4 Techniques for Self-Care

by Christina Bruni Patient Expert

I have a job as a librarian in a public library and I'm a magnet for troubled individuals that tell me their life stories.

It can be hard to bear witness to pain whether it's yours, a loved one's, or someone else's. Creating self-care rituals is one of our prime coping strategies for when we feel like we can't bear this pain any longer.

Some tactics:

Have on hand healthful food to make easy-to-prepare meals when you don't have the energy to cook.

One of my favorites is to have a bowl of whole-grain high-fiber cereal for dinner once a week.
Another easy cooking option is to hollow out two tomatoes, spoon parmesan cheese on their bottoms. Crack an egg into each tomato. Sprinkle a little more parmesan on top. Bake the eggs in tomatoes on 350 degrees in the oven for about 25 minutes or so, depending on how hot your oven is and how firm you like your eggs.

For lunch, try making a salad with a can of pole-caught albacore tuna and chickpeas.

Figure out what helps you decompress and go do that.

A lot of people watch TV. My choice for "woodshedding" is to listen to music. I can often listen to the radio for two or three hours a day on the weekends. See my SharePost on Using music as therapy.

Some people knit, bake, do craft projects, watch sports on TV, read books, or talk on the telephone with friends or family members.

Do some kind of physical activity to relieve stress.

I have a loved one who is in a lot of pain. Shortly after I first heard about this person, I bought a slice of pizza on a Saturday to have for lunch. I was so mentally and physically wrecked thinking about this person that I could only eat half the slice. That night, I found out my loved one wasn't taking the medication.
Near that time, I started to train at the gym so I could get mentally strong as well as physically fit. Four years later, I no longer get so distressed that I can't eat a slice of pizza.

See a therapist if you can't cope on your own.

At 40 years old, I decided to enter talk therapy. See my SharePosts on finding and interviewing a talk therapist and continuing and ending treatment with a therapist. I didn't think the guy I saw was the greatest therapist; I simply clicked with him and trusted the guy. We met for a little over two years. He told me things I will always remember.

The number-one takeaway I'll end here with: listen to what your body is telling you that you need to do. If you need to rest, lie in bed for a couple of hours. At the time you have more energy, do something productive.

Related SharePosts on self-care:

Maintaining supportive relationships to combat stress

[Engaging in "meditation in movement" to control worry](http://www.healthcentral.com/schizophrenia/c/120/35243/meditation "Engaging in "meditation in movement" to control worry")

Establishing a routine to overcome chaos

Christina Bruni
Meet Our Writer
Christina Bruni

Christina Bruni wrote about schizophrenia for HealthCentral as a Patient Expert. She is a mental health activist and freelance journalist.