How To Create A Self-Care Plan For The New School Year

Students Need Self-Care

University is such an interesting and chaotic time of our lives.

Our schedule is packed with classes, assignments, tests, seminars and work clashing together—and that’s just for an undergraduate degree.

It feels like we have no time for ourselves except for a few hours to sleep. And even that’s not guaranteed.

Studies have shown that burnout amongst high school and university students can create symptoms of PTSD. And while I’m a few years removed from university, I still experience some of those symptoms.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with this website):

National Library of Medicine – Student Burnout and PTSD Symptoms

Preparing for the new school year with a self-care plan may help students to manage and hopefully prevent burnout.

September is the perfect time to start as school is just beginning, and you may have more wiggle room to try out new things.

But if you’re discovering this post during midterms or spring break, that’s fine too!

When you start doesn’t matter—having a plan does.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, psychologist, therapist or similar. This blog offers ideas, tools, strategies and recommendations based on my experience with anxiety, panic attacks and mental health. I do not guarantee any results or outcomes as strategies that have worked for me may not work for you. For diagnosis and treatment of any physical and mental health condition, consult a licensed professional.

Make Time For Self-Care

I realize it may not feel possible, but I guarantee you can add self-care to your daily, weekly and monthly routines.

As a student, I would sleep in the university library, eat lunch outside my next class and schedule bathroom breaks into my study time. I was shuffling through my days like a zombie.

It was not until my third year of university that I learned to add proper me-time to my school agenda.

I scheduled when I’d eat, when I’d exercise, how often I would clean and when I would literally do nothing.

That may sound very constraining, but it resulted in a wonderful transformation. I suddenly felt like I had more control and time and generally felt more like myself.

Self-care for students: how to have a stress-free year

Creating A Self-Care Plan

In this post, I will help you to formulate a plan to add self-care activities to your schedule.

Below, I have outlined four self-care categories.

The best self-care plan will combine activities from every category to create a holistic* routine. This will ensure that you fully take care of all aspects of yourself.

*Holistic refers to treating or caring for the whole person (the body, mind and spirit) rather than one part.

And you are not expected to do all of the activities every day. That’s simply not possible.

Instead, consider these general guidelines when adding self-care activities to your schedule.

  • Daily activities are those that require roughly 5-10 minutes
  • Weekly activities: ~15-30 minutes
  • Monthly activities: ~1 hour
  • Annual activities: ~half a day

Remaining cognizant of the time you have and the time you need will provide a better chance of scheduling your self-care.

5 Steps To Create Your Self-Care Schedule

Woman looking at her busy schedule and a calendar

1. Look at your current school and work schedules to identify the number and duration of break times. Don’t forget to factor in homework and study time.

A blank calendar with dates highlighted

2. Highlight or list the duration of your break time–just the time in minutes or hours.

A woman writing a list in a notebook

3. Look over the list below and choose the activities you consider interesting, relaxing, or useful. Write them in a list along with the amount of time they take.

The words daily, weekly and monthly

4. From your activities list, choose three daily activities, four weekly activities, and three monthly activities. You may, of course, choose more, but I suggest starting with these numbers.

A woman writing in a planner that has different events in different colours and post-it notes

5. Add those activities to your school calendar, agenda or planner.

  • Set a specific or general time of day to complete them.
  • It may be helpful to add these activities in another colour.

A Brief Caution

A problem I often face with lists like this is that I want to try everything all at once. And it’s overwhelming!

So while creating your self-care plan, start slow. Choose a few activities that you can start doing today.

You want to try to build a habit of doing these activities but don’t want them to become tasks.

Aim to include these activities in your schedule, but give yourself some leeway and don’t be too tough on yourself if you can’t get them done when you hoped.

4 Self-Care Categories

There are many categories for self-care.

For this post, I have chosen to focus on the following four: physical self-care, practical self-care, psychological self-care, and social self-care.

And I’ve ordered the categories alphabetically because no one category is more important than the rest.

Physical Self-Care

Graphic of woman doing yoga in front of a laptop to indicate physical self-care

Physical self-care aims at caring for your body. It involves focusing on what you put in your body, ensuring you’re well rested and keeping your body moving. Remember that physical health can help or hinder mental health, so you want to take special care of both.

1.       Schedule Meal Breaks

  • 5-30 minutes
  • Many people opt for fast food because it’s a filling meal you can eat quickly. But it’s full of harmful ingredients that drain your energy.
  • Set 2 meal breaks where you can eat a full meal (perhaps breakfast and dinner) and mini breaks for snack time.
  • Another option is to designate lunch as your big meal of the day and have smaller portions for breakfast and dinner, supplemented with hourly snack breaks. (This is my preference for my schedule. Follow the plan that works for you and your schedule.)

2.       Sleep

  • 10 minutes-8 hours
  • Micro naps during the day can help you to stay focused. But don’t rely on napping to keep yourself healthy.
  • Try to get a full night’s sleep. For some people, 6 hours of sleep is sufficient; for others, 9 hours may be necessary. Listen to your body and what it needs to feel rested.

3.       Breathing Exercises

  • 2-5 minutes
  • Practice breathing exercises anywhere, at any time, as needed.
  • Breathe in through the nose for 4 seconds, hold for 5-7 seconds, and exhale through the mouth for 8 seconds.
  • Breathing exercises will allow your body to relax while providing a mindful moment as you focus on your breath and the counts.

Read More| How To Self-Soothe During A Panic Attack

4.       Get Sunlight

  • 10+ minutes
  • Take a walk, study on a patio or sit on the greenspace at your school.
  • Vitamin D and fresh air are essential for our bodies and overall happiness.
  • In winter, vitamin D drops and a light therapy lamp are helpful.

5.       Exercise

  • 15+ minutes
  • We are recommended to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, and it is possible to allocate 15-minute exercise sessions during breaks.
  • Remember that walking, yoga, cycling and jump rope are all forms of exercise, so you are not required to go to a gym unless you choose to.

6.       Hydrate

  • 1-2 minutes
  • Drink water. Bring a water bottle to every class and take a few gulps every hour.
  • If you drink water regularly, you will feel and see a difference.
  • Always remember that what you drink matters because not all beverages will support your body the same way.

Practical Self-Care

Graphic of woman with her laptop sitting on a calendar next to an hour glass to indicate practical self-care

Practical self-care can be thought of as the necessary chores to relieve us of future stress—like the adage to plan today for a better tomorrow. Taking small steps to prepare for your day, week or year will pay off substantially and cut much stress from your life.

1.       Create A Budget

  • 30+ minutes (to create), 2 minutes (for upkeep)
  • You may buy a budget planner or create a spreadsheet. (Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets offer annual and monthly budget templates.)
  • Steps to create your budget:
    • Write down your net income (this will be the income you receive, less taxes and other work expenses).
    • Track how much you spend—write every purchase down, including your bills, Netflix subscription, groceries, coffee, etc.
    • Set a budget for how much you can spend for the month to ensure you will keep some savings. For example: If I earn $1,000 per month (net income), my bills are $300, and my loans are $200, I may set myself a budget of $200, so I can save $300 per month.
    • Adjust your spending habits to stick to your budget (this may mean less Starbucks).
    • Review your budget to see how you are doing, what is working, and what needs improvement.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

WorkBC – Student Budgeting

Clever Girl Finance – How To Create A College Student Budget You’ll Actually Use

Student Space – How to make a student budget

2.       Organize Your Closet

  • 1+ hours (for initial organization), 5 minutes (for upkeep)
  • Use baskets, totes, shelves or a whole closet organizer to organize your clothes and storage.
  • Separate your work clothes from casual ones so they are easier to find. This may be done simply by having work clothes on the left side of the closet and casual clothes on the right.
  • Seeing disorganization and interacting with it daily can result in a sensory overload leading to stress and distraction. Therefore, having an organized closet with everything in its place can be freeing.

3.       Make Your Bed

  • 2 minutes
  • Make your bed every day. You don’t need perfect corners or to change the sheets every day.
  • Having a bed in disarray can cause a room to look messy and may add to your overall stress. Having an organized bed to fall into at the end of the day creates a peaceful area that will help you feel relaxed and may lead to better sleep.

4.       Meal Prep

  • 30+ minutes (to prepare), 3+ minutes (to heat)
  • Depending on your fridge and freezer space, you may meal prep for a week or month at a time.
  • Preparing meals that will only require a quick warm-up will ensure you eat properly and save money.

5.       Schedule Decluttering

  • 10+ minutes
  • Slowly start decluttering by donating or throwing away things you no longer need or use. And organize the things you need regularly.
  • If you believe your clutter has a system, create an improved design with baskets and shelf dividers.
  • Less clutter leads to tidier spaces, creates more peaceful and stress-free environments and ensures everything is easy to find.

6.       Set Out Clothes For The Week

  • 10 minutes
  • Decide your tops, pants and shoes and arrange the items in your closet from Monday through Friday.
  • Choosing your outfits ahead of time will ensure you have clean clothes for the week and fewer decisions to make first thing in the morning.

Psychological Self-Care

Graphic of woman holding her head and a thought bubble full of squiggles to indicate psychological self-care

Psychological, emotional, mental self-care is all about taking time to identify your headspace and express your feelings. There are many activities for psychological self-care that will allow you to channel stress and negative thoughts into a medium that will help you to let them go. Some activities will also allow you to sit with and enjoy your happy moments. Being able to positively impact and express your inner world is very important for your mental health.

1.       Affirmations And Mantras

  • 1-2 minutes
  • Keep positive affirmations and mantras posted on your mirror, phone lock screen or anywhere you will see them. Repeat the affirmations a few times a day.
  • Affirmations and mantras will help you to rewire your brain to think positively and calmly.

Read more| Generate Positivity With Affirmations

2.       Practice Gratitude

  • 5 minutes
  • Make it a habit to take a few minutes at the start or end of your day to write a list of things you are grateful for. Do not rush! Be slow and mindful while you make your list.
  • Speak what you are writing and try to use the expression “I am grateful for….”
  • During stressful times, creating or reading these lists will remind you of the positive things in your life.

3.       Journal

  • 5-10 minutes
  • Write when you are happy, stressed and overwhelmed.
  • There are many uses for a journal and many ways to write in a journal. Choose the option that serves you best. And choose the time that works best for you. You may find journal prompts to get you started here: link.
  • Writing a journal entry will provide relief and is an interesting keepsake.

Read More| Why You Should Start Journaling

4.       Create Art

  • 5-20+ minutes
  • Draw, paint, sculpt, knit, whittle, etc.
  • Depending on your medium, art may be created between class periods or give you an extended mindful release a few times a week.
  • Art will give you something to focus on while releasing stress. Or it may allow you to express your feelings.

5.       Play Music

  • 2+ minutes
  • This may refer to listening to your favourite artist or playing an instrument.
  • Music can help us to feel lighter, connect and release pent-up feelings.

6.       Meet With A Counsellor Or Therapist.

  • 30+ minutes
  • If your high school, college or university offers free or discounted counselling services, take advantage of them!
  • Counselling is a genuinely positive experience as it will help you understand yourself, learn how to handle stress and disappointment, and, most importantly, celebrate and focus on your achievements.
  • If you do not vibe with your assigned counsellor, talk to your school and try to seek an alternative option. You deserve a counsellor or therapist who is working with you.

Social Self-Care

Graphic of 2 women and 2 men communicating on a laptop, tablet and phone to indicate social self-care

Social self-care directs its focus on social interactions and how to maintain healthy relationships. Whether introverted or extroverted, our social life will add to our happiness. However, during school, our social life can sometimes hinder our schoolwork. So while considering your social self-care, you want to create a beneficial school/work/life balance. Please note that I could not list specific times for some activities because what you need and your available time varies significantly from person to person.

1.       Set Boundaries

  • Unfortunately, I cannot create a timeframe here as it involves deciding, communicating and reinforcing your boundaries. This may take consideration and practice over a few days or weeks.
  • There are many different types of boundaries, but perhaps while focusing on school life, you can narrow the boundaries to what you need for a successful and stress-free year.
  • Consider these questions while creating your boundaries:
    • What do you need from friends and family when you are stressed? For example, do you need someone to vent to, alone time, comfort foods, etc.?
    • What will help you focus on your studies? This may be quiet time, a peaceful area, fewer messages and screen time, etc.
    • What will take the pressure off? Perhaps you want to ban certain questions about your schoolwork or tests. Questions like How is your dissertation coming along? Are you ready for your midterms?
  • Asserting your boundaries may sometimes feel rude, and some people may consider them selfish, but they are necessary to your well-being. Boundaries communicate our needs to others so they can support us.

Read More| Are Introverts Rude? And How To Assert Your Boundaries

2.       Call A Friend (Or Your Safe Person)

  • 5+ minutes
  • Have a friend or a safe person you can call, FaceTime or message whenever you need to. Let them know ahead of time that you may be contacting them during stressful times and what you may need from them (a listening ear or advice).
  • You may also schedule regular calls to ensure you are both available and give you something to look forward to.
  • A safe person is someone you can share with who will keep your conversation private and whose sole interest in the conversation is in supporting and protecting you.

