We all have tough times, so it is extremely important to learn how to comfort yourself through them. Here are ideas to help you relax!
How To Comfort Yourself
We all have hard times. They are a part of life and we all experience them. Whether your tough times last a day, weeks, or months, there are ways to comfort yourself so that you can find a little peace of mind.
This doesn’t mean that any one thing is going to miraculously fix your emotional pain or countless hours of worry, but there are ways to soothe yourself that will help you take care of your mental health.
Through these self-soothing techniques, hopefully, you can help to take yourself out of the present moment and gain some new ways to give yourself a break.
1. Binge-Watch Your Favorite Shows Or Movies
When you are having a bad day, spending some time with your television friends can be a good place to hide.
Whether The Big Bang Theory, The Office, Harry Potter, or Black Panther has your people, spend a little time in your comfort zone of episodes or movies that you love without the judgement and pressures of real human beings.
This can feel like a little thing in the face of a stressful situation, but your favorite tv show or movie is your favorite because it affects you. Escapism is a real thing, so spend a period of time just being with yourself and your imaginary friends.
2. Take A Long Walk
Get yourself out of the house and spend a little while with nature. Whether you have the opportunity to walk on a sandy beach, hike up a hill, or just mosey around the block, let the outdoors help to mute some of the background noise in your mind.
Listen to the sounds that you hear – squirrels, birds, airplanes. Take some deep breaths and smell the scents outside. Touch the trees and plants as you pass them. Focus your full attention outward. All of these things will help decrease your anxiety level and have therapeutic effects on your mood.
When you are having a difficult time, the easiest thing that you can do is try to remove yourself from your environment and focus on having your own experiences in the fresh air – even for a very short time.
3. Play Music, Dance, And Sing
Your favorite things are your favorites for a reason. You have a connection to them because they induce a positive reaction from you. Particularly when managing emotional pain, music and movement are simple ways to help yourself.
Play your favorite song and jam out. Dance around the living room like no one is watching and sing at the top of your lungs. When it’s over, continue with a new playlist or replay that song. Connecting with music is a great way to release emotional energy from your body.
4. Get Dressed Up
One of the last things we want to do during a tough time is get out of our pajamas, but it can be an excellent first step towards feeling like a human being again.
Whether this means putting on your favorite jeans and T-shirt or your favorite suit or cocktail dress, get yourself dressed. Just the act of showering, changing, putting on deodorant, and feeling different in different clothing will have some restorative effects.
5. Eat Some Junk Food
Treating yourself to your favorite snacks is sometimes warranted. When we’ve been through a bad breakup or other kinds of situations that hit us in the gut, most of us find a sense of comfort in satisfying our basic needs.
Your favorite food can go a long way towards soothing yourself. Whether you’re actually experiencing physical hunger or you just want to find a crutch to help you into a better place, giving in to temptation isn’t a terrible thing.
This doesn’t mean eat all the junk food around – because you don’t want to get into the habit of emotional eating – but if ice cream or some chips are calling to you at a specific moment, let yourself have some.
6. Create A Mood
Change your environment and change your mood. Make a few constructive choices to temporarily alter the vibe in your home.
Create your own experience. Light some candles or lower the house lighting. Use some essential oils or incense to change the fragrance. Cozy up in a soft blanket. Do the little things to help drive the uncomfortable feelings away.
Different people respond differently to sounds, scents, and textures, but changing one or all of them can be a powerful technique for fighting off a stressful day.
7. Read A Good Book
Relax with a good book and allow your mind to escape from your personal experiences to theirs. We all face challenges and sometimes reading about someone else’s can help impact your own thought process.
Books allow us to transport ourselves into an entirely different time and place and see the world through someone else’s eyes.
The mental imagery through this magic portal is often enough to calm your senses. And if the book you’re reading doesn’t do that, try another book. If you have a few favorite books, opt for one of those first.
8. Bake A Cake
It might take a long time to make and 15 minutes to eat, but it’ll be worth it. The best way to comfort yourself is often distraction, so put all of your energy into making yourself a treat.
Share it or don’t share it, but if you turn on some music and spend some quality time baking, you’ll be pleased with yourself and the results in the end.
9. Take A Hot Shower Or Bath
Turn on a hot shower or run a bubble bath and let yourself soak. Read a magazine, listen to music or an audiobook, or enjoy the silence. Allow any negative emotions to wash away with the suds and the heat.
One of the best ways to calm fight or flight responses is to put yourself in a position that will lower your heart rate and increase your sense of peace. Surrounding yourself with hot, steamy water can do great things for both your body and mind.
10. Do Some Coloring
When we think of coloring we often think of three-year-olds using their crayons. But the good things that coloring did for us as young people can turn into a self-soothing exercise that will still work today.
