21 Self-Care Activities for When the World Feels Like It’s Falling Apart

Self-care activities and ideas. / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Recently I had a popular tweet– well, popular for me at least. It was a moment of panic and feeling totally helpless that seemed to resonate with other people too.

Self-care activities / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

If you struggle with your mental health– or hell, even if you don’t– what is going on in the United States seems super scary. At the time I tweeted this (and many times after) I felt frozen in my own anxiety thanks to the direction or government is taking. And the only thing that has been able to pull me outta those feelings is a little self-care.

For some, self-care can seem daunting and overcomplicated. But it definitely doesn’t have to be. There are many different ways to self-care so I thought I’d share some easy ones. If you ever feel like the world is falling down, stop and give yourself a little love with some of these self-care activities.

21 Simple Self-Care Activities:

  1. Exercise. Stress or anxiety can manifest itself into physical tension that can easily be released through exercise. If you’re a gym buff, then get there and burn off some steam. If you want something more stationary, try yoga videos on Youtube. Anything to help you move your body and momentarily distract your mind. Plus the post workout endorphins aren’t bad.
  2. Listen to a podcast. 
  3. Take a really long shower. Turn your bathroom into your personal music video and go nuts. Plus that hot water feels good.
  4. Laugh. Netflix comedy specials are fantastic, as are old standby sitcoms like Will & Grace, Friends, and Modern Family. Also never underestimate the power of Youtube (can you tell I love Youtube?) for even older shows like Who’s Line is it Anyway? or content creators like Grace Helbig, Caspar Lee, or other comedians.
  5. Meditate.
  6. Deep breathing. If the idea of meditating is too overwhelming then just focus on breathing. Take three deep breaths, inhaling for 5 seconds and exhaling for 8. Feel your lungs fill with air, and then slowly express it. If it feels good then do 3 more.
  7. Read a book.
  8. Wash your sheets and then lay in your bed. Fresh, cozy sheets FTW.
  9. Help someone. Doing an act of good can make you feel good. Donate $5 to an organization that is important to you. Send a loved one a nice message. Write a nice message on a post-it note and stick it in a place others will see it. Let your mind wander with ideas for how to make someone else feel great.
  10. Read a book. Immerse yourself into a book you love and forget about the rest of the world.
  11. Cook something delicious.
  12. Eat something delicious.
  13. Unplug. Turn off all your electronics and step away from the news. Do whatever you want to that isn’t related to social media, the TV, our computer, iPad, or anything else electronic.
  14. Clean your home. 
  15. Write in a journal. Better yet, start a compliment journal by writing down 3 good things about yourself per day. Use this time to focus on your positive attributes and what you think you excel at. This is a double-whammy activity because it’s a great self-esteem booster as well.
  16. Craft, or do a DIY project.
  17. Pamper yourself. Do a face mask, paint your nails, do your hair, play with your make-up or go get a massage. Just do something to make yourself feel good.
  18. Have sex. Or masturbate. (Sorry not sorry, but I had to say it. It’s not just for dudes!)
  19. Dance it out. The Girl Power playlist on Spotify is BOMB.COM.
  20. Have a glass of wine.
  21. Call a friend and just chat. Tell them what’s bothering you or just talk about nothing in particular.

The possibilities for self-care activities are really endless but these are my favorite. The key to self-care is just doing something you enjoy, or that gives you an pleasant feeling. Just make sure you are taking time for yourself.

Got other self-care activities you love? Share them in the comments!

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2017 New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! Let's talk about our 2017 New Year's Resolutions! / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Happy New Year! Anyone else waste the first day of the brand new year on the couch? No? Me either. Let’s not talk about it. But you know what we should talk about? Goals for 2017– also known as New Year’s Resolutions. Those are fun and not at all soul-crushing come October of said new year and you realize that you’re still fat, broke, and single despite making a drunken declaration as the ball drops.

So fun! Let’s do them. Below are my New Year’s Resolutions. Don’t forget to share yours with me in the comments!

