafe) and it helps me feel safe at night. I also love coming home, turning off the alarm and knowing there’s no possible way anyone is in my house. It has made a huge difference in my mental health and I have felt much safer ever since I made the investment.
Managing mental health can be freaking exhausting. If you’re feeling run down don’t be scared to do some extreme self-care. I hope this post of extreme self-care tips inspires you to go big and really take care of yourself. Everyone deserves to be taken care of and you’re no exception.
I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. You can download a free printable list of hotlines here and join the free mental health support group on Facebook here. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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