Where do emotions come from? Many of our emotions have to do with things that have happened in the past; situations, experiences, memories, or anticipating the future. Emotions also arise from how well we are regulating our body budget; an accounting of our bodies’ energy needs and what our brain predicts this means for our future. This is a cornerstone of the mind/body connection.
All emotions count, so it’s important to acknowledge the full range of your emotions.
We each experience emotions differently. How you create your emotional self-care plan will differ based on how you do or do not acknowledge your emotions. Gently turning toward your emotions, letting them surface, feeling and acknowledging them and then letting them go is the healthiest thing you can do for emotional care, and it’s not always easy. Those emotions you do not acknowledge show up in unexpected ways that may surprise you.
Since you are the one in charge of your emotional self; emotional self-care will depend on the practices and strategies you engage in. These should support and honor your emotions, connect you to your experience, and allow you to make meaning. Use this mindful checklist to create your personal emotional self-care plan to support emotional wellbeing.
Take inventory. What drains you? Look in this order; people, home tasks, work tasks, community. Teasing apart obligations from those that are based in self-imposed shoulds can bring clarity to how you spend your time and with who
Consider people; do they bring life to your life or do they bring you down with negativity and criticism? Are they doom and gloom and gossipy or do they have a positive outlook and generous spirit? Stress and emotional reactivity are contagious and it’s easy to get swept away with negative emotional energy. Your time is limited, choose wisely the people you spend time with.
Homes tasks; look carefully at what really needs to be done and what would be nice to get done. The house doesn’t have to be spotless all the time, just because you can fix the plumbing doesn’t mean you have to. Let things be easier at home, it’s better to spend quality time with your family playing a game, communicating face to face or watching a movie together than holding yourself to a too high standard
Work tasks; this is a bit trickier, but still doable. What is absolutely necessary and what can you say no to? Learning to set boundaries is an essential skill of time management and emotional self-care. If this is an area of difficulty for you, reach out for help with a life coach or mental health provider, your physical and emotional health will thank you.
Community; it feels good to share your gifts and skills in the community, but not if it comes at the expense of your emotional health and wellbeing. Use discernment regarding what you want to contribute versus time available. Just because you’ve done something in the past, does not mean you need to keep doing it now.
Be honest as you self-reflect, what really drains you?
What brings you energy? Again, look in this order people, home, work, and community. Identifying what brings energy and making room for those people and activities gives a positive boost to emotional self-care. Emotions are transmittable, both positive and negative so it’s time well spent to reflect on who, what and where brings energy to your life.
Take time to pause. This doesn’t have to be a big deal, it can be as simple as stopping and taking a few conscious breaths, opening awareness to body sensations first, then to what’s around you and in that moment acknowledge that you are okay right here, right now. Learning mindfulness meditation helps you become aware of the gap you can step into and honestly see what is happening.
Manage sleep. Often overlooked, but of vital importance, sleep is needed for restoring the body systems to homeostasis. This in turn gives you resources for acknowledging all emotions and responding rather than reacting to them.
These are just a few ideas for emotional self-care, and a good start. To learn more about specific emotions and corresponding mindful checklists continue reading past blogs posts and gain further insight into ways to care for yourself and your emotions with self-compassion and honest self-reflection.
“There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by my self.”
– Brian Andreas