3.       Meet With Friends

  • 30+ minutes (or short breaks between classes)
  • Schedule time with your friends. Everyone has a busy schedule, so last-minute plans may not work as well as they used to.
  • Friendships can strain and start to fizzle during university. So use the time to catch up, share a little about school and be a support system for each other.

4.       Be Intentional With Social Activities

  • There is no time suggestion here, as this option involves deciding if, when and where to add social activities to your schedule.
  • Accept that you should not partake in every social event or go out drinking every weekend. A night out will impact your budget and physical self-care.
  • Pick and choose events that are important to you and your experience. They will be more memorable and give you something to look forward to.
  • And practice saying NO. It may be hard at first, but it gets easier with practice, and you will be happier.

5.       Join An Online Support Group

  • 2+ minutes
  • Join a Facebook or Reddit (or similar) group for your school or area. If a gender, religion or ethnic-specific group exists, that may also be beneficial.
  • Try to ensure it is a safe space for people to share stories, ask questions and offer advice without judgement or bullying behaviour.
  • I recommend observing the group before asking any sensitive questions and using the anonymous post option whenever necessary.
  • While living in South Korea, I joined five Facebook groups: three regional and two women-only groups. I never commented in the regional groups because I followed them for events and found the most active members to be very opinionated and rude. It did not feel like a safe space to ask questions. But I was very active in the women-only groups, and though I no longer live there, I am still part of them today because they’re incredibly judgement-free, and everyone is looking out for each other.

Read More| 10 Ways To Expand Your Comfort Zone

6.       Play With A Pet

  • 2+ minutes
  • Take a break and spend time with someone who loves you unconditionally and does not care about your schoolwork.
  • Playing with a pet releases serotonin and will make you feel happier.
  • If you currently do not have a pet, consider your budget and the free time you will need to care for your pet properly—it’s a lot of work.
How to create a self-care plan for the new school year

Final Thoughts

If self-care is selfish, be selfish.

Caring for yourself provides the benefits of reducing stress, thinking clearer, maintaining relationships and, most importantly, not losing yourself to your studies.

Creating healthy habits takes time and practice, and there are many options for adding self-care to your schedule.

Again, I have only covered four self-care categories, but many more options exist.

Please let me know in the comments below if you are interested in learning more about self-care and additional self-care categories and activities.

And if you like this post, please like this post, comment, share and follow for more.

 

5 Practices To Better Support A Highly Sensitive Child

In this post, learn about how difficult childhood is when you don’t know you’re highly sensitive and are taught to suppress your highly sensitive person (HSP) identity. Then discover how to identify high sensitivity in children and practices to become a better support system.

Before I Begin…

The HSP trait is still a relatively new concept for me.

It is a personality trait I learned about for the first time roughly four months ago.

I am disclosing that this is a new term for me as a reminder that I am not an expert in this field–although I am an authority having lived as an HSP.

And not being an expert was also what kept me from sharing this post last week.

Because I am new to this particular topic, I was really suffering from imposter syndrome and felt I didn’t have a right to write about it.

But being an expert and providing academic-based articles is not the purpose of this blog.

In this blog, I share the things I am learning that allow me to reflect on my lived experiences.

And it’s very important to me to show my process of discovering, learning, reflecting and accepting new traits and insights into what makes me–me. My goal for sharing this process is that it may help and encourage others to attempt the same.

So, again, this post is being written by someone who has just recently learned they are highly sensitive, are understanding how it has impacted their past and sharing their general observations and opinions.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, psychologist, therapist or similar. This blog offers ideas, tools, strategies and recommendations based on my experience with anxiety, panic attacks and mental health. I do not guarantee any results or outcomes as strategies that have worked for me may not work for you. For diagnosis and treatment of any physical and mental health condition, consult a licensed professional.

5 Practices to Support A Highly Sensitive Child. The image shows two parents on the floor with their child, they are all smiling while resting on their elbows and have their hands joined in a stack together in front of them

Discovering The Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) Label

I first discovered the label on Instagram. Since my general interests include personality and mental health, my social media accounts recommend many fascinating pages and articles in both fields. I like it because even though not everything I discover will reflect me, it does help me to understand and be more considerate of others.

And, as I always do when I see a new term, I started researching it.

As I went down the Google rabbit hole, I was completely captivated.

Reading about the characteristics of an HSP, including their strengths and struggles, checked all the boxes for personality traits that I couldn’t categorize as being specific to my introversion or anxiety.

It also allowed me to start reconciling events from my past. Specifically, I started reflecting on the moments I was told I was too sensitive and the missteps I took while trying to deny that part of me.

What Is A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?

Before I continue, let’s get a general idea of an HSP.

Both introverts and extroverts may identify as HSP. This is because HSP goes beyond a specific personality trait and is believed to be rooted in biology and genetics.

Researchers believe that being highly sensitive is linked to an increased sensitivity in our central nervous system. And this increased sensitivity leaves an HSP more open to physical, emotional and social stimuli.

However, the level of sensitivity that an HSP experiences may also tie into their environment.

For example, an HSP child who is encouraged to express their sensitivity may develop differently than one who is discouraged from the same.

And let me make it clear that discouraging displays of sensitivity in a child only makes it more difficult for them to connect and communicate their thoughts and emotions constructively. It does not make them less sensitive.

General Characteristics of an HSP

HSP is a personality trait that you can identify with based on generalized characteristics.

Some of these characteristics include:

  • Emotional to the degree that people may describe you as “too sensitive.”
  • Empathic with the ability to sense others’ emotions and adopt them as your own.
  • Intuitive as having the ability to immediately sense the overall “feel” of a room.
  • Sensitive to external stimuli, whether the stimulus is sound, emotions, light, energy or something physical.
  • Quick to feel tired or overwhelmed during social situations.

There are many more characteristics, so I have provided a few links below to help you find more detailed information.

Remember that when we discuss generalizations, not all the characteristics will fit every HSP to a T. But if you can identify with the overall description, then there is a good chance that you are an HSP.

Is HSP a Mental Illness?

HSP is not a diagnosable condition and is therefore not a mental illness.

Read More | Glossary Of Terms To Support Your Mental Health Journey

Nor should it be considered a sign of poor mental health.

Yes, it comes with some struggles that, in my opinion, are primarily tied to our society discouraging strong displays of emotion.

But it is not an overtly negative trait to have.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Very Well Mind – What Is A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?

Healthline – Being a Highly Sensitive Person Is a Scientific Personality Trait

Highly Sensitive Refuge – 21 Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person

7 signs of a highly sensitive child. The image shows a boy sitting with his head resting on his knees and his arms wrapped around his legs while he stares at the floor.

My Experience Being An HSP In Childhood

I would prefer to share specific examples of when I encountered and struggled with specific HSP characteristics, but I feel that will require longer and deeper consideration. So instead, I am opting to be very broad while sharing my experience as a highly sensitive child.

As with anyone, much of what I experienced in my childhood impacted who I am today.

When I reflect on my elementary school days, specifically, I mainly remember instances of being told I was too sensitive or having an overall feeling of being different, broken and better off alone.

I received criticisms from other students and teachers for my inability to regulate my emotions. This is understandable since I didn’t know how to express my emotions other than through crying.  

To adapt to overstimulation, I often retreated from others and preferred quiet places alone.

I also began to teach myself to hide my feelings, or more specifically, to suppress them.

In my mind, this is the greatest mistake I have made for my overall mental health and happiness.

This is because my unchecked overthinking and overwhelm resulted in panic attacks. They were so common I had even visited the hospital and was tasked with wearing a heart monitor at one point. And though it was determined nothing was physically wrong with me, I assumed I was dying.

I wonder how different it may have been had people accepted that children might have panic attacks.

Thankfully, we know better now.

7 Signs Of A Highly Sensitive Child

I have created this list after reflecting on my experience in hopes that it may help parents and teachers to identify high sensitivity in children.

And to that end, I have endeavoured to explain how each sign may present.

However, keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive as it sticks specifically to my experience.

If you believe your child could be highly sensitive, it may be best to seek a second opinion from a professional trained in supporting highly sensitive children.

Again, HSP is not a diagnosable condition.

However, a psychologist or therapist may be able to offer advice and resources.

  • Constant crying.
    • Yes, all children cry and throw tantrums from time to time. But a highly sensitive child may be seen to cry more often than most and with very little cause.
  • Highly empathetic.
    • Tapping into their intuitive skills, they may sense the feelings of others and be seen to comfort those around them.
  • Adopting the emotions of others.
    • A highly sensitive child may be impacted by the emotions of those around them, often changing their mood accordingly. This change is done completely subconsciously and can be very overwhelming.
  • Feeling uncomfortable in clothes.
    • Again, an HSP is more sensitive to physical stimuli. Whether the discomfort is from the fabric, the fitting or an itchy clothing tag, the child may be difficult to dress or remain clothed.
  • Being very cautious and careful.
    • The highly sensitive may be less likely than other children to charge into a new environment, opting instead to observe first before acting.
  • Seeking solitude and quiet time.
    • A highly sensitive child may often opt for quiet time away from large groups and noisy environments. Solitude removes them from the overwhelming stimuli.
  • Susceptible to panic attacks.
    • Many people assume children do not have the awareness to succumb to panic attacks. But panic attacks do not require much life experience.
    • Many children can experience panic attacks due to overwhelming situations or the inability to share or release their emotions productively.
    • Symptoms of panic attacks include hyperventilation, sweating, trembling, chills, chest pain, nausea and dizziness.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Jenna Fleming Counseling – Traits of a Highly Sensitive Child

Today’s Parent – 9 Signs You Have A Highly Sensitive Kid

What To Expect – Highly Sensitive Child (Toddler)

Free feelings wheels for adults and children  to support highly sensitive people and improve emotional intelligence. The image includes examples of three feelings wheels that I have also provided links to further in the post.

How To Support A Highly Sensitive Child

I grew up in the 90s—when mental health and high sensitivity were not well-discussed or understood. There was a lot less information and research available. And significantly less awareness and widespread professional resources to be found.

That being said, I was supported while growing up as best as possible with the limited information available at the time.

Unfortunately, that support often presented as pushing me to be less shy and less emotional so that I would fit in better.

And this taught me to recognize a significant portion of who I am as a negative thing. Mainly, I was encouraged to suppress rather than utilize my highly sensitive skills.

I earnestly believe that had I learned how to use my skills, I may not have struggled as much with anxiety and would have a better understanding of myself and my emotions.

Thankfully, today there is a wealth of research and information available online to better understand high sensitivity and how we can support an HSP.

5 Practices to Support A Highly Sensitive Person

Using some of the research and resources I have found, I have chosen five practices that I believe would have benefited me as a child.

I have also adopted some of these strategies as an adult to support my own journey.

These practices seek to help an HSP accept themselves, understand their feelings, express their feelings and find healthy, productive ways to handle their high sensitivity.

As always, when we use the term “practice,” we must remember that these things take time, patience, effort and repetition to be effective. It is not a quick, one-and-done solution.

1. Do not encourage children to be less sensitive.

As I stated earlier, discouraging sensitivity does not make anyone less sensitive. Instead, it promotes harmful habits.

I believe much of my anxiety is tied to suppressing my highly sensitive traits.

Humans are emotional creatures, so boys and girls should be encouraged to express their emotions—regardless of whether they are highly sensitive.

2. Encourage children to share when they are struggling with overstimulation, overthinking or feeling overwhelmed.

As a child, these were very heavy feelings for me.

And I still sometimes feel a need to hold them inside, so I don’t burden anyone else.

Like the first practice I mentioned, consistently checking in with the child will encourage them to accept you as a safe person and confirm they are in a safe place for these discussions.

Checking in involves reinforcing that you want to understand by validating their emotions (good and bad) as a positive thing.

If you believe you may not be available to the degree the child may require, there are many outlets that a child can use, such as journaling, exercising, creating art or speaking with a psychologist.

Sharing heavy emotions is a practice that can benefit everyone.

Read More | 5 Steps To Create A Safe Space To Discuss Mental Health

Read More | Why You Should Start Journaling

The next three practices will make use of a feelings or emotions wheel. And I would recommend starting slowly and introducing one practice at a time. You may find free feelings wheels below–I decided to find multiple options so you may choose the wheel that is best for you and the child. If these versions do not speak to you, try searching “Feelings Wheel” or “Emotions Wheel” online. There are also paid versions available on Etsy.

I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey:

Ages 1-4: iMom – The Feel Wheel

Ages 5-12: iMom – Printable Feelings Wheel for Kids and Adults

Ages teen-adult (with additional worksheets): Avan Muijen – The Emotion Wheel

Healthline – How to Use an Emotion Wheel to Get in Touch with All Your Feels

A picture that combine samples of 3 feelings or emotions wheels to provide an example of the free wheels I have provided a link to
Three examples of feelings wheels. The first two are courtesy of imom.com and the third is courtesy of avanmuijen.com. Links to download these wheels for free are provided above.

