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How do you take care of yourself?

I'm going through a very rough period for a variety of reasons (I'd elaborate but, quite honestly, I don't need to make myself any more upset). There's no depression, etc. - just a lot of stress and shitty stuff going on in my life right now. DH is going through similar messes but we don't get to spend a ton of time together right now.

I'm trying to figure out how to better take care of myself emotionally. I'm incredibly busy with work and being a care-giver right now so I haven't had a lot of time. This has lead to too much eating out/takeout and weight gain. Realizing that your fat jeans are feeling tight leads to more stress. The obvious response is that I need to make more time to go to the gym, eat better, etc. but that's just not fitting into my schedule easily/regularly right now.

I scheduled an appointment for a hair cut and color today (see my earlier post) and I'm excited about looking a bit better. I have some errands to run for my MIL tomorrow so I think I may even be able to do a bit of shopping tomorrow. I'm looking forward to that but recognize that it's not a great fix.

So I guess my question is this: how do you make yourself feel better when things are rough? How do you take care of yourself? Perk yourself up?

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Re: How do you take care of yourself?

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    I get enough sleep, I eat right and I make time for exercise - even if it's taking the stairs, parking in the back of the lot, or doing squats while I brush my teeth. If I can find an hour here and there, I take a yoga class. It's exercise, meditation and self-centering. Very efficient for one hour!

    I understand being busy, but making your physical needs a priority is really important. If I don't do the basics, stuff like the salon and shopping don't even fill the void. Once I start saying "I don't have time for sleep/good food/exercise", I go into a spiral of unhealthy that makes everything else worse/harder. Basics first - everything else later.

    Lots of hugs to you, wanda. 
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    I recommend starting the day with exercise, if you can. It doesn't need to be at the gym. Personally, I like pilates since you can do it at home without any special equipment and you can decide how much time to spend on it. I find that on the mornings when I do pilates I feel much more awake and focused and easy-going.
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    I'm sorry you're having a hard time :( 

    I was struggling to find time to exercise, and I was physically feeling like crap a lot of the time because I was so sedentary (I sit in an office all day, and then sit at home all evening). A good solution for me was to order a stationary trainer for my bike. I brought my mountain bike inside, hooked it into the stationary trainer, and now I can ride my bike a few times a week, whenever it's convenient to me, without having to worry about paying a gym membership and getting my butt across town to the gym. That has helped a lot. 

    I think going to the salon to pamper yourself a little and focus on you is another good way to cheer up a bit. 

    When I'm really stressed and can't get out of my own head, reading a good book always helps because it takes my mind totally off of all the bad stuff. 

    I hope you feel better soon. Hugs. 
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    I went through a period where I was just stressed and sad all the time, and I made some changes to my habits that have helped. I try to make sure I get enough sleep every night, even if that means going to bed at nine and feeling like an old person. I stopped drinking coffee and try to minimize the amount of soda I drink.

    I also tried to change my mindset on a lot of personal issues. For example, I used to care a lot about what people thought of me, even people who weren't my friends and who weren't nice to me, and I worked to change my viewpoint so that I could laugh it off instead of letting it eat at me.

    Most of the changes I made were in response to things that were very personal to me. If I had a problem, I would figure out what was causing that problem and try to cut it out. If something made me happy, I would try to do more of that thing. It's easier said than done, but I really think that improving yourself starts with not listening to what other people tell you you should do and focusing on your own unique issues and habits.
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    A nice long walk.     Even in the cold.  It helps I have 2 dogs who need walking anyway.  Sometimes it seems easier to just let them out to pee.  However,  I always feel much better when I take them on a nice long walk.    


    Shopping doesn't relax me at all.  I over-think if I should be spending the money.    Going to the salon is just normal maintenance for me.  Relaxing when I'm getting it done, but it another 6-8 weeks until I get it done again.    

    I think that why I like long walks.  I can do it pretty much everyday.  Doesn't cost money, but it just makes me feel good to move.







    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
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    I'm sorry you are feeling badly. 

