Ways to Practice Emotional Self-Care

Ways to Practice Emotional Self-Care

As we continue to navigate life while coping with the challenges and changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, the Behavioral Health Team would like to provide some support and education on how to engage in emotional self-care.  Identifying our feelings can be tough for those of us who have a habit of stuffing down our emotions. We might be afraid that if we open the door, we’ll find a raging river and wild waves that’ll swallow us whole. But acknowledging our emotions (and what triggers them) isn’t inherently a turbulent process. It’s just how many of us have viewed the process for a long time. Exploring our emotions is valuable and can be incredibly eye-opening. It can be a positive process because it helps us better understand ourselves. Our feelings are a window into our needs and our boundaries. Our feelings provide a path to connect with others, to empathize. Our feelings make us human.

Step 1: Name Your Emotions

Often we think of the easy ones, such as anger, happiness, sadness, fear, but as we become adults, our emotions become more nuanced. Learn to identify less commonly named ones, including shock, shame, anxiety, disgust, boredom, amusement, desperation, doubt, etc. Use a thesaurus or search for a mood chart online to give you new ideas.

Daylio: This is an excellent tool for people who would rather visually select how they feel than try to find the words to describe it. You can also match your mood to your activities, and add in any additional notes that feel relevant.

MoodKit: This mood tracking app is intuitive and easy to use. It follows a well-researched therapy model for people struggling with anxiety, stress, and depression, making it a convenient tool for improving their mental health.

MoodTrack Diary: This app is designed for users to be able to keep track of their moods. It is intended to help people feel empowered with the ability to manage their moods by making better decisions that may impact how they are feeling.

Step 2: Know Your Emotional Triggers

An emotional trigger is any topic that makes us feel uncomfortable. These emotional triggers are telling us which aspects of our life we might feel frustrated or unsatisfied with. As mentioned above, it can vary in each person because we are all struggling with something different. It may look different for each person, but a series of questions can help you discover what your emotional triggers are:

A close friend or relative shares some exciting news about themselves. You’re happy for them but can’t help feeling envious.
What’s the news about? Is it a job promotion? A new car? Is she getting married? Does he have a new relationship? Are they expecting a child? 

Have you noticed there’s someone you follow on social media to whom you always compare yourself?
What’s the thing that bothers you the most about their posts? How do you handle it?

Have you noticed there is a topic of conversation that triggers you when hanging out with friends and/or family?
“Yes, when they talk about _________.”

When we can identify what bothers us, we can take action to protect our mental health. Even though we can’t avoid all of the situations that may emotionally trigger us, we can take actionable steps to take care of ourselves and develop a strong inner voice to help navigate these uncomfortable situations.

All News