When it comes to self care, I would normally tell you to trust whatever feels good in the moment. Because when we listen, our body usually tells us what it needs. However, many of us have lost this connection with our body, so it is not always that simple. You probably came here for some guidance and I am more than willing to help you tap into several ways of self care and to help you understand the importance of these practices.

Why is self care so important?

I think the biggest cause of why we don’t take time for ourselves is because we are afraid of what might come up in the moments of silence. It has a lot to do with our emotions and allowing them to be there and to be seen. I think many people are struggling with this and therefore they are also struggling with the basics of self care.

If you are someone that keeps going on and on, whether it is with overworking or perhaps with putting others needs in front of yours, you are probably bypassing your own emotions. Emotions that are being pushed away get stored/trapped in the body. They basically fester there and this can lead to burnout, inflammation and eventually disease or chronic health problems. That is why it is so important to make time for our emotions to be felt in order to be released.

Numbing practices

I need you to understand the difference between “self care” where you are numbing your emotions versus “self care” where you are finally letting your emotions flow freely. Because as you can already guess, we are striving for the latter. So if you thought I would mention Netflix on my self-care list, I am not. I can understand that after a busy day you just want to take your mind of things, but if you have been doing that by spending a lot of time on your phone or watching Netflix, listen up. 

Most likely you would consider this as some much needed “me-time” or “self-care”. However, it has nothing to do with releasing emotions. So in my opinion, instead of calling this self care, it can be better described as a coping mechanism. It allows you to cope with the stress of your day to day life, but it is avoidant of feeling your emotions. Everybody has different coping mechanisms, even overworking is a common coping mechanism. It is only when we realise this and become aware of our own coping mechanism, we can choose to change it. Because coping mechanisms aren’t necessarily bad, but they can result in avoiding/trapping our emotions in the long run. 

Self Care practices

If I speak about releasing emotions, it’s about the emotions that we would normally call “negative” emotions, like anger, sadness, fear etc. But I also love to do these practices just to raise my vibration, they make me happier and “high on life”. This is my list of self care practices that are focussed on allowing me to get in touch with my emotions. You don’t have to resonate with them all. If there is only one that speaks to you I would suggest to implement this practice at least once a week and notice the difference in you overall mood & wellbeing!

1. Dancing
Yes, dancing is definitely my number one. It is proven dancing stimulates emotional release among many other benefits like reducing levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and releasing endorphins (happy hormones). Just put on a song, don’t think too much about it and dance like no one is watching!

2. Listening to Music
This one is related to dancing for me but can also be an alternative if you are not into dancing. So (if I am not dancing), I make sure I am doing nothing else than listening to the music and choose a song for the mood I am in. Doesn’t matter if I feel happy, sad or angry, there is usually a Spotify playlist out there with that title. I allow every emotion that arises, if I suddenly feel like crying or punching a pillow, I do it.

3. Painting/Colouring
This is my way of getting creative, but you can have a different form of creativity. I advise you to explore it and enjoy showing your emotions through your art. Different colours represent different emotions for me and when I pour them into my painting or drawing, I am visualising and releasing them.

4. Immersing yourself in Nature
When I am in nature I imagine my emotions being released as if they are taken with the wind or the waves (if I am on the beach). This can be the other way around as well. When I think about what I would need in that moment, maybe it’s courage, love or happiness, I imagine the wind or the waves bringing it to me. When I take in a breath of fresh air, I breathe in the good and breathe out the bad.

5. Writing/Journaling
This is a method I only discovered recently. Writing/journaling about emotions, letting it all spill out on paper and then simply turning the page or tearing it out/ burning it can be very powerful. Something else I do is gratitude journaling, this one is more focused on raising your vibration rather than releasing emotions, but since it is so important to me I thought I might share. Each day I write down a few things I am grateful for. It makes you appreciate the little things and grounds you in the present moment. It is said that expressing gratitude regularly brings more happiness, a stronger immune system, reduces stress etc.

6. Taking a Bath/Shower
I think we all know the feeling when our mood immediately lifts after we have taken a shower. It is almost as if the water washes away and cleanses you from heavy emotions. Visualising this makes this even more powerful. I also like taking a bath (if I have one), but then I just like to sit with my thoughts, reflect or meditate.

7. Exercising
Whether it is fitness, boxing, running or dance. You can set the intention to use physical activity to release stored emotions. For example: think of a situation that made you angry or irritated and start hitting that punching bag or run it out. A beneficial side effect of exercise is of course the release of endorphins!

8. Massage/Self Pleasure
It is well known that some people who receive a massage do not only feel physical release of tension, but can also experience emotional release. The mind and the body always work together. Therefore, a massage can bring out stored emotions. But you can’t really massage yourself… or can you? I believe an orgasmic release can also evoke emotional release. Again, it’s all about the intention behind it. 

I hope you enjoyed these practices and feel inspired to try some of them (with intention). Of course there are many other self care practices but in this post I really wanted to focus on emotional release. Maybe I’ll do another one in the future, more focused on grounding techniques like meditating. Let me know if you would like that and what you think of this post! I would love to hear from you.