Are you the person who works, takes care of your children, gets dinner and then cleans up?  On the weekends, do you also help your parents or your siblings?  Now add to all of that the strain of losing your job!  Do you know how to take care of yourself during times of stress?

Acknowledge Your Needs

Many of us (and yes, I include myself in this,) struggle with thinking of our own needs first.  We’re so used to putting our children first or our parents or even our own siblings or friends.  Need a hand?  I’m there for you.  Want some help?  What do you need me to do?  Need extra money?  How much?

And yet, we find it hard to ask for help in return.  We get so caught up in meeting the needs of everyone else, that we forget about our own needs.  But if you don’t take care of your own needs first, you run the risk of hitting a wall or worse, getting sick.  If you’re sick, how can you take care of anyone else?

Free Ways to Take Care of Yourself

This won’t be a post about how you need a massage or a mani/pedi to take care of yourself.  All are things I advocate and think are important, but considering I and my co-workers are losing our jobs next week, here are some free ways to take care of ourselves.

  1.  Meditate.  I can’t advocate this one enough.  Chris and I recently picked this back up because it really does help to calm our minds down, focus us and, for me, helps me to get to sleep quicker.
  2. Watch some clouds.  Seriously, take the time to just look up at the clouds.  It can be fun, too, if you find the pictures in the clouds.
  3. Go for a hike.  It can be a walk, a hike or a visit to the gym.  Get the body moving, blood circulating and the endorphins flowing.
  4. Be grateful.  Chris and I keep a Gratitude Jar and write out things that we’re grateful for.  Big or small, it matters not whether you’re grateful for a puppy to cuddle, a child to hug, a husband who takes out the garbage without being asked or a sunset.  Whatever it is, write it down.  You can try a jar, or you can write in a journal.  Some people do it at the end of the day by writing down 3 or more things they were grateful for each day.
  5. Go out by yourself.  Yes, by yourself.  Go to the movies, or the park, or the library or the beach or wherever you want to go.  But go by yourself so you don’t end up taking care of others.  This one is a treat for you, to help you.  Go watch that movie that no one else in your family wants to see.  It’s ok.

There are hundreds of other free self-care options.  Use these as a starting point.  Maybe you don’t want to watch clouds but would love to take a bubble bath in peace.  Then it’s time to make plans to get everyone else out of the house so you can have an hour to yourself. However you do it and whatever you choose to do, remember it’s not a one-time thing. Taking care of yourself should be a daily thing.