5 Quick Tips for Emotional Self-Care
The connection we have with our children is like nothing else we experience in our other relationships. From the moment we know of our child’s existence, we are deeply, emotionally invested in their health, growth and well-being. Nothing is more important and the stakes could not be higher.
As parents and caregivers, the distress we feel, as a result of our child’s critical illness and/or special needs diagnosis, is profound and has significant long-term impact. For this reason, it is critical that we learn how to practice effective self-care, including quick tips for emotional self-care that will protect our well-being, in ways that are realistic and attainable, even under the most difficult of circumstances.
Both positive and negative emotions are a beautiful part of what it means to be human. A gift from God, they are intended by Him to be an integral part of the human experience.
However, because emotions are such a big part of our everyday lives and the consequences of emotion driven action can be so damaging, learning how to effectively cope with and process our emotions has a profound impact, on all areas of our well-being.
READ MORE: The 10 Paracords of Self-Care
Under The Parachute Project™ there are five strands in the Emotional Paracord, they are:
Anxiety/Depression/PTSD Management ~ Professional Support ~ Peer Support ~
Minimize Drama ~ Coping Strategies
Below, are 5 quick tips for emotional self-care actions that will nurture your EMOTIONAL well-being:
Quick Emotional Self-Care Tip #1 – Talk it Out:
When we are struggling emotionally, it can be tempting to stuff our feelings and find ways to stay busy to avoid thinking about the things that cause us distress. However, when we keep our feelings inside, we often struggle to process our emotions and it takes longer to move past them, as a result.
Expressing your overwhelming feelings, to someone you can trust, is incredibly therapeutic. Sharing your worries, fears and frustrations will help you to explore other perspectives and find coping strategies that will help you to work through your emotional response.
For some, it may be effective to talk with a friend, family member or to reach out to your spiritual counsel. However, do not dismiss the benefits of seeking professional support. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is to confide in someone who is completely removed from our circumstances. This allows us to be open and honest about our emotional needs without censoring our feelings, to protect others who are also personally impacted by our experience.
Quick Emotional Self-Care Tip #2 – Write it Down:
If you are not yet comfortable enough to share your emotions with another person, it can be beneficial to express them privately, by writing them down. Distressing thoughts and emotions tend to nag at us, until we get them out of our head, so to speak
Journaling can be an effective way to work through those thoughts and to process the emotions that make it difficult to approach our circumstances with reason. Writing down events, details, questions etc. can help us to see our circumstances in new ways. When we have taken the time to work through our emotions, we are better able to respond appropriately and find effective solutions to our problems.
Keep in mind that you are not writing for anyone else but yourself. Don’t worry about filtering or screening your words. This exercise will only work if you allow yourself to be free in expressing your honest emotions. You can always destroy what you have written to prevent anyone else from reading it, later.
Quick Emotional Self-Care Tip #3 – Breath:
It sounds so simple that it seems almost patronizing but believe me, breathing really does help. How many times, when upset, have you realized that you have forgotten to breath? I know I have.
A few years ago, my anxiety hit an all-time high when, both myself and Our Girl were treated with radiation therapy, in the same year. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that the most valuable coping strategy I relied on was the 4-7-7 breathing strategy.
Click HERE for more information on this breathing strategy
Focusing on my breathing distracts from the distressing physical effects caused by my anxiety. Counting and maintaining a rhythm to my breath, helps to disrupt my emotional response and to calm my physical reaction, until I am in a place where I can, once again, think clearly.
Quick Emotional Self-Care Tip #4 – Take a Break:
We have several physical needs that when left unmet can leave us feeling especially raw and vulnerable. In this state, we are particularly prone to be emotionally provoked. Hunger, fatigue, and physical pain are all good examples.
Sometimes, the best thing we can do when in a state of emotional distress is to take a break and make sure that we have met our most basic physical needs. A good night’s sleep, a healthy meal or simply stepping away from the situation for a few hours can give us the distance we need to change the way we view the whole situation. It also gives us an opportunity to restore the physical resources we need to properly evaluate the circumstances and make rational decisions to resolve them.
Quick Emotional Self-Care Tip #5 – Have a Backup Plan:
One of the things that makes caregiving so tough is the uncertainty of what will happen if the future does not go our way. One way to minimize the anxiety that comes from fear of the unknown is to develop a tentative back up plan. Talk with your child’s care provider about the worst-case-scenario. Under those circumstances, what would your options be? What would be the most likely course of action if the next test shows negative results?
Having this plan allows us to imagine ourselves in those circumstances and mentally prepare for the possibility. It also minimizes our fear of the unknown and makes the blow of bad news easier to manage because we don’t have to speculate about what would happen next, we already know.
You may never actually use your back-up-plan but having it in your back pocket will minimize the anxiety and fear that comes from not knowing what the future might hold. You will never be completely prepared to hear negative news, as it relates to your child’s well-being, but knowing you have a plan in place, and are prepared for the worst, allows you to have confidence in even the most difficult situation.
For more resources to support you in your emotional well-being, FOLLOW my “Emotional Self-Care” board on Pinterest!
As always, do not try to apply all of these suggestions for emotional self-care, at once. It is always better to focus your attention on just one, at a time. This way you increase the likelihood that you will stay consistent, be successful and enjoy the benefits of your efforts long-term.
Self-Care Action Discussed in this Post:
Choose just one of the quick tips for emotional self-care, discussed above, on which to focus your attention, until it becomes a natural part of your everyday care routine.
- The 10 Paracords of Self-Care
- Your Parachute
- 5 Quick Tips for Physical Self-Care
- 5 Quick Tips for Mental Self-Care
- 5 Quick Tips for Spiritual Self-Care
- 5 Quick Tips for Social Self-Care
- 5 Quick Tips for Marital Self-Care
- 5 Quick Tips for Parental Self-Care
- 5 Quick Tips for Financial Self-Care
- 5 Quick Tips for Professional Self Care
- 5 Quick Tips for Reputational Self-Care
- 5 Quick Tips for Holiday Self-Care
- The Hurdles of Self-Care
- Taming Your Wild Emotions
- 9 Strategies to Minimize Scanxiety
- How to Manage Anxiety from Past Medical Trauma