  1. Eat better. I am going to start taking my lunch to work, and making an effort to cut down on unnecessary calories, like sauces, dressings, and anything else that makes food edible. But I will probably take a cheat day once per week. Give myself a chance to have something delicious. Or maybe I’ll take two per week, just to be safe. Or three. Ya know, I won’t really know until I really get there. Maybe a cheat meal… like, per day. We’ll see.
  2. Exercise more. Maybe I’ll do Pilates. Or yoga. Or Pi-Yo. Or Pi-Yo-P90x. Or just blend up a yoga mat with some kale and drink that while staring at a women’s health magazine. Probably same effect, right? And it’s healthy!
  3. Save money. I am going to start keeping a log of everything I spend my money on. Including the hundreds that I personally donate to GrubHub each month in exchange for semi-stale and cold food to be delivered to me on my couch. And stop taking Ubers when I already pay for a bus pass. Except when it’s cold, or my feet hurt, or the bus is going to take longer than 8 minutes to get to me. I have to draw the line somewhere.
  4. Be more responsible. Do my laundry before the pile casts a shadow over my kitchen counter. Buy toilet paper before I completely run out. Bring my own reusable bags to the grocery store. Stop shopping as a way to fill the emotional void. Ya know, just be smarter with my choices.
  5. Find a boyfriend. I have decided to finally give into the social construct that a woman is not allowed to be single by choice. Even though dating makes me want to throw up, and I work two jobs and like to spend my downtime on my couch as opposed to at bars that also make me anxious, 2017 will be the year I find a mate. No lesbian jokes at Thanksgiving 2017, no sir. Not this year!
  6. Accept the current political climate, hold onto my reproductive rights, feel safe walking down the street alone at night, personally identify who the Zodiac Killer is, solve world hunger, pass an Illinois State budget, and finally match up all my socks. If I have time after yoga, that is.

Happy 2017! Cheers to a new year and a new you! Good luck on your New Year’s Resolutions! #Werk

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Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel: the BEST Exfoliating Mask Ever

Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel is the MUST-HAVE exfoliator for every skin type / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

I am a face mask junkie. My skin has a myriad of problems, including acne, dry patches, hyper-pigmentation, and the tendency to look just dull and icky. Show me an exfoliating mask that is safe for my acne and I am SOLD. And that is exactly what the Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel is. Y’all. It’s good.

Once again, the U.S. (meaning probably just me) is late to the game. If you’re unfamiliar with Korean skincare, all you need to know is they are miiiiiiiiles ahead of the rest of the world. K-Beauty, as it is affectionately called, is finally starting to get popular in the United States, and for good reason.

Supposedly this mask is a cult favorite in Korea, which I can totally see why. It is the most gentle, yet effective exfoliant that I have ever used. The exfoliating power comes mainly from cellulose, which is listed as the second ingredient. The cellulose helps lift flaky, dead skin from your face and does this completely pain free. It’s a gel, so there is no grains that you have to scrub against your face like other typical exfoliants. In fact, this would be amazing for even the most sensitive-skinned little snowflakes.

In addition to the exfoliating power, it also has Vitamin C and E, both of which are powerhouse ingredients for skin brightening, and a few other skincare goodies to help promote moisturizing your skin.

To use, simply wet your skin, apply about a quarter-size dollop of gel to wet fingertips and massage gently. I would recommend making sure to work it on your jawline, nose, the contours where your nose meets your cheeks, and your temples. Those are areas where you don’t necessarily think to spend time on when you wash your face, so I can almost guarantee there will be a build up there.

Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel is the MUST-HAVE exfoliator for every skin type / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

I mean, LOOK AT IT. Those white balls are my skin. It’s so gross and I can’t get enough.

And, for my favorite part. Bam.

Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel is the MUST-HAVE exfoliator for every skin type / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

That’s just one use. My skin is so much brighter and has a real glow in the “After” picture. I am a bit red, but my face gets red easily if I touch it, so I doubt that is from the product. The dullness of the first picture has disappeared.

So it’s safe to say the Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel has worked it’s way into my regular routine. If you want to know where I’m at on Sundays around 7pm, chances are I am leaning over my skin giggling like a mad woman while this gel eats away my face*.

Have you ever used the Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel? Do you like it? Are there any other products I should try? Let me know in the comments!

*Just kidding. It doesn’t eat anything. Have you not paid attention to this post at all? This sh*t is gentle as hell.

