Mindful Self-Care Ideas For Getting Through The Tough Times
On episode 44 of The Mindful Kind podcast, I answered a listener’s question about how to use mindfulness to get through a painful break-up. Mindfulness and self-care go hand-in-hand during difficult times and I wanted to offer an additional resource by sharing all of my favourite self-care practices and how to do them mindfully.
If you've ever wondered how to get through a tough time, such as a break up, losing a loved one, or being made redundant, this is the article for you.
Mindful Self-Care Practices
1: Wrap yourself up in a blanket and drink something warm.
This practice is all about comfort and security. Feel the warmth and the safety of being wrapped up while you enjoy a warm drink. Notice the flavour of your drink (perhaps tea or hot chocolate), the texture, the temperature and the aroma.
2: Take a bath.
Sprinkle aromatic bath salts into the water and check that the temperature of the water is right before you get in (it’s surprising how upsetting the wrong temperature can be when you’re going through a tough time!). As you immerse yourself in the water, feel the softness of it on your skin and take some deep breaths, smelling the scent of the bath salts. You might even like to use a face mask for some additional pampering (my personal favourite is this one from The Body Shop).
3: Turn the music up loud and sing.
You might not feel like doing this exercise, but just trust me and give it a try. Belting out Adele’s “Hello” at the top of my lungs is cathartic for my soul (you probably have your own go-to songs to use in this situation!). You might dissolve into tears during it (or after) and that’s ok! Release all the energy that’s been building up inside you and go take a warm shower to wash it away.
4: Be in nature.
Sit outside (even if you only feel like going as far as the back step) and tune in to nature. Watch the clouds rolling by, feel the sunshine on your skin, listen to the wind moving through the trees, notice the different colours around you and watch out for little creatures on their own journeys.
Pain tends to peak and trough as we move through tough times. Be aware of when the pain is at its peak and remind yourself to breathe- simply take ten deep breaths or do a breathing meditation. You can discover more about breathing exercises on this episode of The Mindful Kind podcast. Hopefully, this simple exercise can reduce the effects of that strong pain and hopefully discourage side-effects, such as stress.
6: Surround yourself with quality support and don’t be afraid to reach out.
Sometimes, we cocoon ourselves inside our pain and avoid reaching out when we most need support. Internalising pain tends to give it more power and feeds other vulnerable feelings, such as insecurity, loneliness and fear. It can be daunting to reach out, it can also be incredibly empowering to remind yourself there are people who love and care for you and will take the time to listen and encourage you through this difficult time. I still remember when I was having a particularly rough day and I reached out to someone in my family to ask if they could just tell me they loved me. I’ll be honest- I was terrified of hitting send on my message, but it was the best thing I could have done. The message I received back was incredibly thoughtful and reminded me of my own self-worth.
7: Read a great book.
Pick up your favourite book and read it for as long as you like. A great one to try when you’re going through a break up is “Break-Ups and Breakthroughs” by Lisa Messenger- it’s filled with practical tips and thoughtful advice.
8: Treat yourself with something special.
A massage, pedicure, facial or trip to the hairdresser can go a very long way in helping you feel cared for. Book yourself in for something special (although, try to avoid anything too drastic, like a completely new hairstyle or expensive shopping trips) and then do your best to be mindful during the activity. Pay attention to all the sensations and how your body reacts in relaxing environments. Whenever you notice your mind wandering, gently bring it back to the present moment, without being judgemental towards it for wandering.
Bonus tip: Don’t want to go out or can’t afford it? Many of these self-care treats you can do yourself, such as self-massage, DIY face masks and painting your own nails.
9: Write a letter to the person (or situation) who caused you pain.
First of all, let me begin this tip by requesting that you do not send this letter. Please. This is a cathartic exercise meant for you.
Write a letter to the person (or situation) which caused you pain and tell them exactly how you feel and why you feel that way. Vent, rant, rave, plead, apologise- take this letter wherever you want it to go. Get everything out of your mind and body and onto the paper. It doesn’t need to be perfect! Barely legible scribble without punctuation or correct grammar is totally fine. It’s likely you’ll want to destroy it later, anyway.
When you’re finished, pour yourself a cup of tea or take a nap. You might feel drained and need some time to recover, so be sure to listen to your body and its needs.
10: Listen to uplifting podcasts
Hearing a comforting voice during difficult times can help you feel less alone and the awesome thing about podcasts is you can generally learn some useful things, too! Here are a few podcasts you can try:
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these mindful self-care practices.
I've created a beautiful guide filled with these self-care practices and a further five ideas (including meaningful journalling prompts). My members will be able to download, print out the guide and save it for a time when they need it (or use it straight away!). To subscribe, simply enter your details below and receive the password to access the Members area for free!