    Romance novels are my pick me up when I'm feeling bad. I like it because I can trust that the ending will be happy and everything will work out. All the drama that happens in the book will get resolved. And I can get swept away and forget my problems.

    As for the working out, is there a place you can go and just walk? FI and I aren't doing any gym memberships right now but we sometimes just do laps around the parking garage. It's not super exciting, but it gets us moving. Or he uses the stairs in our apartment building. He can read while he walks (which I am super bad at) so he does that or plays a game. I have been doing an exercise video where the only supplies are hand weights. That's nice because we don't need a lot of stuff. Or space.

    Maybe you can find a take-out place that has healthier options? Or something like those places where they make your meals for you? Although I have heard they can be really spendy, it might be a good option to get some more healthy stuff in your life.
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    I try and get enough sleep, make time for reading, consciously take deep breaths, eat as much fruit as I can (easier for me to squeeze in on the run), and buy bigger pants.
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    Any type of exercise will help. You don't need to go to the gym. Just do a few things at home. 

    Also, I listen to music. A LOT!!! When I'm in a funk, it's all about 90s music. Whatever your fave genre is, put it on and just listen. Music makes everything better (or at least lets you chill for a bit).
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    Eating right usually helps me, but the planning/cooking part is hard. I typically do a big costco trip once a month to get things like frozen chicken etc. and I got a pressure cooker which helps A LOT with cooking time.. 15min for chicken breast from frozen to done. I don't do anything fancy but I use the crock pot and pressure cooker a lot, saves time and I get to eat in and know that it's a bit healthier than eating out all the time. For instance, about once a week I dump two frozen chicken breasts, salsa, and lime juice from two limes into the pressure cooker, get some rice going and throw together a salad.. dinner is done in 1/2 hr and takes almost no prep.

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    Do you like to write? I find that sometimes writing out my problems or just venting on paper is helpful. On the same end, writing out things that are going well or that you are thankful for can put things in perspective!

    Maybe look into doing like a freezer meal swap with some friends.  You each pick a recipe to make in bulk that freezes well (so crock pot meals are popular), and then you swap so you each get one of each recipe.  I love crock pot meals, especially this time of year to ensure good healthy food is ready when I get home!
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    You're all right.

    There's other stuff going on but I'm working 60-70 hours/week right now, DH is working full time and taking a full course load at school, and we're taking care of now-terminal MIL and needing to pick up more slack with my 94 year old grandmother with dementia. When we have down time, we've both got a bit of personal drama going on.

    Right now, I'm walking about 3.5 miles a day as part of my commute. It's not the same as getting to the gym but it's exercise. I also walk our dog pretty frequently-- though we've had such hideous snow lately that neither of us particularly wants to walk around.

    We both should be sleeping more. It isn't helping our moods. Even when we get to bed at a reasonable time, we're finding that being a caregiver doesn't always make for the best night of sleep. We're working on how to manage this better.

    Shopping isn't something that I always get excited about, though I'll go through phases. I'm more excited about the ability to roam around and look at things on my schedule. Even if it's just a trip to Target, it seems nice. Being here can be nice and escapist at times. It helps.

    I should read more. I'm also playing around on Ancestry.com a bit now. I'm enjoying that.

    It's a work in progress.
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    I'm very similar to you, OP, and I tend to let eating/exercise fall by the wayside pretty early on when I get that stressed. Takeout is just efficient. And delicious (I suppose, too, that I'm a bit of an emotional eater)

    All I can say is, venting on here has helped me a lot. Just talking to people (both strangers and friends) and articulating everything and just getting a hug helps me. There's not much that can be done, it sounds, about your crazy schedule - there seldom is - but at least saying THIS SUCKS AND I'M UNHAPPY can let some of the toxic stuff out.

    Also, if I'm ever able to turn off my phone, it does wonders to my stress level. Just disconnect from the world for a few hours. It feels great.
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    I'm sorry you are hurting, Wanda. Hugs from all of us.