Dr. G Brightening and Exfoliating Gel is the MUST-HAVE exfoliator for every skin type / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

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8 On-The-Spot Ways to Get Calm

Feeling overwhelmed is awful, especially when you're in a stressful situation. Sometimes you can't always escape, but you can use techniques to help you get calm in the moment... // CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

I’ve talked a lot about anxiety lately– including Things That Happen When You See a Therapist as well as How to Find A Therapist.  To see all of my anxiety posts, you can scroll through my “Mental Health” posts under the “Health” tab at the top. With all this focus on anxiety, we still haven’t really talked too much about how to combat anxiety and get calm.

So when NewLifeOutlook emailed me asking if they could write about some techniques to help you get calm, obviously I agreed. Eric provided some helpful tips on how to calm down when you’re feeling anxious, some of which I utilize myself when I’m feeling stressed. Hopefully these tips help you if you’re in need.

Got any tips of your own, or agree with anything listed below? Leave them at the end in the comments! And without further ado, I’ll kick it over to Eric to talk about how to get calm.

8 On-The-Spot Ways to Get Calm

The ability to relax and calm yourself during a stressful situation is an ability that seems to come naturally to some. They always seem to have a plan and never let worry get the best of them, while you feverishly work to find anything that works for you.

Since you do not have the innate ability to get calm quickly, you must work to build coping skills that break the pattern of stress and tension in order to let in feelings of peacefulness and control.

Here are the eight best on-the-spot relaxation skills to leave you calm.

Deep Breathing

Before you cringe or bemoan the fact that this list includes deep breathing, understand that this is just one of the natural ways to relieve anxiety that works wonders for many people.

When you hear “deep breathing,” you may think about people who have tried to convince you of its powers before, or how you already tried it with no success. The truth is that deep breathing is highly effective, but most people perform it incorrectly.

To begin your mastery, work to take a deep breath in while leaving your shoulders still. Let your stomach protrude as you suck in the air. After a brief pause, let the air escape slowly for a long exhale.

Exercise

Exercise works wonders for many physical and mental health complaints, and as it turns out, it is even effective in calming your body and mind.

You do not even need to lace up your sneakers or go to the gym. If you are feeling tense or restless, try some dynamic stretches to burn off some energy.

Touch your toes or roll your arms forward to reduce some tightness in your chest. Doing jumping jacks or pushups shouldn’t be out of the question either — sure, you may look odd exercising in your work clothes, but it is better than feeling anxious.

Experiment with different types of exercise in different situations to find what works best for you.

Change Your Thinking

All day every day, thoughts are swirling through your head, making you anxious. Take control of your thoughts by inserting some positivity, or challenging whatever messages are contributing to your stress.

Some people develop mantras to improve their thought patterns. Mantras are simple phrases or sentences that you can repeat out loud or to yourself when their influence is needed.

Saying “I feel relaxed, calm, and in control” can work to modify your thoughts and change the resulting behaviors. Whichever version you choose, be sure to say it often to get the desired impact.

Listen to Music

A four-minute song can completely change your point of view, even when you’re stressed or anxious. Keep a positive playlist on your phone so the songs will be there whenever you need them.

Perhaps heavy metal is just what you need to find calm, or maybe you peace in a concerto. The important thing is you find music that reverses — rather than reinforces — your tension.

Again, experimentation will be necessary here. Some tunes will work better in certain situations than others.

Play a Game

Since your phone is already out after listening to music, you might as well open up your favorite app and play a few games.

People generally spend too much time on their phones, which equates to too much wasted time and distraction. In this case, a small amount of escape is acceptable.

Diving into the game will consume all of your attention and provide your brain with a needed break. During this time, you can find enough separation from your stressor to have a new, fresh approach.

Be sure to limit your time, though. There is a thin line between short-term escape and long-term avoidance.

Call a Friend

Your phone can play music and can help you play games as well. Another thing your phone can do is actually make a phone call!

So many people are just a call away, and even though they might not be able to erase your stress, they can be a friendly voice on the other end of the line. Start with people you trust and respect, and feel free to guide the conversation in any direction.

Talking about your anxiety isn’t a must since you can find calm by discussing last night’s game or the show on this evening. Once you hang up, you might find yourself with a new level of relaxation.

Avoid texting; the lack of immediacy can trigger increased anxiety as you wait for a response.

Physical Contact

When you were a child, there was nothing more calming or soothing than being held by your mother. It seems unlikely that your mother can still pick you up and rock you to sleep, but physical contact will assist in your goal of relaxation.