3. Teach children to name their emotions.

Being able to name an emotion is incredibly empowering.

The vocabulary of emotions is extensive to cover everything we may feel.

However, most people (adults and children alike) limit their wordlist to either feeling happy, sad, angry or fine.

So it is helpful to develop this vocabulary.

Using a feelings wheel, start in the middle and work your way out.

This practice will help a child to narrow down their big feelings.

And once a child understands what they are feeling, they can better communicate their needs.

Practice using the wheel when the child is both calm and upset so they can understand their range of emotions altogether.

4. Connect the emotion to a physical reaction.

At times, our emotions can feel like a puzzle, but our bodies can help us to decode them.

Therefore, it may help a child to learn to connect their physical reactions to their emotions.

Using the feelings wheel, ask the child to point to the wheel and their body.

For example, I know that I feel anger in my chest, sadness in my shoulders, anxiety in my back and nervousness in my legs.

You may also choose to describe to the child where you feel each emotion in your body.

A perk to demonstrating you are also doing this work is that it will help confirm to the child that they are in a safe space to share their experience.

5. Demonstrate positive expressions of emotions.

As I explained earlier, I did not know how to express my emotions as a child apart from crying. I knew since I was a baby that crying gives attention. So whether I was hurt, frustrated, excited or genuinely sad, I would always cry. I simply did not know a better way. And it did not help any caregiver to understand my needs in that moment.

So for this practice, remember that children learn by mirroring and positive reinforcement.

Practicing expressing emotions may provide a resource for the child when they experience that emotion.

To that end, point to the feelings wheel, state your current emotions and demonstrate how you express them through body language.

This practice can include allowing the child to see you cry so that they understand it is okay and genuinely good to cry sometimes.

It can also be useful to show healthy expressions of anger—which do not include shouting or directing anger at the child.

Some healthy expressions of anger are screaming into a pillow, walking away, or opening a conversation in which you explain that you are angry and why.

Use an internet search to find more ideas for expressing different emotions.

These steps will allow the child to identify what they’re feeling. And once the feeling is identified you can consider the cause and find a solution together.

Again, it is helpful to start by introducing the wheel before identifying the physical reaction and adding the element of expressing emotions last.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful). This list is in no particular order:

The Gottman Institute – An Age-By-Age Guide to Helping Kids Manage Emotions

Very Well Family – 8 Discipline Strategies for Parenting a Sensitive Child

The Highly Sensitive Child – 10 Things A Highly Sensitive Child Needs To Be Happy

Raising Children – Understanding And Managing Emotions: Children And Teenagers

Beyond Blue – Managing Emotions

Parents – 4 Big Emotions To Talk About With Little Kids

The Pragmatic Parent – 7 Ways to Help Kids Identify Feelings & Control Emotions

Hi Mama – Teaching Emotions To Young Children: Tips And Tricks

Proud To Be Primary – Emotions for Kids

The Perks Of High Sensitivity

Having taken time to reflect on my past and learning strategies to use my high sensitivity effectively, I have decided that there are more positive than negative aspects to an HSP personality.

For example:

  • I have the ability to make connections with others very quickly.
  • I can be a source of sympathy for people.
  • I value emotions and can assist others in understanding theirs.
  • I also have a way with relaxing others emotions (though I’m still trying to figure out how this works).
  • And as a teacher, I can connect with my English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students beyond words.

Sensitivity and intuition kind of feel like superpowers!

I still have a lot to learn and hope to share more as I do.

The struggles of growing up as a highly sensitive person. The image includes a solo woman resting against a wall and looking off to the left

If you like this post, please like this post.

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If you are a highly sensitive person, what struggles did you face growing up? And what helped you to accept and grow your high sensitivity skills?

Let me know in the comments below!

5 Steps to Create a Safe Space to Discuss Mental Health

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, psychologist, therapist or similar. This blog offers ideas, tools, strategies and recommendations based on my experience with anxiety, panic attacks and mental health. I do not guarantee any results or outcomes as strategies that have worked for me may not work for you. For diagnosis and treatment of any physical and mental health condition, consult a licensed professional.

As someone who has created a blog to share my mental health journey, I am grateful that people are becoming more receptive to mental health discussions.

Read More | 7 Strategies for Coping With Morning Anxiety

However, I recognize mental health awareness and acceptance are still relatively new. And I have noticed that many people lack the skills or understanding of how to engage in these conversations.

But I don’t want to use that as a criticism.

Man and woman in their safe space overlooking a forested mountain side

I was born in the 80s and raised believing that mental health conversations are taboo. We shouldn’t talk about it, we shouldn’t ask about it, and we should pretend it doesn’t exist.

It’s a difficult mindset to break, even more so without tools or guidance.

This difficulty is felt by those working on their mental health and those who want to support them.

In this post, I want to outline the skills necessary for discussing mental health and how to use them to create a safe space.

3 Key Skills for Discussing Mental Health

The main skills you need for discussing and understanding mental health are:

  1. Empathy: the ability to emotionally understand an experience from another’s viewpoint.
  2. Openness: the ability to be unbiased, honest and receptive to another’s experience.
  3. Consideration: the ability to think of and care for the feelings and needs of others.

These skills are required for both processing and supporting mental health. This means that both participants must practice these skills to have an effective conversation.

You will need to break your current mindset before you can develop these skills.

How Not To Discuss Mental Health

A common mistake I have experienced is people assuming that being open to mental health discussions warrants immediate permission.

Permission to do what?

Well, first, permission to ask questions.

This is a double-edged sword. Asking questions is acceptable because it shows your willingness to learn more about someone. But it’s very easy for questions to slip into inappropriate territory.

Second, permission to know sensitive details.

A relationship should not hinge on how deeply a person shares their history. There is no requirement for someone to share their trauma. And no time limit that earns the right to further details.

Third, permission to share.

In this case, I am referring to instances when a third party expects information that was shared in confidence. For example, the third party could express their desire for information in statements like “I just want to know more about them” or “what are they dealing with?”

I want to be very explicit and say that you do not have the right to know, and I do not have the right to tell you about someone else’s mental health diagnosis or history.

Before reading further, try to release these assumptions from your mind.

How to Practice Empathy, Openness and Consideration When Discussing Mental Health

A.      Remember that mental health is one aspect of who we are.

Though it can be a significant part and hold a lot of sway over our lives, we are not our diagnosis.

B.      Understand that discussing mental health is not easy.

It’s legitimately scary.

When someone reveals their trauma or vulnerabilities, they are leaving themselves exposed.

And no one wants to be left vulnerable or open to further harm.

C.      Appreciate that being an ally for mental health requires work, trust and protection.

You can’t back out if you opt to be there for someone. They will rely on you.

At the same time, you cannot expect them to trust or open up to you quickly.

You must demonstrate again and again that you can be trusted.

D.     Accept that this is a give-and-take relationship.

Both parties must willingly participate and make an effort.

If your effort is not being reciprocated, then end the discussion.

And understand that just because you want to share your history does not mean the other person must do so.

E.      Recognize that all mental health discussions must take place in a safe space.

A safe space is crucial for offering a sense of protection.

It will also give both parties a clear understanding of how to participate in these difficult discussions.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Mental Health America – Time To Talk: Tips For Talking About Your Mental Health

CAMH – Addressing Stigma

McLean Hospital – Let’s Face It, No One Wants To Talk About Mental Health

What Is a Safe Space?

A safe space is an area (whether a physical or social environment) in which a person feels free to be themselves. This means the space is welcoming, accepting, and free from bias, criticisms and risks of physical or emotional harm. And can include acceptance of different values, sexuality, mental health, etc. 

For this post, I will focus on the social environment in a safe space and how to create it for mental health discussions.

If you are interested in reading more about physical safe spaces, check out these posts from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Very Well Mind – How To Create Your Own ‘Safe Space’

Thrive – How to Create Your Own Safe Space at Home

My Peer Toolkit – Creating a safe space (This information is focused on young people)

A socially safe space is a comfortable environment for open discussions.

It is also an environment where a person feels safe to decline or selectively participate in certain topics.

Essentially, we want to create an environment where a person knows that we are here when they want to talk and will respect them when they don’t.

A safe space is something we build together.

It requires both parties to offer security, trust and openness.

And it takes time, effort and vulnerability to maintain.

An X symbol to denote what a safe space is not.

It is not something you are entitled to because of your relationship or because you are a nice person.

It is also not a tit-for-tat exchange. You cannot expect someone to share their deepest secret because you felt comfortable sharing yours.

Understand and accept that everyone will share what they can when they can. And remember to appreciate the trust they have in you.

Tips to Create a Safe Environment to Discuss Mental Health

“We don’t create a safe space for someone. Instead, we create a safe space with someone.”

– Ryan Tan, Samaritans of Singapore

1.      Verbally State Your Intentions

Have a conversation to establish that you want to create a safe space with the person you are talking to.

And I recognize this can be easier said than done, so try planning for this conversation.

First, think of why you have chosen this person:

  • What is your current relationship?
  • What do you want your relationship to be?
  • Why do you feel safe with them? (Think of specific examples.)
  • What do you want to share with them (i.e., your experience or support)?

Read More | Why You Should Start Journaling

You don’t have to tell the person why you chose them, but you need to understand why you did.

Why you chose them will determine how you broach the topic and how hard you are willing to work on creating this safe space.

Second, choose and rehearse the words you want to use.

This is a meaningful discussion. You don’t need a prepared speech. But you will want to organize your thoughts so they don’t come out as confusing word vomit.

  • How will you start the conversation? Will you be direct and to the point or feel things out first?
  • How could you transition a conversation into this discussion?
  • Why do you want to build a safe space with them?
  • Might this conversation make them uncomfortable? How can you make it easier?
  • How can you clarify that you are open to discussing mental health without suggesting criticism?

One thing I will caution is not to approach someone and say that you want to discuss their mental health.

Focus on the prize of building a safe space together to serve both your journeys. And yes, being a support system is its own journey.

An infographic for the 5 steps to create a safe environment to discuss mental health: 1. Verbally State Your Intentions. 2. Establish Boundaries. 3. Do Not Disclose Too Much Too Fast 4. Build Trust 5. Reinforce Your Safe Space

2.      Establish Boundaries

Once you have opened the discussion to create a safe space, it’s time for the work to begin.

Boundaries are the main area where your empathy, openness and consideration skills will converge.

Remember that a safe space offers security, inclusion and respect.

And boundaries are the guidelines we share to protect ourselves and respect others. We may also consider them as a means of relaying our needs.

Some examples of boundaries that may create a safe space are:

  • Do not lie to me.
  • Do not share my story with others.
  • Tell me when you are uncomfortable sharing.
  • Understand that when I cannot share, it is not because I don’t trust you.

Again, these are just examples.

Your boundaries will be specific to your needs. They can be based on your personal history and current relationship with the person and be subject to change.

Four factors to establishing boundaries in a safe space:

  1. Consider what you need in a safe space and set it as a boundary.
  2. Verbally state your boundaries to ensure your needs are clear.
  3. Be open to accepting the boundaries set by the other person.
  4. Discuss and negotiate if your boundaries clash (i.e., you have opposing needs that may leave one or both of you uncomfortable).

When negotiating boundaries, keep in mind you are creating a safe space for each other.

Negotiating boundaries can take a lot of work and compromise.

Just remember why you wanted this safe space and give it the effort it deserves.

And know it may not be easy, but this conversation is crucial.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Psych Central – 10 Ways to Build and Preserve Better Boundaries

Real Simple – This Is What It Looks Like to Set Personal and Emotional Boundaries

3.      Do Not Disclose Too Much Too Fast

You’ve discussed your desire to create a safe space and have established boundaries. So it may feel like it’s time to tell your life story. Not so fast!

It can feel exciting to have someone you can share with. But being too open comes with many downsides.

First, you don’t want to trauma dump on others.

And this could be done by either party. Sometimes an ally will dump their whole history to encourage the other person to share theirs. But while you may feel a sense of relief, you have now burdened or possibly hurt the other person.

Instead, start learning how to discuss trauma constructively. This includes finding a balance between under-sharing and oversharing. And allow room for the other person to assert their boundaries and protect their well-being.

Second, oversharing very quickly does not demonstrate trust.

Instead, it can be perceived as attention-seeking behaviour.

Consider a safe space like it’s an unknown body of water. You don’t know how deep it is. And if you dive right in, you may end up hurt or appear untrustworthy for being reckless.

Treat this space with care.

Third, you never want to give the impression that you would share this personal information with just anyone.

On the contrary, demonstrate that this information is something that you keep close and only share with select people.

Build trust slowly by sharing information in small doses over a few conversations.

This will also go a long way in creating a trusted, safe space.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Psych Central – Trauma Dumping: Why Considering the Impact of Oversharing Matters

Very Well Mind – When Oversharing Turns into Trauma Dumping, and How to Stop

Forbes – There Is A Clear Line Between Oversharing And Being Authentic — Here’s How To Avoid Crossing It

4.      Build Trust

You want to demonstrate both your trust and trustworthiness.

Showing trust does not only mean being vulnerable. Vulnerability is actually something you work towards. And you cannot be genuinely vulnerable before building a foundation of trust.

How do you build trust?

  • Be honest and reliable.
  • Be open with what you are comfortable sharing.
  • Demonstrate you feel secure with stopping a conversation if you are uncomfortable.
  • Verbally assert your current boundaries and open a discussion when you want to change them.
  • Listen and show understanding.
  • Let the other person know you appreciate their trust and confidence.
  • Ensure your actions align with your words.
  • Do not offer solutions, criticize or dismiss an experience.

Once you gain trust, never discussing what you have been told in confidence with or around a third party is crucial. This includes alluding to or hinting at having private information.

I’m not sure why some people do this. Perhaps they are bragging about having a close relationship. Or maybe they wrongly assume this shows they won’t tell anyone specific details. I honestly don’t know.

But it’s best to keep the fact that you are a trusted confidant a secret.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Talk Space – How to Make Every Space a Safe Space

Positive Psychology – 10 Ways To Build Trust in a Relationship

5.      Reinforce Your Safe Space

Remember that the safe space is for both of you. You will want to share your feelings and follow up with the other person.

Check in to ensure the space still feels safe and comfortable to all parties involved.

  • If any boundaries need to be changed, adjust them.
  • If the discussions have been too difficult, ask to take a step back.
  • If trust has been bent or broken, discuss it.

How often you check in depends on your relationship and how frequently you discuss difficult topics.

It’s also important to check in on the other person whenever you feel unsure about something.

For example, I’ve experienced moments when I was unsure if I had pushed against a boundary. Once I realized I may have made a mistake, I would state, “Please let me know if I’m being too much or if you feel uncomfortable.”

Again, maintaining a safe space requires constant work. But keeping communication focused on consideration for each other will make the work easier.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Ourselves Black – Breaking The Stigma: 4 Ways To Start The Mental Health Conversation

Think Mental Health – How to start the conversation

Sage Thinking – Creating Safe Spaces for Courageous Conversations

The Ladders – How to make every space a safe space

How Boundaries May Change in A Safe Space

You may be wondering why I keep mentioning adjusting or changing boundaries.

The ability to change boundaries is what makes a space safe.

Your comfort with and trust in the other person will be ever-evolving.

I will outline three possible stages in maintaining a safe space from the perspective of someone sharing their trauma. This will give you an idea of what it could look like.

However, everyone’s journey is different, so please do not judge your safe space against these examples.

In stage one, you may feel very guarded and unsure if this person is safe. You know that you want to tryto create a close relationship, but you also want to protect yourself.

You will likely have rigid boundaries using “do not” or “cannot” wording. This is because telling others what is not acceptable to you provides protection.

In stage two, the other person has demonstrated they are trustworthy. You may begin to feel secure but not yet ready to open up fully.

This is a good time to re-assess and discuss your boundaries.

Perhaps you will change your boundaries from “do not” rules into “if I’m feeling [emotion], I will/won’t [action]” statements. This tells the other person that you feel more comfortable exploring difficult topics and secure with showing some vulnerability.

In stage three, you may feel confident that you are in a truly safe space. This doesn’t mean that you will be an open book. Instead, it means that you will clearly understand what you can and want to share.

You will still have boundaries. And some may still use “do not” wording, and others may still include if/then statements. But maybe you will create a new personal boundary for yourself to follow.

It is also possible that someone may downgrade from stage 2 to stage 1. This could result from a problem in the safe space or an external factor.

It’s important to understand that a safe space will always require boundaries. And that’s a good thing.

Try to remain empathetic, open and considerate.

How to discuss mental health. 5 tips to create a safe environment.

Summary

If you are new to discussing mental health, I hope you will find this information useful. Just having an interest in starting these conversations is an excellent first step. Remember that being a support system requires a lot of discussions, effort and patience with minimal reward. You will make mistakes. And you may never understand how someone feels or the full details of their journey. But it means a lot to anyone working on their mental health to know that someone is there or wants to be there.

Takeaways

  • Try to release negative and harmful assumptions about mental health from your mind.
  • Focus on creating a safe space and understand what that looks like.
  • Start working on your empathy, openness and consideration skills.
  • Use empathy to understand that sharing information can be difficult and takes time.
  • Also, respect that you may never get full details and that’s okay.
  • Use openness to talk to your person and let them tell you what they need from you.
  • Never assume you know what is best.
  • Use consideration to create and respect boundaries.
  • And understand that it is not disrespectful when a person does not open up to you.
  • Keep trying not by asking or demanding more answers, but rather by asserting I am here if you need to talk.

Did I miss any negative assumptions about mental health? Also, as a safe space will look different for everyone, please share your opinion in the comments on how to create a safe space.

60 Hobbies For Introverts Seeking Calm and Focus

Introduction

During the pandemic, I was still living in South Korea. I had a small group of friends that I was very close with. But through 2021, restrictions got tight, and I went months without seeing them.

It was a bit of a bittersweet period to be an introvert. I could fully enjoy a level of alone time that I had always craved. But at some point, it also got to be super dull. Back then, I only had about four hobbies/pastimes, one of which was travelling and exploring new areas of Korea. Therefore, it was an exciting opportunity to learn and dedicate real time to developing new skills.

And I still feel inspired by that time to continue seeking new interests. Which brings me to this list of perfect pastimes, activities and hobbies for introverts. The list is a combination of hobbies I have tried and some still on my to-do list.

But why do we need a separate list of hobbies for introverts? Well, introverts can partake in any activity, sport or crowded event. But this list is intended for those hours when introverts need the calm and focus that solo hobbies offer.

Some of the suggested hobbies will require a class to start. I tried to narrow the list to pursuits that typically offer small group classes for beginners and may be done alone after that. Depending on your introversion level, this may either encourage or dissuade you from trying these hobbies.

| Read More: 10 Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone

Pinterest Image: 60 Hobbies For Introverts

The list is split into themes so you can quickly skip to the category that interests you. Each hobby has a brief description and details of the cost, interactions and learning methods.

Explanation of the cost, interactions and learn classifications.

Cost: This considers initial costs to get started and how expensive the hobby can be over time. Some hobbies offer a price range to let you choose the best option for your wallet.

  • $: Free to <$300
  • $$: $300 to <$1,000
  • $$$: $1,000+

Interactions: This indicates the estimated level of face-to-face interactions associated with this hobby. Many will have an optional level of interaction (indicated by “or”) so you can choose what you are comfortable with. Some will depend on whether a beginner’s class is required (indicated by “,”).

  • Solo: A solo hobby
  • Limited: Some interactions including quiet classes or occasionally visiting shops
  • Heavy: Many interactions including heavily interactive classes or often visiting shops

Learn: Suggestions of various venues and mediums where you may learn the hobby.

Craft image displaying ribbon, scissors, thread, bows and clothes pins
© Pixelshot via Canva.com

Art, Crafts and DIY

This selection of introverted hobbies may also allow you to sell your products. At first glance, that may seem like an awful idea as it will require a lot of interactions. However, most sales may be made online, so it will only require communication via email. You may also try to sell items through an online shop like Etsy or Shopify to create a third-party barrier should that aid your comfort level.

1.    Photography

There are many branches of photography that may interest you. For example a photography hobby may include fashion, architecture, travel, landscape, portraits, and many more. I prefer nature photography, which is why every post on my website includes one of my nature photos. It may be done at home, around your town or in the wilderness. You may invest in a professional camera or take photos on your phone. You may also work alone or include friends or subjects.

Cost: $-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Articles, Books

2.    Painting

Whether you want to paint murals, abstract pictures or graffiti, painting is incredibly relaxing. If you are curious about trying it for the first time but don’t want to spend much money, paint-by-number is very popular once again. Or, if you already enjoy painting but feel like you’re in a slump, a motivating painter challenge is to recreate a famous painting in your style. Or try experimenting with new techniques. The expense of painting will depend on your chosen medium. Online painting classes and tutorials are widely available. One option to keep your painting hobby inexpensive would be to paint on sketch paper before painting on canvas.

Cost: $$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Online or In-Person Class, Instagram

3.    Ceramics

Pottery is a difficult art form for first timers to attempt solo. This mainly has to do with the equipment (the cost of the wheel and kiln alone are hefty); therefore, a ceramics class will be the best option to get you started. Once you know the basics, try to find a local community kiln that you may use. My city has a ceramics shop open to all ceramicists/potters/throwers to pay a monthly fee and use their facilities. But they do require a class to be completed before a membership will be issued. If you really enjoy this hobby, you may invest in the equipment and be able to do create at home.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: In-Person Class, YouTube

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Pottery Crafters – Is Pottery An Expensive Hobby?

4.    Calligraphy

Calligraphy or lettering is art created with decorative handwriting. It may be practiced following YouTube tutorials, and free worksheets are available online. The cost of this hobby will depend on the pens you choose to use: felt tip pens, fountain pens or dip pens. To experiment before you buy, hacks on YouTube can teach you how to do lettering with just a regular marker. With practice, you can make artistic signs, creative bullet journals, and write letters with your calligraphy skills.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Tutorials, YouTube, Instagram, Worksheets

5.    Perfume Making

Perfume making is a diverse hobby. Perhaps you may be interested in learning the history of perfume making and the science behind fragrance mixing. Or maybe you are allergic to scents (as I am) and want to DIY a natural perfume that won’t trigger your allergies. Using essential oils, natural fragrances and a little experimentation, you can create unique scents. There are kits to get you started on your new hobby and various websites that provide tips and tricks. The expense of this hobby will depend on how far you decide to dive in. And this hobby may be learned in total seclusion or with a friend.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Kit, Reddit, Blogs

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Hobby Know How – Complete Guide To Perfume Making As A Hobby

6.    Soap Making

A popular pastime for those looking for natural soaps or who have sensitive skin. This hobby will allow you to experiment with the ingredients, fragrances and soap making process. You can also be creative with various soap moulds and designs. How you create your soap will vary, so it’s possible to keep this a cheap hobby. The ingredients for making soap are also readily available at many craft stores. You can begin with kits before investing in the ingredients. Soap making will require the use of caustic substances so be careful.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Kit, Reddit, Blogs, YouTube

I have no affiliation with these websites, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Discover A Hobby – Learn About Soap Making

| Learn More: Crafts Bliss – Is Soap Making An Expensive Hobby

7.    Candle Making

The process of candle making may help you to re-establish your calm, while lighting the candle can help you to unwind. Even the learning process is beneficial as candle-making videos are very relaxing. Once you begin, you may learn to create various designs, sizes and wax melt. Or perhaps you are interested in experimenting with scents and different wicks. The materials for this hobby are available in hobby shops and craft stores. Please keep in mind that you will be dealing with hot wax on a stove so take proper precautions not to injure yourself.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Kit, Reddit, Blogs, YouTube, Books

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Pro Flowers – How To Make Candles In 8 Easy Steps

8.    Knitting And Crochet

Knitting and crochet are hobbies for the young and old alike. I often hear that crochet is easier than knitting, but as is my lot in life, I have found the complete opposite to be true. This means that either option is a great place to start. Learn from your grandparents, parents, friends, a book or a YouTube video. Patterns and yarn are readily available in stores and online. A downside to this hobby is that you will need various needle and hook sizes for different projects, which can add up quite quickly. Before committing to an array of sizes, try a US size 8 needle or 5 mm hook. You will be able to create a variety of designs with this size while deciding if the hobby is for you. I would also recommend buying yarn in person to ensure you like the colour and feel.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: YouTube, Books, Tutorials

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Knitting Knowledge – Knitting Vs Crochet

9.    Pyrography (Wood Burning)

Pyrography or wood burning is an art form. You can burn portraits, designs and letters onto wood using specialized tools. It is a very slow hobby requiring patience and a steady hand to create the designs. But it is will also allow you to challenge your artistic side and craft cool gifts for special occasions. There are books and YouTube videos to get you started. The cost of the hobby is dependent on both the tools and wood. A beginner’s kit should include the pyrography pen. A class is not required, but be cautious when handling and storing the pen.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: YouTube, Kits, Books, Tutorials

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: M. M. Newman – Essential Wood Burning Tool Tips For Your Next Pyrography Project

10.  Scrapbooking and Card Making

Paper crafts will always be popular, ensuring the tools and materials will always be available. Scrapbooking makes an excellent keepsake for all your interests and adventures. It doesn’t only have to be for personal photos as you may also scrapbook for your favourite band, book or TV show. And card making will allow you to donate cards to charities such as assisted living facilities and military service members. Free videos and paid classes are available online. This is an expensive hobby. Aside from the cost of paper are all the stamps, stencils, die cuts, and tools you will need. However, some companies offer kits with all the materials you may need to create a few designs.

Cost: $$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: YouTube, Kits, Online Class

11.  Quilting

Quilting is an excellent enterprise for anyone interested in sewing. You can start with small projects and progress into creating quilted blankets and wall hangings. It will require time and patience to complete your projects, so it is not a desirable hobby for anyone who needs quick results. Quilting is an expensive hobby as material, thread, a sewing machine and accessories are required. Also, a long-arm quilting machine may be required for more elaborate designs. Some companies in Canada provide long-arm quilting services, so check if similar services are offered near you.

Cost: $$$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: YouTube, Online Class, Books, Reddit

12.  3D Printing

If you’re looking for a technical hobby that will provide both fun and practical results, 3D printing is it! You can create projects for your fandom or everyday household items. There is a learning curve that will keep the hobby interesting. This hobby will require many skills and a lot of trial and error. The cost varies greatly depending on the material and design being printed, and the type of 3D printer if you choose to purchase one. The hobby will require limited interactions if you do not purchase your own printer. Please be aware that the machines can be dangerous if not handled and cleaned correctly.

Cost: $$$-$$$$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: Books, Blogs, YouTube

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Printing It 3D – Is 3D Printing A Fun Hobby?

| Learn More: Printing It 3D – How Hard is 3D Printing?

13.  Repairing Items

Here is another worthwhile hobby for anyone who enjoys taking things apart to understand how they work. Taking apart electronics to clean or replace parts and then rebuild them is a popular hobby. The objects that you want or need to repair can be found around your home, borrowed from your friends’ homes or purchased from thrift stores. Therefore the cost of the hobby is relatively manageable aside from the tools you will need (predominantly screwdrivers and cleaning materials) plus the replacement parts. Repairing electronics is also a hobby that can earn you money. The level of interactions will depend on where and how you find objects to repair.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: YouTube, Books, Reddit

14.  Furniture Restoration

Taking drabby-looking furniture and giving it a new life is both fascinating and creative. Restoring furniture requires a lot of tough hands-on work. Perhaps you will be stripping paint, sanding wood or reupholstering chairs. YouTube is an excellent resource for seeing step-by-step tutorials for repairing furniture. When considering the cost of this hobby, it is essential to factor in the materials needed to make the repairs and how much you could sell the refurbished furniture for. Many people will sell old furniture for significantly reduced costs depending on its condition. And once you’ve made it beautiful again, you may increase the value of that piece. To accumulate furniture and materials will require many in-person interactions. However, the restoration work may be completed solo.

Cost: $$$

Interactions: Solo, Heavy

Learn: YouTube, Books, Reddit

15.  Homebrew Wine and Beer

Kits to create your own wine and beer can be found in many specialty shops. Starter kits include all the equipment, ingredients and instructions you need to start brewing. And after you get familiar with the craft, you can leap into creating your signature brews. You can also be creative with designing labels for your bottled product. Remember that you cannot legally sell homemade wine or beer in Canada, but you may gift it.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Kit, Books

16.  Thrifting and Upcycling

If you are interested in helping the planet, ending fast fashion and reducing items sent to landfills, upcycling is the perfect hobby for you! Yes, you will need to leave your house to venture out to a thrift store. However, thrift stores are an excellent place to shop with limited interactions. You will want to look closely through every item available at a thrift store, which takes time. Therefore the staff will usually leave you alone to search through the shelves and racks. Try to look for the potential behind each item, whether you want to refurbish it or create a new art project. Thrifting is a low-cost hobby unless you are looking for vintage pieces.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Tutorials

17.  Special Effects (SFX) Make-Up

Ideas and inspiration for make-up can be found everywhere. Whether you are interested in the artistry of make-up or are a movie fan, learning how to create SFX is a mesmerizing hobby. You can use books and online tutorials to apply make-up to your face and body or purchase a practice head. Everyday make-up is not cheap, so you will find SFX make-up some of the most expensive on the market. However, face and body paint kits for beginners are available. Materials are available online.

Cost: $$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Tutorials, Books

18.  Musical Instrument

Assuming you are patient and willing to practice, learning to play a musical instrument is one of the most relaxing hobbies you can try. Most beginner sets will come with a music book and guide for learning the notes. Depending on your chosen instrument, you may also find music pages online for your favourite songs. The cost of this hobby will depend on which instrument you choose. Some appealing instruments to try if you are anxious are piano/keyboard, kalimba, ukulele and steel tongue drum. You may choose to learn alone or take private lessons.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo or Heavy

Learn: By Doing, Online/In-Person Class, Books

Laptop with floating icons demonstrating learning
© Anyaberkut via Canva.com

Education

Some of the educational hobbies I will mention will take you into exploring nature and ecosystems. To ensure such pursuits are not damaging to the environment, please ensure you stick to observing rather than collecting samples or removing animals from their natural habitats.

19.  Language Learning

Depending on your goals, you cannot learn a new language entirely alone. To practice your pronunciation and communication skills (listening and speaking), you should practice with another student or native speaker. That being said, the basics can be learned alone so you can become proficient in reading and writing. Learning the alphabet, vocabulary, grammar and simple expressions can be done with a good textbook. For tips and tricks for learning a new language, try to find some polyglots (multilingual people) to follow online and ask questions on a site like Quora. Some interesting languages to try as a native English speaker are French, Spanish, Korean, and American Sign Language.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: Textbooks, Online/In-Person Class, Quora, YouTube

20.  Genealogy or Ancestry

Genealogy and ancestry are the studies of family history and lineage. These are excellent hobbies for researchers and anyone interested in learning about their heritage or tracing the lineage of a famous family. As a hobby, genealogy does not require DNA testing. Instead, it can be accomplished through reading old letters and diaries, searching for images and videos, and collecting family records. The information could be used to create a family tree or a history book to share with your family. This will remain an inexpensive hobby unless you seek professional help, including subscription websites and DNA testing.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Books, Websites, Blogs, Subscriptions

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

|Learn More: Smarter Hobby – Genealogy for Beginners

21.  Amateur Astronomy

I think it’s part of human nature to be fascinated by the sky and the space beyond. An amateur astronomist can study the sky to learn more about what’s out there. Stargazing may be done with a dark sky and binoculars or a telescope. As most cities have too much light pollution to see the stars, this hobby will also give you an excellent excuse to get out of town. Along with researching NASA’s website, you can learn about astronomy by joining online groups. Perhaps you’ll even make a discovery and get to name it! Astronomy is a low-cost hobby to start and will depend on how much you are willing to invest in stargazing materials.

Cost: $-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Websites, Books, Blogs, Reddit

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Sky And Telescope – Astronomy for Beginners

22.  Botany

Botany is a branch of science dedicated to studying plants (my apologies to any botanists for oversimplifying their area of study). However, botany can also be a hobby. From reading various plant books, keeping photographs, maps, and diagrams, to partaking in botanical expeditions, a botany hobby can allow you to learn and explore flora from around the world. I will encourage anyone exploring this hobby to leave their collections as photographs and hand-drawn diagrams rather than taking samples. Perhaps you may also be interested in creating a journal with images and notes of your observations to make this a creative hobby. For beginners, a lot of free information for your research may be found online.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Websites, Books, Blogs, Reddit

23.  Birdwatching

Classic and simple. Birdwatching can be done from home or out in nature. It is a very quiet and patient hobby. Start with birds around your area. Purchase a book because it’s a faster and more portable resource than searching online. Most birding books will include a reference guide with excellent pictures, details of the birds, areas they can be found and other interesting information. You may choose to purchase binoculars or a camera with a high-powered lens. Or you may simply sit and document your observations.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Books, Online Live Feeds, Forums

24.  Herping

If you are someone who likes snakes, lizards, frogs, salamanders, turtles, etc., this is right up your alley! Herping will take you outside in search of reptiles and amphibians. Start by learning about these creatures in your area, and perhaps, one day, it will give you an excuse to trek around the world. It is relatively cost-effective as you don’t require many materials. And there is a strong online community for herpetology and herping.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Websites, Books, Reddit

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Cornell Wildlife Health Lab – What The Heck Is Herping?

Roast chicken potatoes and greens being removed from an oven
© Nerudol via Canva.com

Food

Everyone loves food! Whether you wish to share your culinary skills or horde them, these hobbies are fun, delicious and practical.

25.  Baking

Baking is comforting, from mixing ingredients to the smell wafting from the oven to eating the goodies while they’re still warm. Is there anything better? Many YouTube channels show the step-by-step baking process for those learning to bake for the first time. Follow the tutorials and see where your new passion will take you! If you’re an avid baker, try to give yourself a challenge, such as baking your way through a recipe book or doing theme baking. What could you bake for an adventure theme?

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Recipe Books, Kits, YouTube, Pinterest, Blogs, In-Person or Online Classes

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: This Is Money – The Great Bargain Bake Off

26.  Cooking

I am not a good cook. I cook to keep myself alive, but I neither enjoy it nor make mouth-watering meals. However, I have a desire to get better. And knowing myself, a cooking class will serve me best as it will hold me accountable. For others who are not oversized children, you may find a world of recipes and tutorials online to get you started on your cooking hobby. Similar to baking, you could challenge yourself to cook your way through a recipe book, try a 30-day, 30 meals challenge or seek new prep meal ideas. This hobby’s expense will depend on the cost of ingredients and cooking equipment. When choosing your equipment, consider what you are paying for and how often you will use it. The most expensive equipment is not always the best so do your research.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo or Heavy

Learn: Cookbooks, YouTube, Blogs, In-Person or Online Classes

27.  Grilling

Contrary to popular opinion, grilling can be done year-round if you are dedicated enough. Even in the freezing depths of winter, an avid griller may be willing to spark up their grill. Take ideas from grilling websites and cookbooks and try experimenting with different types of food to create your own specialties. Grilling allows you to make a small amount of food, so it is an excellent hobby to feed one person. It is also mindful and educational. An electric grill is very affordable, but meat can be expensive. Take proper safety precautions and do not use an outdoor grill inside. 

Cost: $$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Cookbooks, YouTube, Blogs, Reddit

I have no affiliation with these websites, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: ATGrills – Can Grilling Be A Hobby?

| Learn More: BBQ Reboot – Grilling! The Best Hobby You Can Have

28.  Can and Preserve Food

Preserving food is valuable for areas where certain foods are only available seasonally. Preserves also make excellent gifts. To begin preserving and canning food, you will want to invest in the appropriate recipe books. Materials for canning can be found in your kitchen or purchased at a grocery store. The cost of the hobby is offset by the savings you will accrue for not having to buy imported fruits and vegetables or toss spoiled produce.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Cookbooks, YouTube, Blogs, Podcasts

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Money Crashers – Home Canning 101

Man taking a rest from backpacking, sitting on a rock and looking into the distance
© Pexels–2286921 via Canva.com

Nature and Trekking

Yes, trekking offers many hobbies for introverts. However, if you are trekking alone, be sure to give your route and location to someone, check in with a park ranger (or similar), follow trails and have some form of tracking or emergency device. Put safety first, and then have fun! Also, please leave nature as undisturbed as possible so that your hobby does not negatively impact the environment. 

29.  Gardening

I live in Canada, so it can feel like gardening is a limited-time activity, but not necessarily. Aside from creating a beautiful garden outdoors, you may also wish to venture into creating your own greenhouse or an indoor garden. Having a lot of thriving green around the house can lighten the spirit. And should you choose to grow vegetables or herbs, you may save a little on your grocery bill. I will warn that if you have pets or young children in your home, give special attention to the types of plants you grow. This hobby has a lot of front-end costs that pay off as you go so I consider it to be inexpensive. You may need to interact with nursery staff to learn about and purchase materials for your plants.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: YouTube, Blogs, TikTok, Podcasts

30.  Tree Shaping

Tree shaping is a slow hobby that will allow you to grow trees into artistic shapes. It is also called arborsculpture. Research and practice will be needed to learn how to graft, bend and shape the tree into your desired shape. It can take years to realize your design fully. Young trees and simple gardening tools are required for this art form. I was not able to find clear details on how expensive this hobby may be. However, as it requires regular gardening tools, it appears to be low-cost.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: Books, Blogs

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Gardening Know How – Arborsculpture Gardens

31.  Beekeeping

This is a hobby I am fascinated by but cannot partake in due to a phobia and my allergy to beeswax. Beekeeping involves creating a hive and caring for a honeybee colony. Apart from producing honey, beekeeping is educational, rewarding for the environment, and is described as incredibly calming. As you will be caring for other creatures, I strongly advise you to get in touch with a local beekeeper to learn everything you must do. The materials needed for beekeeping will be an investment so they may also give advice on where to get the best items for your money. Fair warning, stings will happen, but maybe consider them lovebites.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Limited

Learn: Blogs, Articles, Books, Local Beekeepers

32.  Geocaching

Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt that allows you to belong to a community without interacting with others face-to-face. A cache is a waterproof container with either a logbook or a trinket inside. You will need a navigation system (like a GPS or compass) to locate the geocache and good walking or hiking shoes. Many websites allow you to purchase the map to their geocache or log the geocaches you find. You also have the option of creating a geocache for others to find. All interactions may be done online unless you choose to invite friends along.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: Blogs, Websites, Reddit

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Human Kinetics – Learn About The Benefits of Geocaching

33.  Benchmarking

A benchmark is any kind of reference marker used to indicate an elevation. As a hobby, people will search for and record these benchmarks. Benchmarking is a geocaching branch requiring similar items (GPS, map, compass, etc.). Information for finding benchmarks is readily available online with websites dedicated to the hobby. It is low-cost and allows you to venture around your country.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: Blogs, Websites, Reddit

I have no affiliation with these websites, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Coast Defense – The Benchmark Hunting Hobby

| Learn More: Geocaching – Benchmark Hunting

34.  Hiking and Snowshoeing

Hiking may be accomplished on any trails that are available near you. Sometimes hiking trails can take you around the outskirts of your city, or you may pursue challenging courses across your country. Snowshoeing is a similar hobby, except it may be done anywhere there is snow. Both are incredibly mindful activities that provide a challenge and sense of accomplishment. Equipment includes boots, snowshoes, backpack, walking poles (optional), comfortable clothes and a first aid kit.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Blogs, Instagram, Books, YouTube

35.  Camping

Whether for a day, week, month or longer, camping in the woods is a great experience. Nothing beats the relaxation of rain dripping on the tent (assuming it’s a good waterproof tent). Plus, you can enjoy other camping activities, including swimming, hiking and a campfire. Camping is not a cheap hobby and requires a lot of equipment. Ask to borrow from friends for your first excursion. You may also try camping in your backyard before planning an overnight trip.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: YouTube, Blogs, Instagram, Podcasts

36.  Foraging

This hobby will take a lot of careful research. Some plants are very poisonous, and you must pay special attention to ensure they are correctly identified. You will need an excellent reference book and may learn how and where to forage by researching local websites. Part of foraging is learning how to cook what you find, which is another fun aspect of the hobby. Other foragers may give you tips on YouTube and Instagram. The hobby is cheap. But again, remember that many people have died because they misidentified something, so I urge you to be very careful about anything you put in your body.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Books, Blogs, YouTube, Instagram

37.  Fishing

Fishing requires quiet and calm whether you fish alone or with others. It comes with many costs. First, you will need a permit to fish in most regions. Then you also need a rod and tackle. And a fishing boat is optional to buy or rent. Fishing may also be done off a pier or dock. If you are an avid fisherman, you may also be interested in flyfishing and ice fishing.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Instagram, Books

38.  Backpacking

Backpacking is a multi-day hike involving camping. Backpacking is different from camping as the number of supplies you may bring is greatly limited to what you can carry. You will find great tips online for what you should bring and do during a backpacking trip, including basic survival skills. If you are an avid backpacker and enjoy learning how to live off the land, perhaps you may also explore bushcraft skills. Backpacking materials can be costly, but it’s also a hobby that you don’t want to cheap out on.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: YouTube, Blogs, Books, Instagram

Woman tying shoelace before going for a run
© Rattanakun via Canva.com

Sport and Fitness

You may wish to hire a trainer to become familiar with the equipment and proper movements needed for your pastime. And please know that your trainer may touch you to adjust your positions. The cost of your classes will depend on whether you choose private lessons or small group classes. It can be a little scary to join a class, but it may be an activity to help expand your comfort zone. Please consult your doctor before beginning a new fitness regimen.

39.  Chess

Chess is a sport that provides a venue for research, focus, strategizing and competition. And it can be learned and played in total solitude. You may play chess against yourself or a computer. Should you choose to participate in chess games, they can be played in total silence with the interaction strictly kept on the board. If you are a complete beginner, start learning the different chess pieces and how they may move across the board. Chat on forums to help you grow your skills.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: Books, Apps, YouTube, Blogs

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Wargamer – How To Play Chess For Beginners

40.  Dancing

I think everyone dances regardless of skill level, and that’s a great thing! Put on your favourite music and give in to it. It’s a great exercise if you just need an excuse to get up and move. Or you can learn actual routines. Multiple YouTube channels break down routines into easy-to-follow tutorials. Or, if you are interested in truly learning to dance, look for adult dance classes in your town.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Heavy

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Online or In-Person Classes

41.  Skipping/Jumping Rope

Exercise is a beneficial pastime for your body and mind. Skipping is relatively easy to start considering the rope’s low cost. With jumping rope, you can create routines, try setting records and learn tricks. If you’ve never skipped rope before, have no fear! You may get hit with the rope a few times, but once you get the rhythm, it’s fun!

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Instagram

42.  Roller Skating

Perhaps roller skating is becoming popular again due to nostalgia or because it’s a ton of fun! You will be able to get exercise, learn tricks and take green transportation. For those who are already avid ice and inline skaters, you may consider adding this hobby to your skill set. For new roller skaters, start with a helmet and all the necessary guards and padding. You will fall, and it will hurt, but there’s no other way to learn. Before you learn tricks, check YouTube to figure out how to move forward, backward and, most importantly, stop! The cost of the hobby will depend on the skates you purchase. There may be limited interactions if you choose to skate outside, and potentially heavier interactions if you use a skate park.

Cost: $$

Interactions: Solo or Limited or Heavy

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Instagram

43.  Yoga

Yoga is an excellent means of self-care; it creates a sense of calm and overall feels therapeutic. And you can start with 1 of 7 popular branches of yoga, depending on your goals and interests. Yoga classes can be followed online. However, an in-person class is very beneficial for beginners to ensure you perform the poses correctly. During the class, everyone is quiet and you can choose to participate or not in small talk before or after class. The materials for yoga are relatively inexpensive. You can get by with just a mat and some loose clothing.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: YouTube, In-Person or Online Classes, Books

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Live Science – 7 Most Popular Types Of Yoga

44.  Pilates

Pilates provides a means to relax tense muscles and strengthen your body. It is a great exercise that you will feel the next day. Pilates exercises may be found on YouTube, and most will not require equipment besides a yoga mat. Pilates machines are also available for those dedicated to this exercise but are not necessary for beginners.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: YouTube, In-Person or Online Classes, Books

45.  Swimming

Swimming is a very solitary activity. I have always found being in water relieves a lot of anxiety. Apart from swimming laps, you may also challenge yourself to learn different strokes or set time goals. If you have never swam before, try taking a class. Swimming classes are still very solitary aside from interacting with the trainer. Once you finish your swimming classes, you can leave the pool and start swimming in lakes and the ocean. Expenses include your bathing suit and access to a pool.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: In-Person Classes

46.  Archery

Archery is an excellent sport that provides introverts with focus and solitude. Before taking a class, you may study archery and learn about the equipment online. Archery ranges are available in many cities and provide classes, rental gear and space to practice. It may be possible to practice archery at home, but you will need to check the regulations in your region and ensure you create a safe practice area. Archery can be a solo activity, or you may choose to join a club or team. Archery requires a fair amount of equipment, but you may choose whether to buy or rent.

Cost: $$

Interactions: Solo or Limited or Heavy

Learn: In-Person Classes, Books, Reddit

I have no affiliation with these websites, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Complete Guide To Archery – Archery For Beginners

| Learn More: Archers Hub – Practicing Archery At Home Or Indoors

47.  Walking, Jogging or Running

A free and semi-easy hobby to get into, you can choose the best cardio exercise for your health and ability. I walk as I have a bad knee. To pursue this hobby, you may choose to set goals for a certain number of steps or distances. There are also online distance competitions where you can track your exercise and win medals. It is important to be aware of your surroundings, stay safe and try not to do these exercises alone at night. This is a completely solo activity. The expense depends on the price of the shoes and clothing, including a good hat for sunny days.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: By Doing

48.  Fantasy Sports

For anyone who wants to share their love of sports but would rather watch games alone, this one’s for you! Fantasy sports leagues are available online. A fantasy sport allows you to invent a team full of your favourite, real athletes. Your team will then compete to earn points based on the real-world statistics of those players throughout their season. Assuming you partake in this hobby strictly online, you do not need to interact physically with anyone. Though some leagues do meet in person. The cost will depend on the league and sport you choose. Many leagues require a buy-in fee.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo or Heavy

Learn: Reddit, Websites

Close up of a microphone with a laptop, notebook and desk in the background
© Luza Studios via Canva.com

Niche Interests

This collection of hobbies are any that I felt did not fit the other categories. Part of this is because diverse interests may spur any of these activities.

49.  Puzzles

My favourite occupation when recovering from an introvert hangover is listening to an audiobook while doing a puzzle. The options for puzzles are quite extensive between themes, the number of pieces and varying skill levels. You can find 3D puzzles, shape puzzles and story puzzles. There is also a wide price range, but the majority are low cost. Try searching for a group that does puzzle swaps to help save you some money.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: By Doing, TikTok

50.  Blogging

Blogging is an excellent resource for introverts who have trouble articulating their thoughts into speech. It allows you to reach out and find others who share your interests (comic books, cooking, fashion, journaling, etc.). You can start a free WordPress blog for fun. Or pay for a domain and hosting to try to monetize your hobby, but know that it can get expensive. If you have some ideas and stories to share, give it a try.

Cost: $-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Tutorials, Online Classes, Facebook Groups

51.  Gaming

This option is going to be all-inclusive. Whether you enjoy online gaming, board games, puzzle games or role-playing games, you can make it into a proper hobby. Yes, you will need at least one partner for some of these. However, you can also play all of these almost entirely online. Find a group of online friends you can play with and schedule game breaks. Sometimes the best friends we will ever have are those we meet online. But I must caution you not to give any personal information (including birthdate, full name, address or banking details) to anyone you meet online.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: Discord, Forums, Apps, Reddit, By Doing

52.  Tarot Reading

Tarot has always been popular but unfortunately not well-respected. That feeling seems to be changing as tarot decks become more readily available and tarot readers have books, podcasts and YouTube channels. The basis of tarot is to ask a question, draw a card, and interpret its meaning. For some people, it’s just a bit of fun; for others, it provides excellent insight and aids in their decision-making. Your hobby could be learning how to interpret the cards, collecting tarot decks or appreciating the art history of tarot. It’s a fascinating and welcoming community to get involved in, should this pique your interest. any tarot decks include a book explaining each card. And depending on the deck(s) you purchase, it can be inexpensive.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Blogs, YouTube, Instagram, Podcasts, Books

53.  Podcast Hosting

As blogging serves introverts who are better in writing, podcasts serve verbal storytellers who have a limited social battery. It’s a long-standing misconception that introverts do not like to speak. They do. A lot. But they need to have a particular topic they are interested in to get going. A podcast is perfect for this effort. Once you find your niche, you can share your passion and knowledge with anyone interested enough to listen and subscribe. Getting started has a few upfront costs, including a good microphone and editing software. But everything else you want to know about creating a podcast can be found online. You also have the option of hosting solo or with an online partner.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Podcasts, Books, Blogs, YouTube

54.  Book Club

Book lovers unite separately and in your own homes. Book clubs can be hosted online. You can find and create book clubs for any genre and age group. Online book clubs also allow you to opt-out of the reading for that week or month if you are too busy or not interested in the book. It will help you to tackle your TBR and give you a group of people to gush over or bash a book with. Joining a book club should always be free, though I understand a read-along may be hosted on Patreon for a fee. The cost of this hobby will depend on whether you have a library card or prefer hardcover over paperback.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Reddit, YouTube, TikTok

55.  Lockpicking

If you enjoy challenging puzzles, lockpicking is a useful hobby to pick up. Keep in mind that you must use your new hobby for good! Some activities within lockpicking that may pique your interest are learning how to pick everyday locks, completing timed challenges and competing in lockpicking competitions. The required skills may be learned with videos online. It is a solitary hobby that doesn’t require any interaction with others. The tools needed for lockpicking are cheap.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: YouTube, Books, By Doing

56.  Building A PC

You may be under the assumption that building your PC is too tricky. However, it is so popular that many YouTube videos and blogs provide step-by-step instructions for building an assortment of PCs. Think about what you want your PC for and begin your search. This hobby will require patience, focus and time. It is not cheap, with the combined price of parts totalling anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. You may try to reduce the costs by waiting for parts to go on sale. Aside from interacting in online forums, this hobby can be pursued alone.

