Setting aside some time to take care of our physical, mental and emotional health should remain an integral part of our lives. Self-care supports us through bouts of stress and anxiety, it provides a chance to work through challenging situations and gives a boost to our overall self-esteem. But what can you do when you don’t have the energy to take care of yourself?
One significant thing to understand about self-care is that it’s not about being happy. That may seem counterintuitive; but self-care is about developing an awareness of when you need to allow time for self-soothing, healing or getting a mental reset. A beneficial side effect might be nurturing happiness, but that should not be its aim. It’s a tool we must learn how to utilize effectively, especially when we’re experiencing a lack of mental or emotional vitality.
In addition, self-care is not a cure for any type of depression. If you’re feeling overwhelmed; to the point where it’s interfering with your everyday life or ability to function in a healthful way, you should seek out further, in-depth/professional support; some useful links have been included at the end of this article.
I’m currently experiencing some situational depression and anxiety that has left me feeling exhausted and struggling to take care of myself. I’ve had to adapt my self-care tools to include ones that take little effort and time to complete. By starting small, I’ve found it’s had a knock-on effect; accumulating to help boost my resiliency and overall energy to a level where I can start to step out of the low ebb I’m weathering.
Through repetitious, small moments of self-care that don’t sap already diminished energy levels; we can all start feeling the accomplishment of doing something practical for ourselves that accumulates a sense of well-being.
Here are 6 Self-Care Tips For When You Don’t Have The Energy To Do Anything …
1| Give yourself permission to let certain things go if you’re struggling to complete them (cleaning, laundry, wearing make-up, sleeping well, etc). Our ordinary routines might get disrupted — and that’s okay. Don’t focus on what you’re not accomplishing, instead regard it as a temporary change.
2| Do one thing consistently at the beginning of your day. It could be as simple as starting off with a cup of tea and no social media browsing (something I’ve implemented) or making your bed as soon as you get up. Morning routines improve our overall mental health by setting intentions for the day.
3| Use an aromatherapy oil diffuser/mister for 5-10 minutes a day, closing your eyes to concentrate on your breathing. It’s like a mini-meditation that will support relaxation and clear your thoughts. For some guidance about what essential oil blends you can use, click here.
4| Spend a few minutes colouring-in or making origami — they’re both creative yet relaxing activities; you can focus on something without it becoming too involved or overstimulating for your brain.
5| Declutter one thing — pick a cupboard or drawer; a bag or desk; sort out files on your phone/computer, etc. Organization is a simple yet effective way to offer yourself a mental break from stress; shifting attention onto something that provides a bit of (healthy) control and order.
6| Get some sunshine — if you don’t have the energy or time to go for a walk; sit in your garden, on your porch or next to an open window for a few minutes. Focus on your breathing and feel the serotonin boosting sunlight on your face (serotonin is a mood-enhancing, calming hormone).
Do you have any self-care tips? What do you do to take care of yourself?
NAMI Helpline – a free, nationwide U.S. resource that offers experienced peer-support guidance and advice
CheckPoint – global (by country) resources for mental health support
Why Self-Care Is Hard For Depressed Individuals – Psychology Today
Why You Struggle With Self-Care – NAMI (National Alliance On Mental Illness)