Sometimes things are shit.
And we all have negative emotions – it’s part of being human. But what do you do when those negative emotions start to take over? When they start affecting your work, relationships, and day-to-day life? That’s where prioritising self-care comes in.
Self-care is all about taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally. And when it comes to dealing with negative emotions, self-care is essential. Self-care is an important part of maintaining good physical and mental health, it can reduce stress, improve concentration, boost self-esteem, and help prevent illness.
I know how difficult it can be to process negative emotions, let alone consider getting up and doing something when you may be struggling, but here are some tips on dealing with negative emotions through self-care.
Acknowledge your feelings and take time to process them
Life can hit us with difficult situations, and it is normal to experience various emotions in response. Rather than sweeping our feelings under the rug and pretending they don’t exist, it often helps to take the time to acknowledge them. Whether through conversations with friends or family members, written reflection in a journal, or deeper introspection.
Allowing ourselves to process how we’re feeling in a safe environment can make all the difference for our mental wellness. It’s okay to take breaks from heavy thoughts and spend some time watching feel-good films or doing activities that bring us joy.
Plus, incorporating coping mechanisms into our daily routines will bring a different perspective when dealing with strong emotions.
Find an activity that soothes you
Taking time to find an activity that soothes you can be invaluable in helping you to de-stress and reset. Whether it’s listening to your favourite music, going for a peaceful walk in nature, or escaping into the pages of a great book – finding the right activity can be like taking a mini holiday from how you’re feeling.
Taking this short break can help you to renew your energy by grounding yourself and staying rooted in the present moment. Doing this also helps clear away unnecessary stress and worry, allowing more positivity to come through. So, take some time today to find one activity that works best for you – it will make all the difference!
Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling
Feeling overwhelmed and lonely can be incredibly difficult, especially when it feels like there’s no one to talk to. If you’re in this situation, remember that it might be helpful to talk to someone you trust about how you feel.
People close to us often understand our feelings more than we realise and communicating our worries and stress out loud can help relieve heavy emotions. Though difficulties may not necessarily disappear after speaking out loud about them and getting things off your chest, talking with someone can clarify the situation and help identify potential solutions. Finding a supportive person or group who will listen with an open mind and not judge or criticise your emotions or experiences is essential.
Write down your thoughts in a journal
Writing down your thoughts in a journal can be beneficial for managing your emotions. Reflection is a helpful tool for creating more self-awareness and tracking your emotions can help you recognise patterns or triggers for different negative feelings. Writing out your thoughts and feelings can encourage an increased understanding of yourself and can be used to approach problems from a different perspective. When practised regularly, journaling can help you get in touch with yourself on a deeper level to better cope with everyday life.
Practise some self-compassion
We all have days when it feels like life is giving us an extra helping of challenges. On those days, it’s essential to practice some self-compassion. Remind yourself that nobody is perfect and cut yourself some slack for not reaching your expectations.
Taking a kinder approach to ourselves can make challenging times feel a little bit easier. Take a step back from the pressure and remind yourself that bad days are normal and are often necessary to appreciate the good ones! Everyone deserves some compassion, especially when things don’t go as planned – so take the time to give this same compassion to yourself.
What does self-care look like?
Self-care is essentially ensuring that you’re taking care of yourself, physically and psychologically. It’s everything from the foundations, for example, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and moving your body regularly. As well as making time to do things you enjoy, things that help you to recharge and reset.
If you’re struggling to cope with negative emotions, know you’re not alone. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, sad, or angry at times. Most importantly, take the time to care for yourself emotionally and physically.
You do not have to go through heavy or negative emotions alone. And if you’re struggling, please reach out and speak to someone, whether a friend or family member, the Samaritans helpline 116 123 (which is available 24/7), or your GP. Alternatively, you can self-refer through iapt for talking therapy.
To help you with self-care, I’ve created A Year of Self-Care: Your Ultimate Guide & Journal to help you get started. It provides you with everything you need to learn more about self-care and then 52 weeks of self-care prompts, reflective questions and journal prompts so that you can implement your learning and space to track your progress and reflect on your journey!