Between the shorter days of winter, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the political and social environments, many people are reporting increased stress, anxiety and depression, as well as mental fatigue.
While there are many strategies to manage stress and anxiety, Kristin Lothman, a mind-body counselor with Mayo Clinic’s Department of Integrative Medicine and Health, says intentionally setting aside time to be quiet and practice self-care is a practice that can reap significant benefits. “I recommend developing a daily self-care practice. It is important to take care of ourselves so that we can show up more powerfully in our own lives and for the people we love.”
Lothman says it is important to remember that self-care does not need to be elaborate, but it should be an ongoing personal practice. “It should be something we will return to over and over again when life feels out of control. We should aim to practice daily, and over time, we will grow, moving from coping to healing and then into thriving.”
If you’re unsure of what self-care activity is right for you, Lothman says there are many to try. “Basic practices could include things like journaling; meditation; prayer; and mindful movement, such as yoga or tai chi ― really any intentional action or behavior that gives us energy and enhances our sense of well-being.”
She adds that some people may find it more helpful to seek professional support by way of a counselor, therapist or health coach.
“No matter how you do it, by taking time to attend to ourselves, we are intentionally creating love, safety and belonging within ourselves, which is necessary for continued resilience in and through difficult times such as these.”
Watch Lothman lead a guided meditation:
Watch a “bubble blowing” breathing exercise for children: