Self-soothing checklists –
A list of soothing activities to cycle through in times of stress to shift our moods, encourage the natural flow of emotions and raise energy levels.
When panic sets in, we feel our good mood slipping away, or we’re just plain tired out, we lose our our ability to think clearly. What once was obvious, no longer comes to mind.
Forgetting even the simplest of self-care strategies, we can find ourselves blown about on the stormy seas of our emotions.
In danger of getting dragged under into a whirlpool of negative thinking, we need a lifeline.
We need a self-soothing checklist 🙂
A recent article in Psychology Today reveals…
You’re really only supposed to feel stressed in the five minutes right before you die.
They go on to explain…
That stress response is supposed to be short-lived because it wears down your body, your health, and your energy.
While we might benefit from a quick burst of stress, spurring on our survival instincts, enabling our capacity to fight off deadly enemies or flee from danger and disaster, our bodies aren’t designed to cope with long term stress and persistent worry.
Once other animals have escaped the deadly cause of their stress, they quickly return to ‘rest-and-digest’ mode, and that’s what a self-soothing checklist can do for us.
Self-soothing checklists offer a way to take charge of our moods and be kinder to ourselves. Breaking vicious cycles of doubt, despair and doom laden thinking and helping us avoid the perilous pits of temptation. You know the ones, binge-drinking, retail-splurging and comfort-over-eating, the ones we tend to regret soon after.
Self-soothing checklists can protect us from stress, helping us quickly regain a sense of calm and restore the balance of hormones in our bodies. By working through our self-soothing checklist, we can trigger our relaxation response, freeing up physical and emotional energy for better decision-making or just to get on with doing what needs to be done, dinner won’t make itself my friend 🙂
Self-soothing checklists : What to include
Our self-soothing checklists will all look a little different. But they’ll work best if we choose activities that are –
- quick and easy to do,
- can be done pretty much anywhere,
- require little or no prep or props,
- and most important of all, they actually make us feel better.
This isn’t about numbing our senses or avoiding the issue, but about lifting our mood and our energy levels so we can effectively deal with the demands of our life.
Some ideas to get you started writing your own self-soothing checklist –
- getting some fresh air and light, open up a window or step out in the sun if you can
- stretching, I’m loving the dancer and warrior yoga poses right now.
- power poses, check out this ted talk to learn more and channel your inner Wonder Woman 🙂
- do the washing up, a five minute room rescue or a quick hoover, amazing how these simple acts can leave us feeling infinitely more capable of tackling the rest of life. More on that here, here and here
- grab a healthy snack
- chant mantras, recite positive affirmations or inspirational quotes
- light a scented candle, burn essential oils or incense. Lavendar and lemon are my go-tos
- smile, if you haven’t done this naturally by now, then get intentional, just as our emotions impact how we physically show up in the world so the reverse is also true, smiling reassures our body and mind that we’re okay
- a quick freshen up, clean your teeth or throw some cold water on your face
- indulge in a quick fix of an uplifting podcast, video or blog or read a few pages of your favourite book
- reach out to someone else, send a quick text to a friend, smile at a stranger on your walk or if you’re at home with the family, get back in the action 🙂
Get prepping now and your future self will thank you
Think of it as the gift that keeps on giving. A self soothing checklist allows us to take back control and move through our emotions rather than being held hostage at the mercy of our minds. And let’s face it, amazing as they are, they can’t always be trusted, more on that coming soon…
A quick recap…
1. Design your own self-soothing checklist.
2. Make it quick and easy to work through, full of simple activities that provide an instant boost.
2. Keep it handy, on your phone, in your bedside drawer, somewhere you can refer to it so often it becomes a regular practice.
The challenge for most of us isn’t remembering what’s on our list, it’s remembering we have a list at all 🙂
And now you know why I’ve written this post 🙂 But, of course I hope that this will also help you, a comforting reminder that even in the toughest times, there are ways we can feel a little bit better.
My interest in the idea of self-soothing checklists began many years ago. While working as a social worker I was introduced to the HALT acronym, explained nicely in relation to proactive parenting in this blog post here. And the idea grew after watching this video by muchelleb – Questions to ask yourself when you feel awful.
Do you have a self-soothing checklist? Or have you been inspired to make one? I hope so 🙂
And if you’re looking for more posts on dealing with difficult times, you might like these…
The trouble with worrying (and what to do instead)
Soothing quotes for scary times
Feel like a rubbish parent : 9 things to remember when you doubt your parenting
What to do when you feel like a rubbish parent
Thanks for reading x