Battling Stress & Overwhelm - Your Self Care Rescue Formula!

self care Apr 06, 2024
Self Care

Most conversations with friends and colleagues these days include one of the following statements of exasperation...“There is SO much going on”

“I am feeling really overwhelmed”

“I’m so stressed”

“I can’t seem to get a break”

“I’m so busy, I don’t have the energy to figure out what I need”

“I’m too tired to really relax, I’ll just binge watch easy TV”

There is no doubt that chronic stress and overwhelm are prevalent. Deloitte’s Women @ Work 2023: A Global Outlook, a survey of 5,000 women across 10 countries. 51% of respondents reported that their “stress levels are higher than they were a year ago”.

The physiological impact of overwhelm, and how to recover from it was covered in another recent blog post: Overwhelm 911 - The science of overwhelm & what to do about it. Overwhelm impacts us physically, and we can easily become stuck in a spiral. One of the suggested strategies to bust overwhelm featured in the post was Self Care. Today we double click on different types of Self Care strategies, and how, concretely, to implement Self Care. You can also download the core concepts and worksheets that support this post here.


Self Care - the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

Six Types of Self Care

Self care can mean many different things, and what you need in any given moment might shift and change. Start by being curious about what kind of self care would most nourish you. Here are the six primary types of self care:

  • Contemplation - Meditation, mindfulness, journaling, reflection, spiritual or religious practices
  • Social - Connecting with friends and loved ones, quality time, exercising boundaries
  • Physical - Sleep, gentle movement (stretching, yoga), physical exercise, nourishing food, rest
  • Emotional - This includes self-compassion (when you treat yourself with the care you would a close friend), kindness and generosity. 
  • Personal care - Engaging in hobbies, doing things you enjoy
  • Nature - Connecting with the outdoors, being inspired by nature

While there’s no “right” approach to self care, different interventions might be particularly helpful depending on how you’re feeling. For example...

  • Are you feeling drained, tired, sluggish? Spending some time in quiet contemplation (like meditation, or journaling), some gentle movement like a walk, or some stretching, doing something you enjoy (like reading a book), or spending some time outdoors can help you slowly build up your energy.
  • Are you feeling like you have a full mind, caught overthinking? Mindfulness, or the art of focusing on the present moment, can help ground you. Higher intensity exercise can also help reset that overthinking, as can time spent doing something you enjoy. 
  • Are the holidays leaving you with feelings of guilt, loneliness, not-enoughness? Perhaps some time in meaningful connection, or practicing self-compassion would support you.
  • Are you in full blown overwhelm? Any of these self care methods could help, go to what feels good / what you’re drawn to. When in doubt, start with quieting your mind through meditation or journaling to get in touch with what you want/need. 

Check out this handy reference table. Grab the free downloadable with the worksheet here. Print it, save it for later when you’re IN IT, so you know what tools might help you….

Great for…







Feeling drained / tired







Full mind/ chaotic energy







Feelings of guilt / not-enoughness / loneliness















Activating your self care

It’s easy to come up with ideas, but doing them might be more challenging, which is why we love the ONE - ONE - ONE approach. In it, you identify three SIMPLE, actionable things that you will do TODAY for your self care.

Ask yourself the following three questions (and jot down your answers):

  • What’s ONE thing I will do for myself today. Here are some examples:
    • I will meditate for 5 minutes
    • I will journal about things I'm grateful for
    • I will go for a 20 minute walk
    • I will listen to my audiobook while taking a bath
    • I will watercolor
  • What’s ONE opportunity for quality time & connection with my loved ones. Here are some examples:
    • I will play a game of Uno with my kids
    • I will call my favorite sister and chat without distraction
    • I will go for a walk with my partner
    • I'll take some time to sit down for lunch with a colleague rather than working through it
  • What’s ONE way I can brighten the day of someone else with kindness or contribution. Here are some examples:
    • I will make a small donation to my favorite charity
    • I will give an extra tip to my favorite barista
    • I will genuinely thank the bus driver
    • I will pay for someone else's coffee
    • I will write a thank you letter to someone who has positively impacted me

Choose things that you feel confident you’ll be able to execute. If you first went to big bold things that you feel may not be super achievable, maybe adjust to something more reasonable. 

For example, say you identified a family meal as your opportunity for connection, and intend on cooking from scratch, maybe you consider takeout as something more readily achievable for today. Or if you chose physical activity and intend on doing a 60 minute workout. Perhaps a 20 minute walk is more achievable. That’s not to say these broader aspirations aren’t excellent. But self care has to be manageable, and achievable. If they are not, they add to the burden and the overwhelm. 

We explore the concept of scoping in the blog post The Magic of MVPs: Minimum Viable Priorities. If you haven’t read that blog post, check it out.

With our self care, we focus on the saying done is better than perfect. Meaning simple self care you do, will always be better than perfect self care you don’t.


Bust overwhelm, invest in yourself

This blog post was anchored on small interventions you can implement in the moment to get yourself out of the swirl. If you’re consistently finding yourself experiencing stress and overwhelm, a bigger intervention might be really beneficial. So many of us struggle to prioritize our well being and self care. Taking a few days to focus on yourself, where the primary focus is reconnecting to your needs and wants, can be incredibly beneficial. 

The Mindfulness Incubator Resilience Immersion Retreat is coming back September 19-22 2024. If you’d like to be notified when registration opens, please reach out

This ultra-exclusive 4 day, 3 night getaway was developed with overworked, overwhelmed women in mind. Through curated workshops, resilience boosting experiences, incredible food & beverage and a wonderful community, you’ll be absolutely transformed. Learn more about the retreat here, and if you’re thinking about it, send us an email!


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