There are some beautiful adult coloring books for various interests and themes. Pick up some colorful gel pens and get to work. As calming as it was when you were a child, spending a little bit of time with colors and pictures can be extremely therapeutic.
11. Pamper Yourself
Get yourself a pedicure at the local nail salon or do your own nails. Pick up some face masks at Walgreens and soak your feet in a warm bath. Take care of yourself in ways that you may not very often.
Particularly for those of us who spend a lot of time comforting others, it is always a good idea to find your own way of taking care of yourself as well. It can make a huge difference in filling your emotional tank.
12. Take A Drive
Get out of the house and drive around. You don’t have to have a destination, just drive. One of the best things you can do for yourself when you are struggling is to change your environment.
Drive by the house you grew up in or a place in town that holds a special memory. Get on the expressway and get off at an exit you rarely visit. Look at the houses, the trees, or anything else that catches your fancy. Allow yourself some freedom and just drive.
13. Buy Or Make Your Favorite Drink
Some of us find as much comfort in our favorite drinks as we do in our favorite comfort food, so have it!
Whether you need a Tall Latte from Starbucks, hot chocolate from Dunkin’, or your favorite chai from your own kitchen, get it. Sipping a beverage can help you feel relaxed and satiate that need for relief in the pit of your stomach.
14. Play With A Pet
Your pet loves you unconditionally, so spend some time with them and feel the love. If you don’t have a pet, ask a friend or neighbor if you can play with theirs.
Tell them exactly why and they’re sure to oblige. Don’t have a pet available? Volunteer at a local dog shelter (most need help walking their many dogs) and spend a little time with a furry friend.
Pets can be much better listeners than humans, so when you need a good comforter because you’re having a hard time, give some love to a four-legged friend and they’ll be sure to love you up right back.
15. Get Some Exercise
When we’re having a tough time, we rarely pay attention to our physical health – but it can help us achieve an emotional release.
Pushing your body through cardio (whether it be running, walking, biking, or swimming) can produce some powerful physical responses that will help lower stress, anxiety, and depression. It may be just the outlet you need for calm and relaxation afterward.
16. Make Your Favorite Dinner
While you may be used to catering to everyone else, it’s time to think about yourself. Make a nice dinner that you will enjoy and let the rest of the family come along for the ride.
Next time can be someone else’s turn, but this dinner is about what you like the most. In the long run, this won’t make a big difference to everyone else eating, but in the short run, it could be a big deal for you.
17. Do Some Journaling
One great way to comfort yourself is to put it down in a journal. Whether you are writing out all of your uncomfortable emotions or turning the tables and creating a gratitude list, journaling is one of the most powerful tools available for mental health.
Getting your thoughts and feelings outside of your body and onto the page is an excellent coping tool because the emotions aren’t allowed to just fester inside.
As a bonus, you may find yourself writing about triggers and concerns you didn’t even know you had. We can’t change what we aren’t aware of, so those moments are a huge gift.
18. Reach Out And Touch Someone
For some people, physical affection is not only a helpful tool but a necessary tool for feeling better. Spend some time with a family member or close friend you feel comfortable having physical contact with.
Ask for a big hug, hold hands, or just spend a little time together and chat. Be emotional support for each other. Expect yourself to be a good listener with good intentions and you can hope for the same from your loved one.
You can also reach out to your extended friendship circle on social media or by phone call if being together in person isn’t an option – but do reach out.
19. Order Your Favorite Takeout
Sometimes having someone else do all the work is a huge comfort to us. Don’t feel like cooking dinner? Order a pizza, Chinese, or whatever you have a hankering for. Take cooking off the table and let someone else do the heavy lifting today.
Not all professional help has to come from a clinical psychologist. Sometimes it can come from the restaurant on the corner!
20. Play Board Games With Friends Or Family
Spend some time laughing with the people you love. Take out a board game that you enjoy and decide that for right now you are going to focus wholly on the game and the people you are playing with.
It may not be quite as easy as that, but if you make the decision beforehand, you’ll be more willing to engage and allow the distraction during game night. Laughter is the best medicine, so take advantage of it.
21. Have A Good Cry
At the end of the day, sometimes you just need to have a good cry. All aspects of life can be overwhelming at one time or another and allowing yourself to cry is cathartic for your mind and body.
If you don’t feel like crying, see if you can prompt yourself by watching a movie or listening to music that gets you choked up. Do this in a safe space without any children around so that you can focus wholly on yourself and your emotions.
There is no one answer to solve every problem, but finding what works to comfort you is the key. We all need a little soothing sometimes, so remember that it is not selfish, it is self care.