3 Ways to Practice Self-Care During Stressful Times

It was early Sunday morning.

It had been an emotional week.

So much had happened in our country and as a woman of color my heart was grieved. I’m married to a beautiful man of color and together we made beautiful children of color — one daughter, one son. Our son is scheduled for his behind-the-wheel portion of his driving test and part of me is terrified of him becoming a licensed driver. He on the other hand is beyond excited and is counting the days till his test. I’m thinking, son, you can follow all the officer’s commands and still…

It was early Sunday morning.

I received a text message from my mom’s husband.

To all of her current health challenges, we could now add pneumonia to the list.

It was early Sunday morning.

I checked the website of my favorite yoga studio just to make sure they’d still be open for the early morning class.

I needed that class.

Before I stepped foot in church, I needed to find my breath. I needed to connect breath and body because I was on the edge. I had cried off-and-on all week and I was tired.

I got dressed, I drove to the studio only to discover they were closed.

I checked the website again and noticed a sentence that says to check their Facebook page for any schedule changes.

Sure enough, just an hour before, they had canceled class.

The yoga studio was closed but my mat is always open.

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I found a guided yoga video that helped me breathe again.

What I’ve learned over the past few years is that taking care of myself —self-care— is a non-negotiable.

How to care for yourself in stressful situations

  1. Limit News and Social Media Exposure. The events of the week were constantly being replayed across all news channels and kept popping up on my timelines. And each exposure chipped away at my ability to breathe. So I limited my exposure. I was grateful for the people who posted things that made me laugh or smile. Those were welcomed. Still, I limited my time to no more than 10-to-15 minutes and I logged off.
  2. Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. It may feel like the last thing you want to do but I can assure you it’s one of the best things you can do. I retreated to my yoga mat and saw benefits immediately. A walk around the corner with a furry best friend or a toddler, jumping on that piece of exercise equipment for just 15 minutes makes a world of difference. According to the Mayo Clinic when we exercise, certain chemicals are released that improve our moods.
  3. Talk to a Friend. It’s vital to your mental health and well-being to talk about what’s going on internally. It is hazardous to keep emotions, fears, rage and concerns bottled inside. A few days into all the chaos I called a good friend and vented. She listened and affirmed what I was feeling as valid.

When life happens, it’s important that we remember to take care of ourselves in ways that are healthy and non-destructive. There are two more ways I practice self-care during stressful times. Click here if you’d like to to know and add to your own practice.

#ThisWomanKnows

Lisa N. Alexander is the author and founder of This Woman Knows and Put It Out There! 5 Steps to Kick Fear’s Butt and Move Your Dream Forward. She is a women's leadership speaker and marketing consultant known as The Marketing Stylist™. She speaks on topics ranging from women's empowerment to successfully marketing your business and uses her wit and humor to inform and entertain audiences. For booking information please visit www.LisaNAlexander.com.

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