    I force myself to buy fruit at the grocery store, and when I feel like munching because I don't know what else to do, I grab my bottle of water, a banana or apple slices with peanut butter, and I read. Books are my escape. I also get emergen-c packets and put them in my water bottle for flavor. Vitamin c packed to help prevent sickness when stressed.

    Every so often I get the thought that I'd might like to go for a run. But it's hard to force myself to exercise. I would push through and do it. Exercise releases endorphins! Cue legally blonde.

    But I do as you do. Sleep, lots of water, good snacks, take care of my hair, make myself feel good all around. And hugs. We will always give you hugs.

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    Sending hugs!

    For me... Shopping helps, but that's rare because, obviously, money.  I like to absorb myself in a good book. I can read for hours and it's such a pleasant distraction. I also like to brain-cleanse with trash TV.  If not trash TV, I watch re-runs of my favorite shows on DVD. 

    Anything that actively engages my brain so that I literally can't think of what else is bothering me, that works.  I love to run but I think while running, so that's more just to get out accompanying aggression. 
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    lyndausvilyndausvi mod
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited February 2015
    While it can be challenging eating more veggies helps my mood.   When we are busy and get stressed eating bad or should I say eating convenience foods becomes easy.  Over time however I fell it keeps me down.   When I eat better foods I tend to feel better.

    No, I do not give up fried chicken, pizza or a fast food hamburger altogether.    I just feel better after eating fruits and veggies for at least one meal a day.   I take a few minutes on Sunday to make up salads in a jar like these:

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      I even work from home, but make these up because it's like fast food.  It's easy to just grab and eat.   The prep is already done.  After a week I find it really does help my overall mood.








    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
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    I take care of myself several ways. One is I put makeup on every morning. Those are 10-15 mins that I'm solely focusing on making myself feel better. I also love reading. I need to get back into yoga though. I'll start next week this time! When I do yoga, I feel very calm. Plus getting my hair done always feels great. I plan those monthes in advance so I can budget and give myself something to look forward too.

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    Bath, with some body wash squeezed in for bubbles + the cheesiest romance I can find + tea or wine + 2 truffles. I did that today and it was like the stress just melted off. 
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    lyndausvi said:
    A nice long walk.     Even in the cold.  It helps I have 2 dogs who need walking anyway.  Sometimes it seems easier to just let them out to pee.  However,  I always feel much better when I take them on a nice long walk.    


    Shopping doesn't relax me at all.  I over-think if I should be spending the money.    Going to the salon is just normal maintenance for me.  Relaxing when I'm getting it done, but it another 6-8 weeks until I get it done again.    

    I think that why I like long walks.  I can do it pretty much everyday.  Doesn't cost money, but it just makes me feel good to move.

    Especially the bolded works for me! 

    Hopefully the work situation dies down a little bit for you soon, Wanda! I'd say if sleeping is an issue, maybe try not to watch tv or work on a digital screen for an hour before bed because there's something about a back-lit screen that can mess with people's ability to go to sleep. Maybe spend a few of those minutes just being quiet and mindful of what you are doing and how you are feeling? Also, having caffine after 1pm can affect my sleep cycle. 

    It's hard making time to take care of yourself when you feel guilty about everything else that needs to be done. Even when you know that taking time to refresh is really important to handling a heavy stress and work load with grace! I hope you find something that carries you out of this rut!

    Then happy I, that love and am beloved 
    Where I may not remove nor be removed.

     --William Shakespeare (Sonnet 25)

