14 Self Supportive Ways to Soothe Yourself


Some days life can just feel like “it’s all too much.” The daily news, difficult relationships, job stress, health problems and parenthood can all feel like they are putting more demands on our system than we can cope with. It can seem like feeling good (emotionally OR physically) is next to impossible! It’s during times like these that many of us are tempted to turn to self-destructive behaviours (like drinking too much alcohol, overeating, or picking fights with loved ones) as ways to cope with everything life has thrown our way. While these actions may make you feel better for a short while, in the end you’re likely to end up regretting these choices. The good news is there are a lot of other ways to soothe yourself that will help you start to feel better immediately, and will continue to support your mental, emotional, and physical health over the long term.

If you’re anything like me, part of the problem is that once you get into a funk, the more creative part of your brain seems to shut down, and it’s difficult to think of anything useful to do to help yourself. That’s why I keep a handy list of ideas around to pull out when I need a boost! Here (in no particular order) are some of my favourite self-supportive soothing activities:

Music: Music is such a powerful mood booster. It’s so easy to put some on and it’s an almost instant soother. Make a playlist of your favourite musical soothers on your Ipod or computer for some “touch of a button” relief!

Hobbies: When you’re feeling down is probably not the time to go looking for a new hobby; I’ve found a lot of comfort in engaging in a familiar one. Knitting, playing a musical instrument, making bread, painting, or building models are all examples of hobbies that can be extremely soothing to the spirit. As an added bonus, you get the satisfaction of creating something!

Nature: Connecting with the natural world seems to have magical restorative powers for most people. Watch the birds at the feeder or birdbath, dig around in the garden, or go for a hike in the woods.

Find something to laugh about: We’ve all heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine”, and for good reason! I have a stash of go-to movies to pull out when I need a good dose of silliness (50 First Dates, When Harry Met Sally, Just Like Heaven, School of Rock, and the Steve Martin/Lily Tomlin classic, All of Me). Humorous books and stand-up comedy DVDs by comedians who tickle your funny bone are other excellent choices for some “laughter therapy”.

Water: A good long hot bath or shower is at the top of my list when I need a pick-me-up!

Hot beverages: Curling up with a hot cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa is something you can take a few minutes to do even in the midst of one of those “crazy” days. If you tend to overdo it with caffeine, an herbal tea might be the best option for you.

Soothing scents: Light some scented candles, or use essential oils in a diffuser (try lavender, lemon, ylang ylang or rose.)

Move Your Body: When you’re feeling blue or overwhelmed, you’re less likely to feel like moving your body; ironically this is probably the time when it would benefit you the most! Try a short walk or a few minutes on the yoga mat. You may find that once you start moving you find yourself enjoying it, and end up doing more than you planned.

Inspirational videos or CDs: I have a stack of Abraham-Hicks CDs that I keep around to put on when I feel like I’m starting to “lose it”. If I’m working on the computer, I may jump over to YouTube and watch one of their videos for a quick pick-me-up. This works great for me, but for my husband would be a form of self-torture. If Abe’s not your thing, find something else that inspires you and remember to pull it out when you need it!

Reading: Getting lost in a good book is a self-soothing strategy I’ve used since early childhood. Fortunately there are so many books coming out these days that there will always be something new and exciting to check out, no matter what your favourite genre.

Take a nap: Sometimes a little extra rest is all you really need to feel well-balanced again. If you know you’ve been pushing yourself too hard, tuck yourself into bed for a mid-afternoon nap. If you can’t do this during the work week, treat yourself on the weekend. I guarantee you life will seem rosier when you wake up!

Snuggle someone: Go find a kid or a pet to cuddle up with.

Be a kid: Remember all those fun games you used to play as a kid? They’re still fun now. If you’re all alone, try pattern puzzle games like Rush Hour, or a game of solitaire (play it with real cards, not on the computer.) If you’ve got a playing partner or two handy, break out the Yahtzee, Backgammon, Sorry and Clue.

Do a few rounds of EFT: EFT and other forms of Meridian Tapping are a great way to help yourself feel more calm and relaxed. If you’re not yet familiar with this technique, you can learn the basics in just a few minutes. EzineArticles.com features a complete section on how to use this versatile tool! You will also find many videos on YouTube demonstrating this technique.

For a maximum dose of self-soothing, pull out all the stops and combine a few of these into an Ultimate Self-Soothing Experience. Take a hot bath with essential oils while listening to music and reading a funny book, take a walk on a nature trail while listening to an inspirational talk on your Ipod, or snuggle up on the couch with a kid and a dog while watching a funny movie and sipping hot cocoa.

I hope this list inspires you to find some new and creative ways to find your “feel good” again!






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