When it comes to self care, the old standbys come to mind: taking a long bath, going for a walk, snuggling on the couch to watch a movie, and so on. But what about emotional self care? Are there different strategies we should look at when it comes to managing our emotions?
Emotional self care is an area I’ve always been a bit confused by, and I thought others may be too. So for today’s post, we’ll be diving into some key ways to begin practicing emotional self care.
(Psst… want to grab a FREE printable self care checklist? Snag yours below! Once you enter your email address, you’ll be sent an email with information on accessing my free Resource Library. The self care checklist is in the library under the Personal Growth and Development section.)
What is Emotional Self Care?
Emotional self care is about simply allowing yourself to feel your emotions for what they are. This involves identifying and accepting them with little to no judgement.
If you’re anything like me, accepting your emotions without judgement feels like a tall order. How can we accept feeling sad? Or not judge ourselves for feeling angry, when we know we’re getting upset about something small?
Sound hard? It doesn’t have to be. Here are some strategies for practicing emotional self care.
#1. Talk to someone.
When it comes to negative self talk, often we don’t consciously hear what we’re saying if we keep it to ourselves. Our mind is on a loop of negativity, yet we don’t have the clarity or space to really challenge the messages.
Talking it out and speaking to someone about how you’re feeling can help tremendously. Not only does it give you insight into what’s going on in your mind, but venting and tuning into your feelings can work wonders for healing your emotions. Sometimes they just need to be spoken and shared.
A trusted friend or loved one can be great to speak to, or you may prefer the help of a psychologist, therapist, coach, or other mental health professional.
My post Stop Negative Self Talk With This One Powerful Question may also be helpful in dealing with self talk.
#2. Cry if you need to.
As I shared in my recent post The Benefits of Coaching: My Top 5 Lessons, my life coach Tammy always says that “tears are healing”. In other words, when we cry, we are releasing emotions and healing ourselves.
This is a lesson that has stuck with me over the years, and has given me so much comfort. It feels so good to not only think of it being “okay” to cry, but to see crying as a good, positive thing that is helping our mental state.
One of the LAST things I used to want to do when I felt down was to meditate. Without distractions, I couldn’t escape my emotions and it felt unnecessary painful to just sit in quiet when all I wanted to do was binge watch a TV show.
Meditation, though, can speed up the process of feeling and overcoming your emotions because it forces you to truly feel them. I’m not a meditation expert, but here’s what I do when I’m trying to work through emotions:
First, sit or lie down in a quiet space, and bring focus to my breath.
Second, ask myself what I’m feeling and where in my body I’m feeling it. (This may seem silly, but if you ask yourself the question, you may notice that it feels like your anger is sitting in your chest as tightness, or that your anxiety is causing your throat to feel dry and constricted.) Feel the feeling and reflect on it with curiosity. (“What am I feeling? How does it feel?”)
Third, imagine warm, healing light shining down on that part of your body, and melting the pain or discomfort.
This may sound a bit out there, but trust me – it helps!
Looking for more? My post The Beginner’s Guide to Meditation: How to Get Started is a great resource.
#4. Find outlets for your feelings.
If you’re looking for something to do to more actively work through your feelings, try a creative expression like painting or writing. A free-flowing drawing or journal entry can allow you to express your emotions in a unique way and is an excellent form of self care.
The first few strategies were more focused on working through negative emotions, but when it comes to emotional self care, there are plenty of things you can do no matter your mood to cater to your emotional side.
Finding things that make you laugh is an amazing practice. Some examples are watching a funny TV show (I LOVE The Office!), going to a comedy show, playing board games with friends (this is my new fave!), or spending time with funny people.
Those are some of my favourite ways to practice emotional self care. Looking for more? Check out my other self care posts: