This is a guest post by Michelle from SecretsOfTheShip.

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Self Care. It’s been a buzz word for the last few years.  We have all read articles on why it is so important to care for yourself. They all go something like this…

Can’t pour from an empty cup.

“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”  ~ Benjamin Franklin

Self care should always come first, but don’t let this lead you to thinking that self-care is “selfish”.

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”– Unknown

My personal favorite: It’s ok to take time to not be ok.

And so on.

We do the things the articles tell us, from taking a bath to going to a spa.  – #Treatyoself – We step out and feel better for a little while.

Eventually, it will happen again.  Our kids will be screaming, a customer is asking for something unreasonable, the government is doing things we do not agree with and we will wonder when we will have time to #treatyoself again. Even if we live on a cruise ship (it is possible!), stress will find us. 

But what can be done in the moment to get us through?  Is there a way to help ourselves so we are not counting down until we can lock ourselves in the bathroom again?

Here are a few coping skills I practice in the moment that you can easily steal:

4 square or Tactical Breathing: This technique is used with military to help lower arousal. You can find an app called tactical breathing that will walk you through the technique. Simply, Breathe in 2,3,4 HOLD 2,3,4 OUT 2,3,4 and HOLD 2,3,4.  Do this 3 times.  Hopefully you will, like me, feel some of the tension leave your body.

Muscle relaxation: When you are overly stressed, your body floods with extra cortisol, the stress hormone. To help release some of this cortisol, use muscle relaxation.  Starting with your toes, curl them under and count to 3 and release.  Next clench your calves and do the same.  Move your way up the body.

Kegel exercises: No, I am not trying to go all Seventeen Magazine on you. This is something you can do and know one will even know you are doing it.  This is my favorite to do while sitting in traffic. It helps distract your mind and is good for your pelvic floor!

Try these coping skills during your next stressful moment.  They only take a minute or two to complete and no one will even know you are doing them!  Of course, when you have time make sure to do those other favorite self care activities.  For me, it is planning cruises. 

If you want more tips on self-care and cruising, check out: http://secretsoftheship.com/guide-to-self-care/

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