Self help

What have you done for me lately? Asking that of yourself might benefit as a result

The holidays can be full of stress and anxiety. What have you done for yourself lately?

Taking care of yourself and doing something that relaxes you or brings joy has myriad of benefits.

“Self-care can help you manage stress, boost your mood, and lower your risk of illness. Even small acts of self-care in your daily life can have a big impact,” said Dr. Barbara Bazron, director of D.C.’s Department of Behavioral Health.

Activities of self-care can be specific to individuals who might need to relax more or less.

Self-care strategies include:

  • Eating healthy food and getting enough sleep at consistent times.
  • Exercising and staying active.
  • Visiting with family and loved ones.
  • Volunteering or doing community service.
  • Checking in on those in need and neighbors.
  • Focusing on positivity by identifying and challenging negative thoughts.
  • Learning to say “no” if asked to take on too much.
  • Setting goals, boundaries and priorities.
  • Practicing meditation and relaxation breathing techniques.
  • Having an attitude of gratitude.

“Remind yourself daily (to) have things you are grateful for. Be specific. Think about it at the end of the day. And really congratulate yourself on what you are really grateful for,” Bazron said. “Mental health is a critical part of physical health.”

Just like with physical illnesses, Bazron said there are times when professional help is needed for help to address mental well-being.

“Remember, you’re not alone. We’re here to help you. You can get support by calling 988,” she said. “When you call 988, a trained crisis counselor will answer the phone, will listen to understand how the problem is affecting you, provide support and share resources as needed.”

The 988 lifeline provides live crisis center phone services in English and Spanish, and use of a language line can provide translation services in more than 250 additional languages. There also is support for people who are hard of hearing or those who are deaf.

According to Bazron, nearly 98% of people who contact 988 get the crisis support they need and do not require additional services in that moment.

In the District, however, “If necessary, our community response team can come to your home and come wherever you are in the community and provide you with the support you need in person,” she said.

D.C.’s Community Response Team can be called at 202-673-6495.

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