Cost: $$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Blogs, YouTube, Books

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Tech Radar – How To Build A PC

57.  Remote Control Cars

RC cars are not just for children. You may buy a kit with instructions and parts to build your RC car. Many kits also come with customized features to suit your style. After making your car, you may create tracks to race on. RC cars are large, so you will want to ensure you also have space to display them. There is a good price range per car, so you may find a few options to suit your wallet. You may join an online community, a club or just enjoy the hobby alone.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Kits, YouTube, Books

I have no affiliation with this YouTube channel, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: RCDriver_Online – You Should Build An RC Car Kit (YouTube)

58.  Letter Writing

For those born after 1995, the chances that you have ever sent or received a letter are reasonably small. And I think that actually makes letter writing a fascinating niche hobby. Receiving a physical letter that someone took time and care to craft is incredible. And it becomes a keepsake. Letter writing provides you with a chance to be mindful and meditative. You may write letters to friends and family, find a pen pal or send letters to assisted living facilities and military personnel. Everything you need to know about the format of a letter and prompts to get you started can be found online. This is a cheap hobby to start but can quickly become expensive depending on how many pens, stationery sets and accessories you choose to buy. Interaction solely takes place through the letters.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Blogs, YouTube, Pinterest

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Introvert Dear – Why Letter Writing Is An Ideal Introvert Hobby

59.  Collection

Whatever you are interested in, collect it. Your collection can be anything from figures to books to purses to sets to albums to anything you choose. You are guaranteed to find other collectors through a quick search on Google or Reddit. Collectibles may be found in local stores, online stores, auction sites, estate sales, through trades and at conventions. How much you spend will depend on what you collect, so it’s best to start with some research. Online interactions are possible and likely necessary. If you need to go to estate sales and conventions, my experience has been that people usually leave you alone to do your own thing.

Cost: $-$$$

Interactions: Solo or Limited or Heavy

Learn: YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Reddit, Forums, Blogs

60.  Creative Writing

Write a book, short story, poetry, play, children’s book, fan fiction, etc. Do you have to be a good writer? No. Do you have to share your stories? No. Is writing a gratifying and absorbing activity? Definitely, yes. Perhaps you will discover a real passion and talent for writing. There are also online shops that will print and bind a copy of your work so you can also display it on your shelf. Or, if you’re confident in your product, you can send it to a publisher and start a new career. Writing for fun is free and may be accomplished with the tools that most people already have (a computer, notebook and pen, printer, etc.). Writing is a solo activity with the option of sharing with others.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Blogs, YouTube, Pinterest

Pinterest Image: 60 new hobbies for introverts to try

What are your favourite hobbies? Have you tried any that I mentioned? Share your experience in the comments below.

7 Strategies for Coping with Morning Anxiety

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, psychologist, therapist or similar. This blog offers ideas, tools, strategies and recommendations based on my experience with anxiety, panic attacks and mental health. I do not guarantee any results or outcomes as strategies that have worked for me may not work for you. For diagnosis and treatment of any physical and mental health condition, consult a licensed professional.

When does your anxiety usually hit?

I’m hardest hit in the morning—right when I wake up.

Anxious thoughts always seem to float through my final REM cycle of the night.

It is the worst alarm clock ever.

Pinterest Image: Seven self-care strategies to cope with morning anxiety

My mind is constantly working.

As an office worker and again as a teacher, I would constantly be thinking about what I needed to do at work and the best way to accomplish it. And now, with my blog, I’m always thinking of new content and how to present it.

No matter what kind of job I have, I lose sleep thinking about it.

And then there are all the other things that I worry about: a bill that needs to be paid, heavy rainfall, questioning if I turned off the stove or a what-if scenario that I’m running late.

Any of these things will force me to sit bolt upright in bed, drenched in sweat, heart hammering away as if the world is ending.

Anxiety is a terrible way to start the day.

But I have learned how to manage my anxious mornings with time-intensive strategies; and none of them are ignoring it until it goes away

We can fake confidence, but we can’t deceive our mental health.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Healthline – Why Do I Have Anxiety in the Morning?

Well and Good – How to Prevent Morning Anxiety From Totally Ruining Your Day

Anxiety Specialists of Atlanta – Waking up Exhausted and Anxious?

1. Take a Day

Some people offer this as a last resort, but having a day for yourself is vital.

I think everyone should take a day more often. But I realize that this is not always an option for everyone based on your job or economic necessity.

If your job offers mental health days or sick days, take them.

If you’re a stay-at-home parent, ask your partner or a family member to take over for a few hours.

Calling work may add a little more nervousness to your morning. And I have always needed to convince myself to do it, but I have never regretted making the call.

Dedicate the entire day to yourself if you can.

Catch up on the sleep that was attacked.

Do your comforting activities.

Ignore social media for the whole day (I’ll explain why later).

And just relax. And I mean, really relax.

If part of your anxiety revolves around unfinished household chores, set a one-hour timer to get some (not all) done. Then save the remainder of the day for yourself.

My typical mental health day is filled with the comforting and stress-relieving activities I enjoy:

  • Sleeping for as long as possible with Do Not Disturb in full effect.
  • A shower to relax tense muscles and keep my skin healthy.
  • Wearing daytime pyjamas.
  • Drinking a warm beverage, but I try to avoid caffeine as it won’t soothe an anxious body.
  • And listening to an audiobook while working on a puzzle to focus my mind.

Again, these are the activities that I enjoy and I find calming.

When you take a day for yourself, fill it with the activities that comfort you. You can exercise, do crafts, bake, or do anything that feels calming to you.

It’s your day.

The main point is to rest your body and your mind.

2. Make a To-Do List

Anxiety sometimes leaves me feeling as if I am lazy, inept, and unproductive.

When an anxiety attack hits first thing in the morning, the idea of getting through the day can be daunting.

It’s already hard to get out of bed and only gets worse as the day’s tasks continue to build up.

Write a list on paper or your phone to get those tasks out of your mind.

When you accomplish a task, you can check it off.

It’s hard to explain but seeing all the check marks on a completed list is uplifting.

Even if I have completed a task before making a list, I will write it down for the simple joy of checking it off.

A to-do list helps me to focus. I know what I need to do, and I can track my progress for the day.

I can also limit my list based on what my current energy can accomplish.

If I have ten tasks but only the energy for four, I list the four most important things I need to do today. The act of finishing those four tasks may give me the energy to complete another two, three or four. And if I can’t do all ten, I reassure myself by looking at what I have achieved today.

My list will prove to my mind that I am competent and productive.

3. Feel for 15

This suggestion will take time and practice to master, but it’s entirely worth the effort.

Emotional intelligence is all about being aware of, understanding and managing our emotions.

No one likes to feel angry, sad, or anxious. These are heavy emotions that wear on our bodies. 

But we need to experience all emotions in their turn.

When anxiety hits, give yourself a set amount of time to feel through it.

You will dictate the amount of time you are prepared to give to your anxious thoughts.

This can be done in bed, in the shower or on the bus ride to work.

When my chest is bursting, I allow my mind 15 minutes to be anxious.

I will start by asking myself aloud, 

Okay, what are we freaking out about? 

Then my mind will flow through every negative and positive thought for 15 minutes.

That time allows me to be introspective about the issue(s) that triggered my anxiety and possible solutions.

I also use my physical coping mechanisms to calm my body during this time.

| Read more: How to Self-Soothe During a Panic Attack

The anxious thought may return later.

However, I can self-soothe with the reassurance that I already gave it time:

“No. I’ve already worried about that. Let it go.”

Through practice, I have found that 15 minutes works best for me.

If you need more or less time, take it.

Try not to suppress your anxiety, anger or sadness. I am happier for feeling all of my emotions.

4. Journal

The old faithful.

The basics of journaling are getting your feelings out of your mind.

Use it to understand and work through your thoughts and experiences. 

It doesn’t matter how you write; just write:

  • Freewrite
  • Jot notes
  • Poems
  • Lyrics
  • Comics

When I am anxious, I freewrite in my journal and let my mind go on its journey. 

Sometimes it just relieves me from the weight of overwhelming thoughts. 

And sometimes, it helps me find solutions.

Writing is a comforting activity for me. Just the feeling of writing with a pen on paper is calming. 

Please never feel embarrassed about starting a journal. It’s personal, and it’s helpful.

5. Use Affirmations

An affirmation is a positive statement we can use to recondition our minds.

It is a mindful activity that we need to prepare and practice during calm moments. Consider it like preparing your arsenal for when anxiety attacks.

You can find an overwhelming number of affirmations through Google. But I would suggest using those as examples only.

I find affirmations are more successful when meaningful and personal.

| Read more: Generate Positivity With Affirmations

You can also choose the number of affirmations that you need. Rely on one or choose from a collection to suit your present circumstances.

Should an anxiety attack hit me, I choose one of my affirmations and repeat it in my mind or out loud while looking into a mirror.

And I don’t just use affirmations when I am feeling anxious. I have five daily affirmations that I say to myself in the morning and night.

I find they don’t just protect me; they can also set my mood.

6. Do Not Use Social Media

I know that scrolling through Instagram or Facebook can feel relieving; we can see cute animals or funny videos.

But we have zero control over what we will see on social media.

Your friends and family can share personal updates or news stories that you are not prepared for.

Or you may start watching a cute animal video just to find out it’s an in memoriam—this happened to me recently.

If you’re already feeling anxious, stay offline.

Similarly, be deliberate about when you check the news. It’s important to stay informed. But a majority of the stories are negative.

I don’t need to compound an anxious day with further doom and gloom.

Choose a comforting activity that you can control.

7. Do Not Use Negative Self-Talk

Anxiety will try to convince you that you suck.

But your mind is lying to you.

You are worth so much more than every negative thought.

And you owe it to yourself to be encouraging and optimistic.

I would never speak to the people I love how my mind speaks to me.

I consciously reassure myself that I am safe and loved and better than my mind wants me to believe.

Pinterest image: Transform your mind. How to overcome morning anxiety. Anxiety is a terrible way to start the day. 
Learn how to manage anxious mornings with 
time-intensive strategies.

I hope that you have noticed the common theme among my coping strategies is self-care: giving time to the care of my mind, body and emotions.

For an anxious person, it can feel like the best solution to our struggle is to become numb and just follow through the motions of the day.

But we are not robots.

I want to live a fulfilling life, not just survive the day.

Blocking out feelings to avoid the bad ones also blocks out everything positive, happy and exciting.

Pushing through to endure beyond enduring draws a heavy cost on our health.

And not giving time to our difficult emotions does not control them. It actually takes all control from us.

Knowing the best strategies to serve your anxiety will first depend on what your anxiety triggers are.

| Read more: 100 Anxiety Triggers

Try to keep in mind that most mental health remedies, strategies and skills take practice, time and effort.

There is no quick or easy solution so give yourself time to find the perfect strategies to serve you.

When does your anxiety usually hit? And what is your most successful coping strategy? Share it in the comments below!

How to Self-Soothe During a Panic Attack

Even before the diagnosis, I’ve always had coping mechanisms for my anxiety.

Yes, anxiety and panic attacks are not the same thing. However, one may spark the other.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, psychologist, therapist or similar. This blog offers ideas, tools, strategies and recommendations based on my experience with anxiety, panic attacks and mental health. I do not guarantee any results or outcomes as strategies that have worked for me may not work for you. For diagnosis and treatment of any physical and mental health condition, consult a licensed professional.

Some self-soothing techniques came about somewhat subconsciously. Others were deliberately applied. The more deliberate actions were found when I seriously researched my anxiety disorder.

I have tried a long, varied list of activities and methods.

Eventually, I adopted the techniques I found that successfully calm my mind and body.

I prefer practicing multiple self-soothing techniques. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. There’s no cure-all.
  2. It’s best to use different coping mechanisms for different situations.
  3. We should remain open to trying new methods.

In this post, I will give you a few physical and mental coping mechanisms to try.

Physical Coping Mechanisms for Anxiety

The following methods involve external stimulation to calm anxiety.

1.      Holding Thumb to Palm

This is one technique I found by chance.

When I am in a social situation, I become very aware of my hands. To alleviate the awareness, I hold them together.

One day I realized how relieving it is to hold my thumb in my palm.

How to do it:

I am right-handed, so I will hold my right thumb in my left palm. I put my right hand over my left. My right thumb rests flat against my left palm. And my left thumb rests over my right hand.

If you are left-handed, using the opposite hands will be as effective.

A demonstration of how to hold your thumb to the palm of your opposite hand

Notes:

You may need to apply light pressure through your thumb. But it should not feel as though you are gripping your hands.

It is best to hold skin-to-skin. Do not dig your nails into your palm.

Benefits:

I honestly don’t know how it works. But it is very calming.

Perhaps it is slightly grounding. The physical sensation distracts from the mental distress.

Why I like it:

Although it’s physical, others won’t notice when you use this technique. I have done this while teaching or standing in a meeting.

2.      Breathing

The perk of this technique is that it has benefits for both your body and your mind.

How to do it:

Take a deep breath through your nose for at least 4 seconds. Hold it for at least 7 seconds. And slowly exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat three times. Adjust the time to suit your body.

Notes:

During this practice, try not to inhale through your mouth.

Our nose is designed for breathing. That’s its primary purpose, and, for most of us, it’s great at it.

You may find that you are out of breath after breathing through your mouth. This is because our mouth doesn’t fill our lungs quite as well as our nose does. So our mouth can take a big breath, but it won’t reach as deep into the lungs.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Verywell Mind – 8 Deep Breathing Exercises for Anxiety

Right As Rain – This Is Why Deep Breathing Makes You Feel so Chill

Healthline – What Is the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique?