Find a loved one to hug. If no one is available, give yourself a squeeze to replicate the experience. Otherwise, you can find a comforting piece of clothing or a pillow to hug or rub against your face. This physical contact can add feelings of calm and safety no matter where you are.

Have a Taste

Stimulating your senses is a great way to help you get calm. Music and hugs soothe your hearing and touch, while eating or drinking can target your taste and smell.

Having a glass of ice water can be calming. A piece of dark chocolate or your favorite fruit can accomplish the goal with a bit more flavor.

My having something to taste and smell, you begin to focus more on these and less on your tension. Of course, you must be careful to keep this under control — a large milkshake may reduce some stress in the moment but lead to other problems later.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol as well. Three espressos may seem like a good idea, but that much caffeine will only trigger more anxiety.

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Eric Patterson, LPC is a professional counselor in western Pennsylvania working for the last 10 years to help children, teens and adults achieve their goals and live happier lives. You can find more of his writing on NewLifeOutlook.

Feeling overwhelmed is awful, especially when you're in a stressful situation. Sometimes you can't always escape, but you can use techniques to help you get calm in the moment... // CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

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Acne Skincare: LUSH Mask of Magnaminty

Acne Skincare: LUSH Mask of Magnaminty Review

It was never my intention to fall in love with LUSH products.  In fact, I started making my own bath bombs last year in hopes that I could never have to spend money at LUSH, mostly because I’m cheap. But acne is no joke. And neither is your acne skincare routine.

However, desperate times can make a gal do desperate things– like spring for a face mask in a fit of super low self-esteem to help her f!*#ing acne.  I didn’t want to love it.  I didn’t want to fall victim to the glory of LUSH products, and start handing them all my money.  But unfortunately, the face wants what the face wants.

Which is how I ended up with LUSH’s Mask of Magnaminty as an irreplaceable part of my skincare routine.

Mask of Magnaminty (Mag-na-mint-y) is a face and body mask. It is “packed full of peppermint, kaolin, and scrubby aduki beans for deeply cleansed skin”. It also contains bentonite gel, honey, evening primrose seeds, and african marigold oil, and a few other ingredients.

Let me break it down for you:

Peppermint oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A & C, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Vitamin C is great for the skin, as we all know.  And peppermint oil has antiseptic, and regenerative properties that are good for restoring your skin. The menthol that makes peppermint cooling and soothing is also good for the skin.

Kaolin is a soft clay. It helps exfoliate and cleanse skin.

Aduki beans are used as an exfoliant to cleanse and polish the skin.  Ground aduki beans also help absorb excess oil.

Honey is moisturizing and antiseptic.

Bentonite gel is soothing, absorbs dirt and oil, and promotes smoothing of the skin. It is used mainly for the base of a lot of LUSH products for it’s texture.

Evening Primrose Seeds are another exfoliating ingredient, with anti-inflammatory properties.

African Marigold Oil is antiseptic, anti-fungal, and has antioxidant properties that is good for soothing blemishes and inflammation.

Basically this mask is chalk full of skin soothing and cleansing goodies to help problem skin.  The exfoliants remove dead skin while the other ingredients pull dirt and oils, cleanse the skin to remove any dirt and bacteria that is causing breakouts, and then moisturize, sooth and reduce inflammation.

And let me tell you, it works.

Though I can’t get the change I can see in my skin to appear on camera with a before/after, I can assure you that my skin just glows and looks so much healthier after using this mask.  My skin tone is much more even, the redness from my blemishes and scars has softened, I don’t look as textured, and my skin just feels better. I use this about once per week in the evening, and love the results.

Also, a little bit goes a long way, so it is definitely worth the price for something that is not only a natural skincare product, but also effective. I got the smaller version, 4.4 oz, for around $14.00(ish)at the LUSH in Water Tower Place in Chicago. I have had it for a few months, have probably used it 10ish times, and still have maybe 3-5 more uses out of it. Not bad if I do say so myself.

Bonus: LUSH runs a recycling program. If you bring back 5 empty/clean LUSH pots with their little recycling logo on them, you get a free Fresh Face mask. How cool is that?

(Also, this is not a sponsored post what so ever, but hey LUSH, I’d definitely be open to it.  Make me a believer, huh? What other acne products do you have for me?!)

If you have acne prone skin, or have been feeling like your skin is just off lately, I would recommend trying out this mask.

What are your favorite LUSH products? Let me know!

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