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We all feel the stress sometimes. We all get overwhelmed. Here are some simple ways to relieve stress practice self care during times of crisis.
It’s likely that you’ve been feeling chronic stress over the past few months. Money worries, wondering if your kids will get sick. Wondering if your parents will get sick. Wondering if you’ll lose your job. Wondering if you’ll get sick. Wondering if there will ever be toilet paper again. Wondering if you’ll be able to get the food you need to make meals.
You might be lonely or exhausted from working out on the front lines. Or just nervous because work doesn’t look like you’re used to. You might be feeling all kinds of different things.
If you take all of these things and add the stress of keeping kids right now, it can be a real doozie. You don’t only have to worry about your own family, but several other families too. It is a really scary time for a lot of us. But not only is right night frightening, we deal with many of these issues on a regular basis in daycare.
On top of all of that, if you have a home daycare, you aren’t able to wash up before you enter your house, because you are inviting all of that right into your home. And everyone else is getting all the disinfectant and paper towels while you are working.
Personally, I have made the choice to not go anywhere at all and find other ways to get supplies such as Walmart pick up, which my husband picks up or ordering online. That way I’m not exposing my kids to anything I don’t have to.
Relaxation for daycare providers
All of this adds up to a lot. I have noticed myself having sore muscles. I’m not able to sleep as well as I usually do. I have bad dreams. I get super tired and don’t have a lot of energy to do all the disinfecting.
During the day it’s hard, but the big spray the whole house down routine at night is REALLY difficult. I have to drag myself around the house and get it done because it’s important. I have developed tennis elbow from it too and had to get a brace to wear.
What can I do to blow steam off? I don’t drink, and quite frankly if I did, I’d probably be overdoing it right now which would make matters worse.
But we have to prevent burnout!
I have been making sure I get some extra time outdoors. Being outside always makes me feel better. Fresh air and sunshine are good for what you have on your mind. I never feel closer to God than I do in my garden and I know time spent with Him is always therapeutic.
There are actually real chemical benefits to getting your hands in the dirt. I love garden therapy more than anything. Thankfully, right now the weather is so nice and there is a lot of opportunity to get out there. I love it.
The kids and I have been planting seeds, picking weeds, harvesting a few fruits and veggies like asparagus and kale. After work, I try to come out again and spend a few minutes in the quiet by myself if I have the energy. I brought my laptop outside and am working on this article outside right now. I love it.
Use the five senses to relieve stress
One thing I’ve learned over the years of having a chronic anxiety disorder is that if I focus on my sense, it helps distract me from my panic. So, focus on sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.
There’s a great exercise I use if I’m having a panic attack. I find 5 things I can see, 4 things I can touch, 3 things I can hear, 2 things I can smell and one thing I can taste. Once I finish that, I usually feel calmer. At least enough to get a hold of myself and do some breathing.
Each sense has a number of wonderful helps as well.
Let’s talk about sight first.
There are many calming things you can look at. Think about the ocean or a large forest. A field of flowers. What color do you find the most relaxing? Try finding something that color to focus on. I love pink. I think green is a really relaxing color since there is a lot of it in nature. Think about how what you look at makes you feel and do more of the good things.
Do you love fuzzy kitten videos or puppy? Do you have a love for ducklings or baby chicks? Find some videos online that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. What about looking at something in the warm sunlight. Does that make you feel relaxed?
There are so many things that are relaxing in sound. Baby’s laughter, anyone’s laughter for that matter. What about birds chirping in the spring time? Do you love the sound of the ocean waves?
Let’s talk about music. What a mood booster that can be. Do you love the way certain types of music are relaxing? Think about some Kenny Rogers music, or Prince? What about worship music like Lauren Daigle? Do you love to listen to old country songs? Patsy Cline? What about Imagine Dragons? Is that your jam?
If hip hop gets you in a good mood, check that out more. If you like to rock, do it. If you love rhythm and blues, put that on. Do you love the crooning of Michael Bublé? Enjoy it.
I really like oldies. I was raised in the 70s and I love 60s and 70s music the most. But there’s not really any kind of music I don’t like. And it all can make me feel good in certain situations. Sometimes I feel too fragile for rap, but other times I belt it out and love it.
Do what works for you to make you feel more relaxed.
Are water droplets your jam or wind chimes? Get something that makes those noises.
