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10 things worth trying during times of stress, trauma, or crisis.

Feel like throwing in the towel? Try these tips instead.

10 things worth trying during times of stress, trauma, or crisis.

Regardless of what you're going through, self-care is important.

I once read something that said, "It's not the hard times that define you, it's how you respond." One important tool when it comes to dealing with personal challenges is self-care.

What is self-care? The University of Kentucky's Student Affairs Center describes self-care as "[A]ny intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental, and emotional health."


In times of stress, trauma, or crisis, practicing self-care can help manage your health.

While self-care isn't the be-all and end-all to dealing with stress, it can be a valuable recovery tool. Here are a few self-care suggestions from Crisis Clinic.

1. Exercise — even a little bit.

Don't worry, we're not talking about running a marathon here. Your form of exercise can be as light or as intense as you want it to be. Don't have access to a gym? No problem! Take a walk around the block, try a yoga routine on YouTube, climb the bleachers at your local high school track, go window-shopping at the mall, or give your home a speedy power clean. There are tons of ways to get your endorphins pumping, and any number of them can have a positive impact on your mood.

2. Give yourself permission to focus on someone outside yourself.

Making someone else feel good is a great way to lift your own spirits. Try volunteering or call up an old friend or family member you haven't talked to in a while and brighten their day.

3. Give and get physical touch: A hug can do wonders.

4. Give yourself permission to feel bad: Schedule it in your day. Remind yourself that your reactions are normal.

Sometimes the worst thing you can do when you're feeling down is to beat yourself up for feeling down. Remember you're human and everyone has good days and bad days.

5. Give yourself permission to feel good.

Everyone's feel-good solution is different. Just be careful and make sure not to partake in activities that could cause harm to yourself or anyone else. Get some ice cream, watch your favorite movie, or laugh at a fart joke! Sometimes when we're going through something difficult, we keep ourselves from experiencing joy because we don't think it's appropriate or we think we don't deserve it. Remember that it's OK to laugh and feel good during times of sadness, even if it's only for a moment.

6. Structure your time and develop a routine.

Finding time for friends, family, work, play, and everything in between can be difficult, even on your best days. Too often when we're extremely busy or stressed, we forget to make time for even simple things like lunch or quiet time. To make things easier on yourself, try setting alarms on your phone or online calendar for everything from meetings and appointments to taking your vitamins. There are also tons of productivity apps you can use to set for daily, weekly, and even hourly goals if needed. Not a fan of digital scheduling? Try a paper planner or giant laminated calendar to help organize and structure your days.

7. Engage in practices that are meaningful to you, such as prayer, walking in the woods, sitting quietly, reading inspirational material, taking a bath, or writing in a journal.

8. Take breaks from periods of isolation.

Everyone needs alone time now and then, but try setting a timer for yourself so you can get some fresh air and connect with others.

9. Talk it out — even with a professional.

Don't have health insurance or access to a health care professional? There are tons of free resources that can connect you with someone online or by phone. Check out yourlifeyourvoice.org for videos, articles, and local resources for people struggling with depression. Also, the Crisis Clinic (the wonderful organization behind this self-care list) has a 24-hour hotline.

10. Get plenty of rest so that you feel refreshed and relaxed.

Don't underestimate the power of a good night's sleep! If you have trouble sleeping at night, try turning off the TV and electronic devices like your cell phone and computer at least one hour before you want to go to bed. A cup of hot (decaf) tea before bed can be helpful. Also, things like regular exercise, stretching, and calming music can help your body successfully power down before bedtime.

Self-care shouldn't just be for the tough times. Make it a habit worth keeping.

The tricky thing about self-care is that when you're feeling down, exercising or going to see a doctor is usually the last thing on your mind. That's why it's important to make self-care a part of your daily life. Self-care can be an important tool for times of crisis, but it's much easier to implement if you're taking care of yourself during the good times, too.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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