Take Action for Self-Care #6: Being Gentle with Ourselves
This message is repeated in Spanish below.
Being gentle with oneself by setting boundaries and limits that support our mental health may be the most important self-care of all, especially with the fatigue and exhaustion we are all experiencing from the seemingly never-ending pandemic. As author Brianna Wiest says: “Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure. True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.”
Most of us experience any number of emotions from day to day. Experiencing negative emotions, especially when under stress, is part of the human experience; however, if left unprocessed or unacknowledged, they can cause harm physically and emotionally.
Research has found that breathing practices are effective at reducing stress, balancing our energy and emotions, and helping us process some of the more challenging feelings that can arise. Starting with small actions can be a good way to begin incorporating breathing into our self-care routine.
For example, try out one of the breathing exercises below or mindful breathing, which has been known to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Belly Breathing: When you breathe, your belly should expand, involving your diaphragm, a large muscle in your abdomen. This type of breathing is known as diaphragmatic, or belly breathing and can lower stress levels, reduce blood pressure, lower our heart rate, and help us relax. Download, share and watch the 30-second Belly Breathing Animation, which can be found here: https://www.suicideispreventable.org/social-media.php
4-7-8 Breathing Technique
Otherwise known as “relaxing breath”, 4-7-8 breathing, is a simple breathing exercise that can be done anywhere, anytime to aid in stress reduction, grounding, and even sleep. Inhale for a count of 7, hold for a county of 4, and then exhale for a count of 8! Download and share the 4-7-8 Breathing Card and Social Media post which can be found here.
For 24/7 emotional support for you or your loved one, reach out to these resources:
- Star Vista Crisis Hotline – 650-579-0350
- Crisis Text Line – Text “Bay” to 741741
- Peer-Run Warm Line – 1-855-845-7415
- Find additional resources at Behavioral Health and Recovery Services
- To learn more about the Take Action for Mental Health campaign visit: www.takeaction4mh.com