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    I will echo many PPs here and suggest cooking, getting lost in a really good book, providing small rewards for yourself, whatever they may be for you - spa for some, shopping for others, time with children/pets even for others.  You sound like you have a lot on your plate and caring for a terminally ill loved one can really sap your physical and emotional energy.  When I went through this, exercise was definitely an outlet, as for me, there is nothing like the deep sleep that a good workout can bring on.  You also might consider putting down your devices/unplugging from the internet for a bit, especially right before bed and first thing in the morning.  I actually believe that staring at a screen right before bed or during the night if you suffer from insomnia can impact your sleep patterns.  Finally, yoga, pilates, or some such class where you really can focus completely inward and shut out the outside world and its stressors may be helpful.  Be well, good luck to you, you seem very strong and I'm sure you will get through this.   
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    doeydodoeydo member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited February 2015
    If there is something that you enjoy doing (ie. painting or gardening) make time and do it.  Take the time to relax, such as having a bath or just sitting back and drinking a cup of tea.  Also, pampering yourself might help (such has having your nails done, and not necessarily professionally).
    Personally, I love cuddles with my cats, movies, reading, drawing/designing gowns, and the occasional bath.  I also get in about two hours of walking in on weekdays just walking to and from work, which I guess might help.
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    larrygagalarrygaga member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited February 2015
    If I start to feel like crap it's usually because I haven't seen the sun in awhile. My college used to have a free lamp thing you sit under for malaise, but I can't think of what it's called. I've thought about buying a mini one for my home, but sometimes it's easier and cheaper to wait it out and run outside at the first chance of sun or go to a tanning booth for 7 minutes on the lightest setting you can get if I get really desperate. 

    I'm like a pretty flower, I wilt with no water or sun.

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    It's hard when you're working that much. Try to squeeze in an outdoor walk on your lunch break. If there's work you're taking home, try to do some reading or whatever while on an elliptical or stationary bike. Squeeze in some activity where you can.

    I also think it really helps to have a journal where you can write anything you're feeling. Don't hold back. Write your deepest, darkest thoughts in there and that will really help, especially when you're dealing with something like ill family. 

    Also make time to socialize, even if it's just a quick phone call or coffee with a friend. 

    Self-care really, truly needs to come first. 
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    A nice, hard workout always makes me feel like a million bucks.  Sometimes it's hard to get motivated to do it, but I've never regretted a workout.
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    Hey Wanda, I'm sorry you're going through a tough time. PPs have great suggestions, but I wanted to add one that might be useful when you're working long hours: take a lunch break. Like, a real one, where you don't eat at your desk or check emails or anything. If you can carve out even 30 minutes for this a few times per week, I find it helps. If you have a crazy day and it just isn't possible, then go for a 5-minute "get up and take a lap around the office and refill your water" break. Small little enforced breaks always help me short-circuit stressful thoughts and actually ALLOW me to "just breathe," which all by itself is a task that sometimes I can't stop and achieve on my own. But "now it is lunch time, go eat and focus on that"? That works.
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    This baby knows exactly how I feel
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    T25 is my frienemy. It kicks my ass and only takes 25 minutes. And I can look like a tool in the privacy of my own home. 


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    You're all wonderful. Thanks!

    My weekend didn't quite work out as expected. I got my hair done on Friday as planned and that was pretty wonderful. It was a new salon so it was nice to sit and chat with strangers. DH and I went out for dinner afterwards then settled in for a night of reading- text books for him, contracts for me (work stuff). It wasn't exciting but it was cozy.

    Saturday was nice. I ended up looking in/taking care of my grandmother rather than MIL. We had some good conversations (albeit multiple times) but she made it through the day without any major insults. That was a huge success for me. Better yet, I took the night off from working and got to indulge in a hobby (genealogy research) and watching a movie ("Finding Vivian Maier"- the film was less interesting than the photography).

    I worked most of yesterday. I took breaks to walk Maury and do caregiver stuff but it felt pretty good. I started to make lunches for the week before realizing that I wouldn't get the chance to eat them. I ended up making a great dinner-- marinated flank steak, fried rice, and stir fried broccoli rabe and had my biggest success of the day: both boys ate it! Normally, the kid will decide dinner isn't worth eating if there are veggies. He ate dinner and MIL even ate a bit of rice.

    This week will end up being worse than last but I'm feeling a bit better prepared for it.

    Thanks!

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    I currently am also a care-giver, I'm also learning how to take care of myself, too. I'm my FI's care-giver and I'm learning how to step back and let him handle things again. But one thing that we enjoy doing together and we laugh the entire time, is getting a pedicure together. His feet are very ticklish and his laugh makes me laugh. But at the same time it's relaxing, and now my feet feel great.

     

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