Over the last two decades, I’ve learned to pay attention to signs from my body and my life that I need attention and/or that I need to ask for or seek additional help and support from safe sources. This attitude is a dramatic shift for me because for the 28 years before, emotionally shutting down was my coping strategy. Avoiding feeling my feelings and being myself severely impacted my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.

Here are some of the things I do now when my body and life call attention to my needs:

  • Talk me through a set of ‘bad’ feelings so that I can calm down. I’m a friend to myself instead of a judge, jury, prosecutor, and jailer.
  • I note if I’m acting out and feeling cray and check in with myself. Have I eaten today? Am I getting enough sleep? Have I over-extended myself? Who or what am I pissed off about, and what do I need to confront
  • I reassess my boundaries and identify what I need to say no to when I become very forgetful, which is a sign I’m overloaded. 
  • When I’m angry, I let myself feel it and ask, What do I need to do next? Where am I judging unfairly?
  • A damn good cry is a release for me.
  • I take care of my body, especially when stressed, through yoga, acupuncture, etc.
  • I say, “I am safe. I am secure. All is well”, when anxious.
  • When afraid, I keep checking in with my surroundings so that I can differentiate between past and present.
  • Sometimes, I hug myself.
  • If my body screams tiredness, I nap or have an early night. In fact, I’ve become very much about early nights (my nana bedtimes) in this phase of my forties. 
  • I watch something funny (or read) when I’m upset. Not only do I end up belly laughing, but I become more open to letting in compassion. Sometimes, I watch something I know will make me cry if I think it will help me get my emotions out. 
  • I go for walks and say affirmations (or say them in the mirror).
  • I talk about my deepest fears, upsets, and dreams to trusted folks. 

These are just some examples, and everyone’s self-soothing list looks different. What can you do for you? 

For help with learning how to healthily self-soothe, check out my short audio course, The Self-Soothing Sessions.

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