We’ve all been there: had a bad day at work, the kids won’t stop screaming and there is nothing in the fridge for dinner. It never ends. You feel like you will never catch up. Life is full of surprises. We can’t go back and we can’t predict the future.

It could be you are going through a tough time. A recent break-up or a sudden move. You may also be struggling with anxiety or depression. If that is the case, it’s best to talk to a professional and get it properly treated. Causes for anxiety or depression can vary from environmental to chemical.

Self-care is not something you do once in awhile. You need to get into the practice of taking care of yourself everyday. This will help prevent burnout. When you take care of yourself you feel better about yourself, and it shows. Your family and friends will also notice.

Here are 21 suggestions for taking care of yourself, so you won’t shut down:

  1. Develop a morning ritual for yourself. My favorite is having a cup of coffee with my kitty. She sits on my lap and purrs. It’s a great way to start the day.
  2. Allow yourself to cry. If you need to.
  3. Go to the park. Sit in the sun on a blanket and read your favorite book.
  4. Spend a little money on yourself. Buy the shoes, jewelry or clothes you’ve been dying to have.
  5. Read inspirational quotes. You can always write them down and keep them with you. The next time you are feeling down, you can read one.
  6. Stay hydrated. When was the last time you had a glass of water? Water is good for your body and your brain.
  7. Breathe slowly. Stop and take a few deep breaths. Breathe into a count of four and out to a count of six.
  8. Go to a museum. There are some gorgeous pieces of art out there. Spend the day there and leave your phone at home.
  9. Stop saying yes when you mean no. This will help with your self-care plan. Say no to extra obligations and chores, or better yet delegate them.
  10. Talk it out. Call a friend or family member and talk about how you are feeling. Wait for their feedback.
  11. Sleep on it. You really need a good night’s rest. This will allow your body and your mind to revive.
  12. Take a self-care day. Call in sick, relax and play during the day. Stay away from electronic gadgets. They will only make you feel like working.
  13. Reread your favorite books from childhood. Spend time reminiscing about the good times from your childhood. It’s easy to remember the negative, start remembering the positive.
  14. Ask for help. From whoever you need it from. Your boss, spouse, co-worker, pastor or friend. This does not mean you are weak.
  15. Go for a walk. You sit for most of the day, and it’s usually under fluorescent light. Get out in the sunshine. You’ll love the benefits of Vitamin D.
  16. Take a bubble bath. When was the last time you shut the door and just soaked in a tub? You can close your eyes and relax. You can also light a candle.
  17. Write a list of 25 things you are grateful for. Start with family and a roof over your head.
  18. Look at photos of people and pets you love. Set them up as wallpaper on your computer or phone.
  19. Do absolutely nothing. Shut off the lights and stare off into space, if you’d like. This will give your brain a break.
  20. Play with a child. Get down on their level and play. You can go in the backyard and put your hands in the dirt or run through the sprinkler. Remember how fun that was as a child.
  21. Write a letter to God. When was the last time you had a conversation with God? He really does have your back. Let God know how you are feeling and what you need help in.

The purpose of this list is to help you get started in changing your mindset. Pick a few and start using them today. See which ones work best. We all go through tough times. That is actually normal. Try not to judge yourself for it.

Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many people that are on the brink of shutting down, turn things around. For a free 15-minute phone consultation or more information, please call or email (650) 892-0357 or Lianne@LessonsforLove.com.

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