You can’t just force yourself to stop overthinking and get going with your life.
It rather requires knowing what you value, things that are meaningful to you, and prioritizing them in your daily schedule.
Sadly, most of us struggle with finding things that we value. I have therefore listed out seven thoughtful self-care tips that will help you stop overthinking, take actionable measures and improve your overall well-being.
Self-Care Tip #1: Use a Self-Care Matrix
A self-care matrix can be a useful tool for organizing and prioritizing various self-care activities based on their level of importance and ease of implementation. Here is a simple self-care matrix that you can use:
|Level of Importance(High, Medium, Low)
|Ease of Implementation(High, Medium, Low)
|Mindful Breathing Exercises
|DIY Spa Day
|Yoga or Stretching
|Listening to Music
|Socializing with Loved Ones
|Cooking Healthy Meals
A Must Read:
- 3 Ways to Live a Simple Life and Stop Overthinking
- 100 Things People Overthink About (Answers from a Facebook Group)
How to Use the Self-Care Matrix?
This self-care matrix is designed to help individuals prioritize their self-care activities based on two key factors: the level of importance and the ease of implementation.
Level of Importance: This factor assesses how crucial a specific self-care activity is for your overall well-being. Activities marked as “High” in importance are those that significantly contribute to your mental and physical health, while “Medium” and “Low” indicate varying degrees of importance, depending on their impact on your well-being.
Ease of Implementation: This factor evaluates how easily you can incorporate a particular self-care activity into your daily or weekly routine. Activities marked as “High” in ease of implementation are those that can be seamlessly integrated into your schedule, while “Medium” and “Low” denote varying levels of effort required to practice these activities regularly.
Using this matrix, you can quickly identify self-care practices that are both highly important for your well-being and easy to implement, allowing you to focus on activities that provide the most significant benefits with minimal hassle. By understanding the importance and ease of each self-care activity, you can create a more tailored and effective self-care routine that suits your lifestyle and needs.
Assess Negative Thoughts to Stop Overthinking, Prioritize Tasks Accordingly
List down how your worries might be interrupting or disallowing you in day-to-day measures. List down how you’re unable to stop overthinking and how it impacts you.
For this reason, it’s important to consider how valid your worries are and how you must proceed with them.
Self-Care Tip #2: Challenge Negative Thoughts
Begin by identifying the negative thought and then inquire about the evidence supporting it. Ask yourself if there are alternative explanations or perspectives that you might be overlooking.
This worksheet has listed down important questions to help you challenge negative thoughts. Some of them are:
- What instances made me feel useless? What did I do that made me feel that way?
- What strengths do I highlight when I’m facing difficulty?
- What kind of people make me feel valued/respected?
With the help of these questions, you can evaluate whether these thoughts are based on facts or assumptions, and whether they are helpful or hinder your well-being. By actively questioning your negative thoughts, you can cultivate a more balanced and realistic perspective, stop overthinking, and foster a healthier and more positive mindset.
Self-Care Tip #3: Categorize Negative Thoughts to Stop Overthinking
Among other tips to stop overthinking, here’s another smart tactic that I find useful when you ask yourself—“Is this thought helpful to me?” Create six different categories of negative thoughts.
- Thoughts that distract me
- Thoughts that stress me out
- Thoughts that aren’t helpful
- Thoughts that I enjoy overthinking but I shouldn’t
- Thoughts that actually don’t need my attention
- Thoughts that aren’t my responsibility
Assign each negative thought to its relevant section in the worksheet. Once you’ve filled all the sections, you may reflect on those sections that have more/least number of negative thoughts filled up.
These self-care tips let you to further set up a personal goal to work on reducing that number of negative thoughts weekly. For instance, If I had more negative thoughts in the ‘distract’ section, then I’d be more aware of it this week. Perhaps, I can finish off more tasks this way.
Or you can track and record your negative thoughts here in this negative thoughts chart before proceeding with analyzing them.
Self-Care Tip #4: Ask Yourself, “What Can I Really Get Done Today?”
By assigning priority levels, you can focus on tasks that genuinely contribute to their well-being. This ultimately helps you stop overthinking and prioritize tasks for self care.
|Priority Level (High, Medium, Low)
|Roll into Tomorrow (Yes/No)
|Need Help (Yes/No)
- Task Description: Write down the tasks you have for the day.
- Negative Thoughts/Worries: Identify any negative thoughts or worries associated with each task.
- Priority Level: Assign a priority level (High, Medium, Low) based on the task’s importance and impact on stress.
- Delegatable (Yes/No): Determine if the task can be delegated to someone else.
- Roll into Tomorrow (Yes/No): Decide if it’s feasible to postpone the task to the next day.
- Need Help (Yes/No): Indicate whether you need assistance or support with a particular task.
This exercise allows you to navigate your daily tasks in a way that prioritizes self-care, minimizes stress, and fosters a healthier approach to productivity and well-being.
Check In With Yourself
The following self-care tips are associated to taking a pause, stop overthinking, and check-in with yourself.
Self-Care Tip #5: Emotional Check
Take a moment to identify and acknowledge your feelings. Explore the nuances of your emotions without judgement. Are you feeling joy, sadness, stress, or calmness? Understanding your emotional state allows you to respond to your needs with greater compassion and awareness.
- 100 Questions to Check-In with Yourself & Cultivate Your Wellbeing
- Simple Questions to Check-In with Yourself Daily
Self-Care Tip #6: Notice Your Thought Pattern to Stop Overthinking
Consider the thoughts that are occupying your mind. Are they positive, negative, or neutral? Take note without attaching judgement to these thoughts. If you notice persistent negative patterns, gently redirect your focus to more constructive or positive aspects. This practice fosters mindfulness, helping you gain control over your mental landscape.
Self-Care Tip #7: Check Your Overall Energy Levels
Reflect on your overall energy level. Are you feeling vibrant and energetic, or are you experiencing fatigue or lethargy? Understanding your energy state helps you tailor your activities to match your capacity. If your energy is high, you might engage in more demanding tasks, while a lower energy level may call for activities that are more restorative and calming.
These self-care tips provide a holistic view of your current state, enabling you to make informed decisions when you want to stop overthinking and plan daily activities accordingly. This self-awareness lays the foundation for a more balanced and intentional approach to navigating your emotions, thoughts, and energy throughout the day.
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Sally George is a Psychologist & the Editor of Gentle Meanings. She shares thought-provoking tools, asks insightful questions, and encourages her readers to be gentle with themselves.