Self Care on an Emotional Budget

Whether you’re just having a rough day, week, month or if you suffer from anxiety or depression that can steal every last pinch of your energy (emotional and physical), remembering to take care of yourself can feel like a giant task. There are days where even getting out of bed feels out of reach or beyond your capability, and as I wrote about in one of my previous blogs, it’s okay to feel that way.

When it feels like you cannot function like a normal human being, I call that being “emotionally bankrupt” – you simply do not have the energy to do anything but survive inside your own mind, or by escaping reality into the nearest tub of ice cream, or by not leaving the protective cocoon of your bed. It’s a really sucky way to exist, frankly, and can make feeling down or depressed about something far worse because you feel like a monumental failure at even the simplest things.

Being emotionally bankrupt can take its toll, but I’m here to share some ways that you can initiate self-care and spark your motivation to do more on an emotional budget without over-extending yourself. As a sufferer of anxiety/panic disorder and depression, these methods work for me personally, and while they might not work for everyone since all of our experiences are different, I hope that they can at the very least offer some insight!

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1. Take a shower

It seems so simple, but it in fact can feel so difficult. When we’re deep in the trenches of our minds and feeling like we can’t get anything done, the simple act of taking a shower can be completely restorative. All cleansing metaphors aside, once I step into that hot water and feel it pouring down my face in back, something inside of me always feels rejuvenated and I can feel my emotional piggybank begin to fill back up.

Don’t feel obligated to go overboard: if shaving your legs feels too large a task, skip it. It’s perfectly okay! Use the experience to wash away the darkness and step out of that shower feeling cleaner, physically and emotionally. (Whoops, rogue cleansing metaphor. ❤)

If you have the setup for it, I even recommend a bath! Grab the nearest bath bomb and a couple of scented candles and turn it into a full spa experience.

Want to take your shower rejuvenation one step further? Try these Lavender Shower Tablets and aim for ultimate relaxation. Lavender is my go to scent for oils, lotions etc in order to relax my anxiety!


2. Brush your hair

When I’m in a funk, my hair is usually the first thing to suffer. It’s longer (breast-length) and tangles at even the slightest disturbance, so when my emotional energy stores are running low I tend to neglect it and go the “messy bun” route. But several days of “messy bun” definitely takes its toll, and then I’m left with a single tangled dread that has gone from a mild inconvenience to a complete pain to take care of.

Enter my obsession with all things lavender: this de-tangler and leave-in conditioner doubles as a nourishing growth oil for my thinning hair. It works WONDERS and allows me to comb my neglected hair through in minutes, leaving it shiny and relaxed versus the wild nest it was prior. I can then style it in a gentler method than a high topknot and also know that it smells great!


3. self spa day

If you have the energy stores and want to really remove yourself from your funk, give yourself an at-home spa treatment. My go-to spa schedule is to slather organic coconut oil in my hair, pin it into a topknot for maximum soak, and then let it sit while I tend to my face and my nails. If I have them in the house, I always love using these great green tea facial masks that do wonders to soften and repair my skin (which often gets neglected). They’re very easy to use: just open the packet, apply them to clean, dry skin, and let them sit for 15-20 minutes! I usually apply one after I’ve put the coconut oil in my hair, and let them sit while I tend to my cuticles with some of that same coconut oil.

Take this time to do something for yourself you might not have done in a while: clip your nails (or even paint them!), read a book, or take a siesta on the couch or outside in your favorite hammock or lawn chair. This time is for you, so make it about you and feeling more like yourself.

Once you’ve rinsed that coconut oil out of your hair by performing step one above (again, only if energy allows!) it’s time to really give your hair some love. This is by far the best hair product I’ve ever purchased, and even though it’s a bit pricier it’s very much been worth it. Grab some of this Unite Hair Serum, put some in your damp hair, and either let it air dry or blow dry it to your tastes. You’ll end up looking like you just left the salon!


4. motivate yourself for more

If you’re not quite ready to take the steps above and are still in the “stay in bed” or “flop on the couch” phase we all know well, one of my favorite ways to motivate myself for more is to put on a movie or tv show that gets me striving for more. Thanks to programs like Netflix, this has never been easier.

Don’t laugh, but my all-time favorite tv show that makes me want to get up, get dressed, do my makeup and tackle the day (seriously, don’t laugh at me) is Gossip Girl. Something about NYC trust-fund teens in their expensive clothes and living their dramatic lives surrounded by finery really motivates me to get up and moving, put on some winged eyeliner and get my ass in gear.

It seriously never fails. Ask my husband, who quite literally groans when he hears the phrase: “Good morning Upper East Siders – Gossip Girl here, your one and only source of the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s Elite.”  I throw it on Netflix, turn up the volume, watch an episode and then feel myself wanted to get moving. Blair Waldorf is my motivational muse.

Letting yourself get lost in a cinematic world of something that motivates you is the perfect (and most emotional energy-efficient) method to spark that flame inside yourself to do more.

Feeling extra motivated by your choice of tv entertainment and want to do some retail therapy? Be sure to check out Pretty Little Thing, an uh-MAZING online women’s fashion website. Use this link and receive an additional discount on your purchase if you use it by 9/26!


5. Meditation & Yoga

There’s great peace and solace to be had in meditation and yoga, and it’s a perfect way to feel lighter beneath the weight of emotional baggage that might otherwise be too heavy to remove. Meditation clears the mind and allows your thoughts to relax, while yoga does the same for your body and muscles. I like to do a combination of the two, in a tiny space on my patio surrounded by citrus trees, flowers and sunshine. Even living in a big city, something about this added touch of nature right outside my door is enough to rejuvenate me even just a little bit. If you don’t have an accessible outdoor space, don’t fret! Any floor in any room of your home will work just as well.

If you’re feeling particularly bankrupt, stay simple. Sit cross-legged with your palms on your knees or go full Savasana  on a blanket or yoga mat. Focus on your breathing and clearing your mind of any negativity that’s been holding you down; I find it very helpful to put in some earbuds and listen to nature music or sounds, or any music that brings peace.


Self-care is important, but your emotional health is more important. Hopefully the methods above can ease your stress and help you achieve a level of self-care that can rescue you from your funk, no matter how full or empty your emotional bank is.

And most of all, don’t feel like you’re failing if you can’t quite get it. You’re aiming for relaxation, not more stress, so don’t forget to be kind to yourself in the process!

19 thoughts on “Self Care on an Emotional Budget

    • Emily says:

      It’s sneaky, that’s for sure. Sometimes we’re aware of it, sometimes we aren’t until we’re way beyond overwhelmed. Thank you for the nice comment!

  1. Sarah says:

    I am a huge advocate for Self care! And I love your simple tips of showering and brushing your hair! Because they are so true. It’s a great reminder that the simplest daily routines can make us feel so much better 🙂 thx for the reminder!

    • Emily says:

      Thank you so much! It’s amazing how just doing the little things (another one that comes to mind is brushing my teeth!) can help jar us out of our funk.

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