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Creating Calm in Your Life

Are you craving calm? A sense of peace won’t suddenly appear at your door. To find calm in your life, you’re going to have to create it for yourself. Luckily, it’s not hard to do! Start by blocking out a routine time for you. Maybe it’s after the kids go to bed, or on a weekend morning before soccer practice. Make it a time that you will focus on your well-being without distractions.

Use the time to take care of yourself by practicing self-soothe. We’ll help you get started…

Think of self-care time like the emergency instructions on a flight. The flight crew always tells you that in case of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first; then, you can help your child with their mask. You can’t help your child unless you are breathing properly and fit to do so. The same approach applies to daily life. You can’t help others and make daily life enjoyable for everyone unless you’re healthy enough to do so. It’s important to incorporate this philosophy of taking care of yourself first into your daily life before an emergency or crisis arises.

You can take care of yourself by practicing the self-soothe skill. Self-soothe encourages you to care for yourself and improve your mood through your senses. You can comfort yourself, giving yourself the mental health break that you deserve.

Here are some ideas for self-soothing with each of your senses:

Sight – Watch a favorite movie, look through pictures of friends and family, or draw the view out your window in a sketchbook. Go to a coffee shop and people-watch. Admire a beautiful sunset while you enjoy a dinner meal. If it’s not too cold, you could even sit outside and watch the leaves fall!

Sound – Listen to your favorite playlist or sing along to a song you know by heart. Call up a friend or family member who you’ve been meaning to catch up with. Pay attention to the sounds in nature, like birds chirping or the wind rustling leftover leaves. The goal is to be attentive to any sounds and focus on just those sounds. Tune out your worries and tune into the sounds around you.

Taste – Treat yourself to a delicious beverage, like a nice cup of tea or a hot cup of cocoa. Enjoy a bite of chocolate and savor the flavor. Bake some brownies, chocolate chip cookies, or gingerbread men—whatever you’re in the mood for. No matter what you’d like to taste, remember to eat mindfully and don’t overdo it!

Touch – Snuggle up with a family pet (if they let you!), or get cozy under a soft, warm blanket on a chilly day. Take a hot shower or indulge in a warm bath with essential oils. Ask for a hug from someone you care about.

Smell – Bake cookies and enjoy the fresh chocolate scent that fills your kitchen. Or, light a scented candle. Some calming scents include lavender, chamomile, and peppermint. You could also boil spices of cinnamon, try aromatherapy, or make use of some nice-smelling scented lotion.

Movement – Relieve tension through morning stretches or an evening walk. Stretching and movement loosen your muscles; when you relax your body, you relax your mind too! You could also do yoga, either at home on your own or with a class of yogis. Another idea is to put on your favorite song and dance like nobody’s watching.

Even during the busiest weeks, it’s important to make moments for self-care. Prioritize your well-being by practicing self-soothe regularly. It’s easy to do, whether you have an extra hour or an extra five minutes for it. Doing so will help you feel better and create calm. It’s important to comfort and nurture yourself, so that you can then help others with their busy lives too.

Writer: CINDY ENDREDY, LCSW - MindSoother Therapy Center.

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