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Twenty-Five Ideas for Self Care of Stress & Anxiety

I am just home from a morning stroll which was intended to last half an hour, but became two. I wandered to the lake and watched swans and rowers glide on the gently sunlit water. I visited a garden and browsed some quaint little shops. Once or twice I worried about the time I was "wasting" but then let that go. It felt luxurious to amble through the morning in this way, surrendering to peace and beauty. 

charles courtney curran

The Lecture
skip this if you like and go straight down to the ideas

I am doubtful that stress and anxiety can be fully treated by fixing one's thought processes alone. I believe self-care and self-comfort are key. Creating a safe internal environment (ie, a habit) of loving ourselves and tending to ourselves is so important. Obviously having non-self-harming thoughts is part of this, but the process must begin with the fundamentals. You can't reformulate faulty thinking if your body is a jittery mess, your instincts tending towards negativity, your systems in panic mode, your community unsafe, and your environment not embracing your essential needs. Often, when you have tended to all of these things, so that you develop inner and outer supports, your faulty thoughts will naturally slide into better sense. 

alexander averin

Twenty-Five Ideas
to soothe and comfort your stressed body & spirit

Massage gently scented lotion into your hands and wrists
Go for a stroll amongst trees or flowers, or if that's not available, amongst quiet streets
Smell the pages of a favourite old book
Have a warm soothing drink to help you slow your breathing
Wrap yourself tightly in a soft blanket
Hold a cushion or hot water bottle against your middle
Hug someone
Rest your thoughts by watching a funny movie or playing a computer game
Hold your wrists under cool, gently running water
Browse your favourite pinterest boards, soaking in the beauty
Swim in warm water
Let the wind drift against your uplifted face
Sit in the rejuvenating warmth of sunshine
Brush your hair
Bake something delicious which you can eat for afternoon tea
Twist a tea towel, bash a cushion, link your fingers tight, expel your breath forcefully
Talk to a friend either about your troubles or something happy
Have a warm shower then dry yourself with a comfy towel
Rub your upper arms or brush them with a soft hairbrush
Do some knitting with needles or fingers
Draw lovely designs on your hands or feet
Drum your feelings
Visit your favourite place, be it the seaside or woods or a bookstore
Put on cosy thick socks and your softest clothes
Sing lullabies to yourself

Please feel welcome to add your own ideas in the comments section


  1. ...family, community, societies...

    When these things break down we suffer.

    All of these ideas are a salve. A welcoming, comforting cover for the wound. But we need healing.

    I used to have a painting like these. It was a poster, really. In a plastic frame. In my college apartment when my furniture was used and the dishes didn't match. It was of a woman in a flowing white gown, holding a fancy umbrella for sunshine not rain...what are those called? Behind her the sky was blue. Her delicate hand shielded her eyes as she squinted toward the horizon. What was she looking for?

  2. so many good ideas here!

    i find a hot water bottle immensely comforting, so i second that idea. and i taught my daughter to rinse her hands in cool water, although it was more to break off frustration rather than for calming anxiety type stress. and i do love my pinterest boards and tumblr stream for pleasant distraction.

    things that work for me include:
    hot bath
    making a pot of excellent tea, or even a mini tea ceremony for one with matcha using some of my best tea things.
    petting the cat
    being in nature
    having a very good glass of wine
    bach "rescue remedy "
    lying down in a dim room listening to classical indian ragas

    1. these are wonderful suggestions, thank you for sharing them!

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