Smell is a power sense. It can carry memories better than any other sense in the body. What are some smells that bring you comfort? Chocolate? Fresh baked bread? What about rose? Does that remind you of your grandmother?
The scents of the garden are another reason they help relax me and help me practice self care. I love the smell as you brush past a tomato plant or an herb like lavender.
My husband loves the smell of vanilla. What about warm cookies baking? What about fresh squeezed lemons? I love all the smells of citrus. Do you love cinnamon?
Aromatherapy is very powerful. I use lavender essential oil regularly to soothe my anxiety and my husband rubs it on the bottom of my feet and his every night to help us fall asleep. Try some and find out what kind works to help you manage feelings of stress.
Be mindful if you work with kids or have pets, that essential oils are very powerful and can cause trouble for them. Do your research and find out what is safe for them. I don’t recommend diffusing anything around kids or animals. Just use it personally and don’t mix it out there for everyone.
Other than food, there are other soothing smells. Fresh rain, fresh cut grass. What are some other smells you can think of that make your whole body feel good? Keep that around and use it when you need to. You can boil cinnamon sticks or orange peels on the stove for a nice pleasant environment.
What about taste? I know that chocolate is super calming for me. Sadly, right now I’ve had far too much of it! Do you find warm tea relaxing? Do you love caramel and find it soothing? As long as we watch our sugar intake a little bit of these things can be good.
Mint can have a relaxing affect, try chewing some gum or having a breath mint. Cut a piece of mint and drop it in some boiling water with some other things to make an herbal tea.
The last sense is touch and it’s a powerful one.
Think about how relaxing it is to pet a cat or a dog. It actually does reduce blood pressure when you pet animals. Fuzzy blankets and comforters are relaxing. Anything cozy to wear like a robe or fuzzy slippers can have a stress-relieving effect as you practice self care.
Massage is relaxing and even though we can’t go get one right now, your partner can rub your shoulders or you can rub theirs. If you don’t have a partner, you can order a back massager online and use that to reduce stress.
Rubbing a soft leaf like a lamb’s ear or pampas grass can be a relaxing activity. Soaking in a warm tub of water is super relaxing to your muscles. If you enjoy that, try to do it at the end of the day to wash the day away. Whatever works for you, no matter how small, can be a game changer.
Don’t forget that long hugs can reduce blood pressure and send anxiety away.
Deep breathing is a great relaxer. Breathe in and out deeply and make sure you’re breathing deep enough to make your lower abdomen rise and fall. Chest only breathing is very shallow and you need to practice feeling breathe moving your whole torso.
When you first start deep breathing, try to breath deeply in for the count of three, hold it for three, and blow it out for three. If you can’t get there, try blowing a raspberry and see how that makes you feel, or pretend like you are blowing up a balloon or you are the water coming out of a faucet, shhhhhhhh.
Once you can focus on your breathing a little deeper, try in for 5, hold for 5 and out through your mouth for 7. The more you practice, the better your focus will become and you can get more benefit from it. Focus on how your body feels when you are breathing deeply. It does make a ton of difference.
There are so many other things that can relax your body and practice self care, try some of these and see what works for you.
Exercise is a great stress reliever and mood booster. Walking is the best movement for all kinds of things. Try a nice peaceful walk or a full-on sprint walk and see how it makes you feel. You get a ton of mental clarity from movement. You can also try lifting weights, swimming, or anything else that makes you feel better.
Dancing is a great stress reliever for me. I can’t dance, not even a little. But I enjoy it. I dance for my kids. I do interpretive dances for them and even though I look like a buffoon and have zero skill, they love it. They clap, it’s fun for all of us.
Watching dance can be super relaxing as well. But add some type of dance into your life. You won’t be sorry. Dance in the street, dance in the mirror, dance with a partner or dance alone. It doesn’t matter, just move.
Stretching is another movement that is wonderful for stress reduction. Just 5 minutes a day of stretching can change your whole perspective. And help you with flexibility too.
I know when I feel overwhelmed and beaten down by all the negative things going on, it makes a big difference if I practice gratitude. I can just get a piece of paper and start writing all the things I’m thankful for and it can make a world of difference in how I’m feeling. Perspective makes a huge difference.
Remember that old song on sesame street when we were kids? That’s about the size, where you put your eyes, that’s about the size of it. It makes a difference on HOW you look at your situation.
You can even find ways to help others to reduce stress and practice self care.
