Listen: you need to take care of yourself today. Times are rough, the news is terrifying, and both you and your neighbor are feeling uncertain and unsafe. It is easy to retreat into ourselves—in fact, this “flight” reaction is a totally normal response to a threat—but we must find some way to get through the day while preserving what is left of our mental wellbeing.
The steps you take for self-care now might look very different than any other day or time. We have to adjust our expectations for ourselves when facing serious stressors, or we will end up driving ourselves up the wall for not doing “enough.” Now is the time to keep it simple and focus on the basic ways you can treat yourself well.
1. Move your body. Being sedentary carries risks we already know and try to avoid. When we are pummeled by blow after blow, day after day, it can be quite paralyzing. This can make us more sedentary than we usually would care to be. Today, move your body. Take a walk, hit the gym, find a free yoga video online, or do some stretching or sit-ups on your living room floor. This will get the lymph moving, energize our cardiovascular system and keep our physical selves healthy.
2. Reach out to someone you love. More than ever, we need to know that there are people out there who have compassion. This goes for your family and friends, too. Pick up the phone and give them a call to let them know you are thinking about them. Offer a listening ear to anyone who might feel especially threatened by the recent whirlwind of political maneuvers so they know they are not alone.
3. Plan a delicious meal. Something as mundane as eating can become a chore when dealing with multiple stressors. Today, open up a cookbook and find something that looks delicious—and then make it. Or, order up your favorite take-out. If you are a creative type, take a glance in your pantry and figure out what masterpiece you can make for yourself for dinner tonight. Right now, focus on nourishment instead of being perfectly healthy.
4. Trade in your screen for your earbuds. It is so important to limit screen time right now. Like, Top One Priority important. You could lock your phone away for a few hours or, instead, plug in your earbuds and turn on some soothing music or a distracting podcast. Give your eyes a rest, kick back and let your ears be entertained.
5. Cuddle your companion animal. Even though our furry friends have no idea what’s going on in the world, they can still tell when we’re stressed. Accept their warm gestures of cuddling and nuzzling and return the favor. Focus on giving them a fun afternoon of playtime or other pampering and you will likely feel more at peace.
6. Go to the library. When’s the last time you went to the library? One goal of mine is to do more reading of fiction to balance out the scariness of our reality. Ask some friends or the library staff for recommendations on great reads and replace your web-browsing with page-turning.
7. Find something to make you laugh. If you can only remember the last time you laughed as more of a “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry” laugh… it’s time for some genuine giggles. Pull up a video of your favorite comedian, watch some hilarious cat compilations, or pull together a group of friends to reminisce about that ridiculous road trip two summers ago.
8. Organize your space. Just like getting a haircut when we need to reinvent ourselves, we can do the same with our space. Change around your furniture, paint a wall or assemble that garage shelving that’s been sitting around forever. An uncluttered space facilitates an uncluttered mind.
9. Create something. Right-brained folks may feel pretty uncertain about how to go on creating things during a time when so many concrete, real problems are multiplying in the world. Do not lose that part of yourself or purposefully set it aside if it is something that helps you cope. Keep creating. Pour your energy into something you know will mean something.
10. Breathe. Yeah, yeah, we breathe all day long, right? But not always mindfully. When feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to focus on your breath. Before you go to bed, tuck away your screens for an hour and do something relaxing. Right before you hit the hay, do some breathing exercises to help you slumber.
This article originally appeared on Care2.com.