Benefits:

Deep breathing opens the lungs and sends more oxygen to your body. Greater oxygen circulation improves your lungs, muscles and brain.

Also, focusing on your breathing will pull focus away from your anxious thoughts.

During the exercise, the mind concentrates on the air moving through the nose sitting in the lungs and pushing out through the mouth.

Why I like it:

Breathing exercises are lovely. As your body begins to feel better, so will your mind.

3.      Holding a cold water bottle

This is a new technique I’ve been practicing, thanks to a recommendation from a friend.

How to do it:

Grab a water bottle and cup it between your hands. The bottle does not need to be ice cold—that is much too uncomfortable for my sensitive hands. But it should be cooler than your hands.

Hold the bottle for as long as you need to.

Notes:

If you are near a body of water, you may also find just placing your palm over the water’s surface to be calming. Feeling the water lightly lap against the palm is peaceful.

And please know that I am jealous if you are near a lake. I wish I were near a lake.

You can also try holding ice, which I only just found out is currently a trend—I must be getting old for being so far out of the loop.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Medical News Today – Anxiety and hot flashes: What is the link?

Parade – TikTokkers Are Using Ice Cubes to Stop Panic Attacks—But Does This Trick Work?

Stylist – How to Calm Anxiety At Night

Benefits:

Hot flashes are one symptom of anxiety/panic attacks. In response to stress, our body releases hormones and our blood circulation increases.

Think of how relieved and refreshed you feel standing near an air conditioner. Holding the bottle provides a similar cooling effect.

The bottle also applies pressure to the palms, which provides some grounding.

Why I like it:

It’s very handy (pun intended) as I always have my support water bottle nearby. I’ve both slept and taught while holding my water bottle.

Mental Coping Mechanisms for Anxiety

These methods involve internal calming practices or talking ourselves through a panic attack.

1.      Say your reassurances and affirmations

I decided to group both reassurances and affirmations because they are similar practices. But they are not the same thing.

A reassurance is a statement (and/or action) to relieve fears and doubts.

An affirmation is a positive statement to combat negative thoughts.

Again, very similar but slightly different.

You can also think of a reassurance as supporting your reality while an affirmation supports your mentality.

Note: Try combining these phrases with the breathing exercise.

A.      Reassurances

When an external force is triggering my anxiety, I choose to fight back with a reassurance. I know how I would speak to my friends, so I have chosen to be similarly kind to myself.

How to do it:

Assess the situation to find what triggered the attack. Tell yourself that you are safe. And be specific. What are you safe from and why?

For example, let’s say you are panicking because you’re in the middle of a crowd.

“It’s okay. I’m okay. It’s normal to be scared in a crowd. I’m safe. No one here wants to hurt me.”

Repeat these sentences as often as you need. Say them aloud or in your head.

Notes:

I intentionally use multiple sentences when I reassure myself.

I like to start with a short sentence to grab my mind’s attention. I also repeat it with the change from it (the situation) to I (myself) to draw focus to me.

The rest of the statements are about my feelings, safety, and a clear reason why I am safe.

Benefits:

Learning to reassure yourself will give you a lot of power.

You will begin to understand the basis of your fear. Then once you identify it, you are better positioned to manage it.

Using the same example: I am still uncomfortable in a crowd, but I won’t avoid them. And solo adventures have become possible.

Why I like it:

Reassurances can be created on the spot.

B.       Affirmations

My affirmations flip the script when my mind forces my anxiety to panic.

How to do it:

Refer to your cache of affirmations. Choose one or two affirmations that fit the situation. Slowly speak the affirmation to yourself—aloud or in your head. Repeat it until you feel calm.

The best affirmation will depend on what triggered the attack.

Notes:

Affirmations require pre-planning and practice.

Read more: How to Create Unique Affirmations

Benefits:

Affirmations will help you to reprogram your mind.

You may begin to see yourself in a different light. And you will grow confidence in your ability to live with your anxiety and panic attacks.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Mind Tools – Using Affirmations

Happier Human – 45 Positive Affirmations for Anxiety Relief and Stress Reduction

Chopra – 7 Benefits of a Daily Affirmation Plan

Why I like it:

The more often that I use affirmations, the more I trust myself.

2.      Lists

This technique may or may not have been inspired by Dame Julie Andrews.

How to do it:

When the panic attack begins, start listing things in your mind or on paper.

Your list could be things you find comforting, the people you trust, or your tasks for the day.


“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens / Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens / Brown paper packages tied up with strings / These are a few of my favourite things”

Rodgers and Hammerstein, “The Sound of Music” (1959)

Notes:

You may speak through your list or repeat it over in your head.

If you choose to list your tasks for the day, write them down. Keep the number of tasks limited to the few most important things that must be done today. As you complete the tasks, you will get the bonus of being able to check them off.

Benefits:

Lists provide focus.

Your panic attack may want you to hyper-focus on something your mind has determined to be going wrong. By making a list, you adjust that focus. And you will take back power from your hectic mind.

Why I like it:

Lists are easy to create, and I get so much enjoyment from checkmarks.  

3.      Journaling

A lot of relief can come from unleashing your feelings and fears on the page.

How to do it:

Write in your journal or make notes on a mobile app.

You can give details about what is causing the panic attack. Or you can track your feelings and symptoms.

Benefits:

Journaling gives you the ability to release what is attacking your mind. Getting the thoughts and fears out of your head is a big relief.

It will also give you notes about what you were feeling and why. Then you can reflect on the situation at a later time.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Very Well Mind – Journal Writing as a Tool for Coping With Panic and Anxiety

Don’t Panic, Do This – THE Best Panic Attack Diary Template (Anxiety Journaling 101)

Bustle – 7 Types Of Journaling That Can Help You Manage Anxiety

Why I like it:

Putting pen to paper has always been calming to me. I feel better after I write.

How to self-soothe during a panic attack

And there you have it, seven methods to self-soothe during a panic attack.

I hope you will find a few of these suggestions helpful.

Again, some of the techniques I listed may not work for you. But I hope you will continue researching more coping strategies—even the seemingly strange ones.

Try to have a balance of mental and physical techniques.

You want to treat your symptoms, ground yourself in reality and calm your mind.

If you have any strategies to share, please leave them in the comments.

100 Anxiety Triggers

“…things that were, things that are, and things that may yet be.”

J. R. R. Tolkien

Anxiety doesn’t make sense. I know it doesn’t. But that doesn’t stop my mind from filling with worry and my body from feeling sick with nerves.

And I am tired of people asking me what I have to be nervous about.

So I decided to make a list.

I set my number at 100 to see if I could actually make a full list. Then I let my mind take over to remember every real-world and “what if” scenario that has triggered my anxiety at one point or another.

Thankfully, one thing we can always count on is a flighty imagination to keep the panic ticking on.

My triggers have developed from a mixture of past experiences, learning from others’ past experiences, and my own unkempt imagination. However, I will not be discussing those root causes on this list.

What are the benefits of knowing your anxiety triggers?

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, psychologist, therapist or similar. This blog offers ideas, tools, strategies and recommendations based on my experience with anxiety, panic attacks and mental health. I do not guarantee any results or outcomes as strategies that have worked for me may not work for you. For diagnosis and treatment of any physical and mental health condition, consult a licensed professional.

Sitting down to make a list of anything that has tripped your anxiety is a practice in self-reflection. And once you have that list, you can analyze it to see the connections and identify the underlying causes.

Knowing the root cause of these feelings will then give you a goal to focus on during your journey.

And, this practice will give a huge boost to your emotional intelligence.

But beyond that, perhaps the greatest benefit of identifying your emotional triggers comes when developing your anxiety coping strategies.

To cope with your anxiety, you may focus on addressing the root causes, begin to assert boundaries, and learn how to avoid the triggering events.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Healthline – How To Identify and Manage your Emotional Triggers

Psychology Today – How to Spot Your Emotional Triggers

The Holistic Psychologist – Let Your Triggers Be Your Teacher

The benefits of knowing your anxiety triggers.

A List With A Purpose

I know this is an odd post, but this list serves two purposes:

  1. exercising my emotional intelligence; and
  2. for a laugh because I know that some of these things are completely ridiculous.

At the risk of this topic feeling sad, please know I chose to post it to share and create camaraderie among people with anxiety.

Perhaps this list will provide some comfort that you are not alone should you have similar triggers or your own silly triggers (like number 44: stomach gurgles).

Please know that I try to laugh at how ridiculous my mind can be rather than mope in constant dread.

When a negative thought flits through my mind, I try to push it away with a hopeful alternative or action plan.

Anxiety will only leave me as stuck as I let it. And I’m nervous about getting stuck anywhere (see numbers 43 and 51).

How does my anxiety get triggered? Let me count the ways.

Disclaimer: Please read this post with caution as I do not want it to trigger your anxiety or, worse, a panic attack. Take care!

  1. When a doorbell rings.
  2. A knock on the door.
  3. Answering the door.
  4. Not answering the door.
  5. My messy apartment.
  6. My clean apartment.
  7. People who drop by without warning.
  8. Having people over, ever.
  9. Talking.
  10. Not talking.
  11. Talking too much.
  12. When I set the alarm.
  13. When I can’t sleep.
  14. When I can’t sleep because I set the alarm.
  15. When I have five more hours to sleep before the alarm goes off.
  16. My home security alarm.
  17. My car alarm.
  18. Loud noises.
  19. Going on a date.
  20. Going on a virtual date.
  21. What if I forgot to unplug my straightener?
  22. A ringing phone.
  23. Calling family.
  24. Calling a client.
  25. Calling to make an appointment.
  26. Going to an appointment.
  27. What if I’m early?
  28. What if I’m late?
  29. What if I have the wrong date?
  30. Tuesday.
  31. Am I having a panic attack or heart attack?
  32. Lighting a candle.
  33. Extinguishing a candle.
  34. Using a lighter.
  35. Using a gas stove.
  36. The first day of the new school year.
  37. The first day back after a break.
  38. Tests.
  39. That embarrassing thing I said when I was 9.
  40. Walking alone.
  41. Walking with other people.
  42. Walking near crowds.
  43. Getting stuck in the mud (walking or driving).
  44. Stomach gurgles.
  45. My posture.
  46. What if I forgot to turn off the light?
  47. Entering a new store.
  48. Asking for help.
  49. Returning an item.
  50. I’m not sure what I’m anxious about right now, but my body feels anxious. Let me think about it.
  51. What if the tire doesn’t line up on the track at the car wash, and I get stuck?
  52. The flight I have tomorrow.
  53. The flight I have in six months.
  54. The flight I haven’t booked yet.
  55. Finding my seat on the plane.
  56. Receiving bills.
  57. Paying bills.
  58. Remembering if I paid the bills.
  59. Taxes.
  60. Deadlines.
  61. Making mistakes.
  62. Running.
  63. Driving in a new area.
  64. What if I don’t know anyone there?
  65. What if I know someone there?
  66. Setting up a bio on any social media app, ever.
  67. Making a reel.
  68. Taking a selfie.
  69. Posting a selfie.
  70. Posting myself in a story.
  71. Writing a blog post.
  72. Sharing a blog post like this.
  73. Doing too much.
  74. Not doing enough.
  75. It’s 3 AM—why am I still awake?
  76. It’s 11 PM—what am I doing with my life?
  77. Everything I need to do tomorrow.
  78. Everything I didn’t do today.
  79. When I need to leave and can see the neighbours are outside.
  80. When I need to leave and can hear the neighbours are also about to leave.
  81. When people are close enough to read over my shoulder.
  82. When people can see me sing in the car.
  83. What if I’m overdressed?
  84. What if I’m underdressed?
  85. Wearing a bra.
  86. Not wearing a bra.
  87. Forgetting someone’s name.
  88. Being too excited.
  89. Being too sensitive.
  90. Being too mean.
  91. Being too nice.
  92. Spending $200.00.
  93. Carrying any amount of cash.
  94. Having a wallet.
  95. What if I forget my wallet?
  96. What if I forget my phone?
  97. What if I forget my keys?
  98. Poor Wi-Fi.
  99. A phone battery at 60%.
  100. Anything outside of my control.

How I Deal

I’ve developed some coping strategies to ease my anxiety.

But I also structure some of my life around limiting the triggers:

For 1-4, I will only use an app like Skip the Dishes or DoorDash when ordering food. The delivery instructions are always: leave the food at the door, do not ring the bell. And when they don’t even knock—above and beyond! You get five stars.

For 23-25, I ask to keep all communication online, and thankfully, in 2022, it’s more acceptable than it used to be.

For 95-97, I need my fives when I go out: phone, money, ID, keys and lip balm. I keep the list short. I always count off my fives before leaving the house. If I need to add one more item, I keep it under the keys and put a post-it note on the door.

While these extra steps can feel like a pain, they make me feel confident and in control.

Please tell me you share some of these triggers! And if you have any odd triggers, share them down below.

100 anxiety triggers and how to create coping strategies