The news is full of negativity and fear mongering. Their job is to make everything sound sensational. So, they buff it up a little bit. A virus that is sweeping the nation sounds a lot worse when they say, more people have died in the US than in Italy the whole time. But there are far more people IN the US, so obviously more people will die here from the same thing.
When you are feeling overcome by emotion and negative feelings, take a media break and turn off the news for a little while. When you get yourself together, you can turn it back on if you want to. But you might find that you are better off limiting how much news you watch period.
A great stress reducer is writing. Get a journal and write down all the things that make you feel overcome with anxiety. Sometimes just letting it out makes all the difference.
Laughing is a huge help in getting rid of stress. I love all the memes there have been shared on social media. It does my heart so much good to laugh. And even if it’s something silly like a toilet paper joke, that laughter can relax your whole body. So, laugh it up. Dust off all those dad jokes and let them rip.
Another great way to let of steam is crying. Crying is your body’s steam vent. When you can’t handle any more, a good cry will wash it all away. So, if you feel like crying, just do it. You’ll feel a ton better.
Prayer is a great way to relax. Giving all your cares to a loving God is one of the best ways to reduce stress. We have survived 100% of our hardest days so far and we will survive more of them too. So, we don’t need to sit around worrying about tomorrow. Focus on today, give your cares to God, and take the next right step.
Meditation can also be great for reducing anxiety. It’s a form of prayer and they can sometimes be intermingled, depending on how you like to pray. Try it, be still and know that He is God. You won’t be sorry if you trust Him. He has your best interest at heart, and He knows what that is far better than you do.
Take care quotes
There are a ton of great scriptures about fear, anxiety, and God’s desire to give you good things. Check some of these out.
John 14:27 New International Version (NIV)
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Joshua 1:9 New International Version (NIV)
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Psalm 23:4 New International Version (NIV)
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
There are so many more scriptures to combat fear that help with self care during times of crisis.
There are several things you can do to practice self care and reduce stress. Reducing caffeine will make a world of difference in how anxious you feel. You might feel compelled to drink a ton of coffee to make it through the day, but try to limit it so you can sleep well and stay more relaxed.
Eating well is a wonderful way to practice self care. Get plenty of b vitamins and magnesium in your food and even take supplements if it helps. Eat the rainbow every day for a variety of nutrients and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. You can also eat fermented food to combat stress such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, or whatever you like.
Getting rid of the junk in your life can make a world of difference in your mood. Get rid of all of the extra laying out and you’ll feel more peaceful. Throw away old junk that you don’t need or donate it to someone who does. If you’re not working right now, it’s a great time to declutter the place, make freezer meals, stock the pantry, and other things that will make going back to work easier.
Self care at work
You may not be able to do all of these things at work when you get back or if you are still there now, but you can be mindful of your attitude and breathing any time. You can pray any time. God is always listening. You can stretch on your breaks and eat well on your lunch break. You got this. You can do it.
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for self care, so try to get enough. How much you need depends on you. But make sure you have a relaxing bedtime routine, you don’t eat junk food or caffeine late in the day, and that you have a comfortable quiet place to sleep. Plenty of sleep makes everything seem better.
Don’t forget to make plans for the future. Even though we can’t travel or do much of anything fun right now, make plans for when you can. Look forward to the future. And plan out some great things you can do when this is over.
Self care checklist
Click on the link below to print out a free pdf printable self care checklist of these items.
- Am I drinking enough water?
- Have I gotten movement today?
- Have I spent quiet time praying or meditating?
- Have I made good food choices and eaten the rainbow?
- Do I need to watch my sugar intake more tomorrow?
- Did I learn something new today?
- Did I get enough sleep?
- Do I need to take a break and meditate on some scriptures or focus on some positive things for a little while?
- Am I watching too much news?
- Did I help someone else today?
- How does my body feel? Is it achy, sore, tired, or too tense? What can I do right now to calm down?
I hope this will help you really think about how you are treating yourself and show you a few things you can do better. I know we will get through this and I’m rooting and praying for you.
If you need meals to make once and last several days check out cook one pork roast, make five meals, cook one chicken make three meals, quick and easy dinner ideas from the pantry, and easy crock pot meals. There are a ton of easy dinner ideas on the blog.
Also, if you need boredom busters for the kids, check out 50 activities for a rainy day, indoor obstacle course, painting rocks and more kids’ activities on the blog.