I LOVE journaling. Sometimes I write whatever comes out, but if I'm needing to process big/overwhelming emotions or burnout, I'll use my "Needs Journaling" or "5 Questions for Emotional Clarity" templates.
I highly, highly recommend checking out this free resource from Hopeful Panda on "How to Deal with Emotions in a Healthy Way" , and journaling on the 5 questions in the article.
Game-changer in terms of helping me process my emotions and move through them without/with less overwhelm, and it's been helping my chosen fam out a bunch, so check it out if you're needing support with emotional expression. I'm not an affiliate or anything. I just really appreciate this resource and use the questions for journaling on a regular basis.
2. Free writing:
Not quite the same as journaling.
Y'all. I've been writing a book.
I just completed my first draft a few weeks ago (I've wrote over 40,000 words of un-edited, embodied thought, just braindumped over the course of 3 weeks). To meet this goal, I wrote for an hour every day.
And it was a fully pleasurable experience. I had a writing ritual. There were rewards I gave myself every step of the way. And I was creating in a group with other queer, trans, nb, femme writers.
As I mentioned: depression. I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it. But the actual act of freely writing for 1 hour at a time (I set a timer), gave my energy a space to move. Dance has been hard to access lately. So I've been leaning on other creative ways to move. Typing on my keyboard is one of them :)
3. Lying down in my bean bag chair:
Ok, this is not technically free since I had to buy the bean bag chair, but the point I'm trying to get at it is lying down on a soft, supportive sensory surface. What would feel like a nice way to lie down? Soft squishy support? Lying down can be fun. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I just zone out. It feels like a soft hug on my back, holding me, which is like a sensory super-win for me.
4. Taking a hot bath :
I'm someone who has a hard time with baths (usually because I don't want to be bored) but I am reminded again and again of the benefits of a hot bath. The heat and water promote blood flow (movin' that chi), and helps relax tense muscles.
I keep my friend Hanah's (Open Apothecary) AAAMAZING "Pain" CBD Bath Bombs on hand for days when I need deeper relief. They're a million times better than any other bath bomb I'm tried, including those fancy ones from LUSH. At $10 each, so worth it (and made by a queer, Latinx magic mama!).
5. Making herbal tea blends:
I'm not a professional herbalist, but I am a kitchen witch who frequently uses herbs to make medicine for myself and my loved ones.
Oatstraw is a gentle and great for nervous system regulation.
Mullein helps relieve respiratory symptoms.
Dried rose helps me connect with self-love.
Tulsi (Holy Basil) is an adaptogen which helps with nervous system healing, especially when taken consistently.
These are usually the herbs I keep on hand, as they come in handy for hard days, grief, big emotions, and trauma. In Long Beach, I buy herbs from Green Wisdom, but I also order online from Iwilla Remedy (both also have some incredible courses, programs and resources for herbal studies).