A Prescription for Taking Care of Yourself in Difficult Times

As I read the email, I froze with fear. My body instantly flooded with stress chemicals. You’d have thought a saber-toothed tiger was snarling at my throat!

Yes, even after all these years and much work on myself, I got triggered into that terrified, helpless state, like a child dependent on her parents for survival. I’m still surprised by the intensity of my (over)reaction to someone’s mere words.

Thankfully, I didn’t lash out at others but I sure caused myself a huge amount of stress and upset.

Extreme times call for extreme measures.

I’m a big advocate of healthy self-care for women. I believe you must make yourself a priority every day.

But sometimes that’s not enough.

High stress, major upsets, painful losses, bad news, and hard times all call for more.They call for “extreme” self-care.

Extreme self- care means you make self-care your top priority:

Being extra kind to yourself.

Doing more of what nurtures and nourishes you.

Even if (or especially if!) you don’t feel like it.

It means you keep doing extreme self-care until you’ve recovered, healed, calmed down, feel better.

I use the tools I teach and share with my clients.

So that’s just what I did for myself. Instead of wallowing in self-judgment or punishing myself, I began to practice extreme self-care. For me that included:

  • Walking on the beach and taking in the smells, sounds, and beauty of the water I love so dearly.
  • Spending time with supportive friends and allowing myself to bathe in their love and support.
  • Moving by doing yoga or walking every day.
  • Meditating which calmed my ramped up, going-1000-miles- an-hour mind.
  • Listening to music. Sometimes soothing, sometimes upbeat depending on what seemed best at the time.
  • Following my energy, not pushing myself to do more than I was up to, allowing myself to slow down as I needed.

As I did this, hour by hour and day by day, I settled down. While I’ll be working on the lessons from this experience for quite some time, my extreme upset has mostly calmed. I attribute this shift to practicing extreme self-care.

Do You Need Extreme Self-Care?

If you’re struggling, suffering, or feeling bad, I recommend you give yourself extreme self-care.

Consider what nourishes and nurtures you  (it’s different for each of us) and do lots of those things for as long as it takes to ease your pain and feel better again.

What do you do to take care of yourself when you’re having a particularly difficult time? Tell us in Comments below.

Leave a Comment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 De De Collins April 5, 2012 at 9:49 am

Bonnie,
Such good advice! But not always easy to do! I love to be in nature, outside, either gardening or sitting and enjoying the beauty of nature. It revives me and helps me to know that “this to shall pass”. I love to create by sewing and quilting. I spend time planning my next project, then executing the plan. It takes my mind into a place that is joyful and beautiful. I try to be quiet in myself and by myself. These are the things that help me when stress arrives, and it will…. again and again.
De De

2 Bonnie April 5, 2012 at 5:16 pm

You’re right, De De, that it’s not always easy to do. Many things in life that are good for us & that are simple, still aren’t easy. Thanks for sharing what works for you in stressful times. you’ve got some great things there.

3 Ann alka WorkingBoomer April 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Bonnie, your suggestions are great as usual. Stress can be very dangerous to our health. I deep breathe, get in nature, play meditation music, treat myself at a spa or whatever it takes to get over stress. Sometimes, of course, it is easier said that done but as a person with heart disease, it is really essential for me. In addition, if I am over stressed my cup is empty and there is no more to give away which makes me irritable and discontent. I continue to love to read everything that you write for inspiration. As a matter of fact, that helps me with stress too. Keep up the good work.

4 Bonnie April 11, 2012 at 10:03 am

Ann,

I just noticed your comment got caught in my blog’s spam filter. Sorry!

Thanks for your kind words and for sharing your experiences.You’ve listed some great de-stressing techniques. As we both know, the key is doing them. Not always easy and essential!