Practicing Self-Care in Difficult Times: How to Stay Strong
Hey, you. Yeah, you. The one who's been feeling stressed, unmotivated, and just generally blah lately. You're not alone. With everything going on in the world right now, it's totally normal to feel overwhelmed, sad or anxious at times. But here's the thing—you've got to make sure to practice self-care. It's the only way to stay strong through difficulties. And self-care isn't selfish. It's necessary. When you're running on empty, you have nothing left to give to others or contribute to the greater good. So do yourself—and everyone around you—a favour and commit to self-care. Make it a priority each and every day. Eat healthy meals, get some exercise, engage in hobbies, connect with others, and take time to recharge. Your mental and physical health depends on it. Staying strong will help ensure you can be there for friends and family and continue moving forward. Take a deep breath and let's dive into some self-care strategies to keep you going during tough times.
Why Self-Care Matters, Especially Now
These days, the world seems to be in constant turmoil. Between the 24-hour news cycle, social media overload, economic uncertainty, family pressures, and global conflicts, it's easy to feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. That's why practising self-care is so important. It's how you recharge and renew yourself so you can stay strong through life's difficulties.
Self-care is vital for both your physical and mental health. When you're stressed, your body produces cortisol, the "stress hormone," which can weaken your immune system if high levels persist. Practising self-care helps lower cortisol and blood pressure levels, decreasing health risks. Mentally, self-care boosts your mood and resilience, so you're better equipped to handle challenges.
Self-care comes in many forms, so find what works for you. Start with small acts of self-care each day and build up from there.
- Stay socially connected
Call a friend or family member, have a video chat, or send messages to people you care about. Let them know you’re thinking of them. Hearing from others who care about you can help alleviate feelings of isolation and boost your mood.
- Limit social media and news consumption
While it's good to stay informed, constant exposure to negativity can take a serious toll on your mental health. Take social media breaks and limit checking news outlets to avoid ‘doom scrolling’. Focus on uplifting news stories when you do tune in. Focus on things within your control.
- Practice mindfulness
Try meditation, deep breathing, or journaling. Spending just a few minutes a day focused on your breathing or the present moment can help reduce stressful thoughts and boost positive feelings. Try meditation or simply sitting outside in nature.
- Engage in light exercise
Go for a walk or jog, do an at-home workout, stretch, or practice yoga. Exercise releases endorphins that improve your mood and act as natural stress relievers. Even light physical activity can help you release pent-up energy and tension.
- Practice self-care
Do small things each day that you find meaningful or uplifting. Read a book, take a bath, call a friend, bake cookies. Engage in hobbies and activities that you enjoy. Laughter and play are great ways to relieve stress and boost your mood.
- Eat healthy, stay hydrated
Fuel your body and mind with nutritious foods. Stay hydrated and limit excess sugar or caffeine. Your physical health influences your mental and emotional health. Give your body the nourishment it needs to function at its best.
Practicing self-care, especially in difficult times, will help you build resilience and the ability to cope during times of crisis. Be gentle with yourself and make your well-being a top priority each and every day. You deserve to be happy and healthy.
Setting Healthy Boundaries
Setting boundaries is one of the most important self-care practices, especially now. When times are difficult, it’s easy for stress, anxiety and negative emotions to creep into all areas of your life. Establishing healthy boundaries will help you stay strong.
Say “no” when you need to
Don’t feel obligated to take on more than you can handle. Be willing to decline requests that will add stress or compromise your well-being. You don’t need an excuse to set boundaries—your mental health should be a top priority right now. Learn to recognize when you need to say “no” to protect your energy and avoid burnout.
You now have some simple but effective self-care strategies to help you stay strong through these difficult times. The most important thing is not to be too hard on yourself - show yourself compassion and accept that some days will be harder than others. Take things day by day, focus on the things you can control, connect with your support network, and be kind to yourself. Difficult times never last, but strong people do. You've got this. Stay safe, stay strong, and remember to practice self-care - you deserve it.