31 Comforting Things That Make Us Feel Good When We Need It the Most

How to Comfort Yourself When Times Are Tough

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Helen Rushbrook/Stocksy

We all need comfort sometimes. It's just a fact of being human, like needing to eat or sleep. Some of us might even need it more than others, depending on a variety of factors and scenarios. If you have a bad day, you probably look for ways to turn it around or just forget about your troubles for a moment. If you're stressed, you might have some self-care methods that help you relax. If you're feeling lonely, you could have someone you normally reach out to in order to feel more connected.

It's not selfish to crave some time to yourself or seek out comfort. Taking care of your mental health is important. Caring for yourself is important. When you look after yourself, you can be in a good place to look after others and maybe even provide some comfort to those around you who really need it.

And because we're all different, we have various ways of comforting ourselves. For some people, it just might be taking a nap with a very soft blanket. For others, it might be writing it out. Some might enjoy a home-cooked meal. And others could lean into nostalgia, like watching an old TV show or listening to music from their childhood.

Since we're living in a time right now that can feel especially stressful, bleak, depressing… (insert sad adjective here), I recently asked my colleagues about what makes them feel good. I have my own ways of taking care of myself, but I'm always looking for new ideas that I haven't tried yet. They shared their thoughts below—I hope they might provide you with some inspiration to find a moment to yourself when times are tough. We'd also love to hear what comforts you. Send us a DM or comment at @thethirty.

"While I love a bath as much as the next person, the one thing that makes me feel instantly better whenever I'm stressed or overwhelmed is a nice, hot shower. The feeling of the water pressure and steam is truly unmatched. Every now and then, I'll take a few additional moments to give myself a soothing scalp massage, and the zingy lemongrass scent from this shampoo and conditioner is the perfect boost I need to kick-start my day. Lastly, you haven't really lived until you've tied a eucalyptus bunch to your showerhead. It's such a low-cost, minimal-effort way to turn your shower into a spa-like experience. I swear by it!"

"Give me all the candles! Burning a candle is such a simple way to set the tone for the task at hand. I usually burn something light and citrusy in the morning to get me in the zone for work. Then, I transition to a more earthy scent at night to wind down with Netflix or while reading in bed. Since I don't have a fireplace, I have been especially fond of crackling wicks and smoky scents lately. The key to ultimate comfort for me, however, is a luxurious bubble bath with a single candle that provides both illumination and aromatherapy. Zen is just a match flick away!"

"Also, if you have a friend who burns a zillion candles, consider gifting them this three-in-one candle snuffer set to keep their wicks in shape."

"There are so many things that bring me comfort, but I think I've learned that it's about doing and finding things that bring you joy. Joy is the ultimate form of stress relief and resistance. For me, joy is being able to spend a day binge-reading, learning more about some of my favorite artists, making a new playlist on Spotify, lighting a new candle, trying a new beauty product from BIPOC brands, binge-watching a new show, and dressing up (yes, really)."

"I discovered these on a trip to Japan and buy them as a treat every time I'm there. They're little single-use eye masks that gently warm up when you open them. I prefer the unscented, but they also come in yuzu (Japanese citrus) and lavender scents. I love to crack one open, lay down, and do a little meditation or just let my mind wander."

"I'm all about texture and tactile things when it comes to comfort. Wearing something soft or touching something fuzzy gives me an instant cozy, calming feeling. Lately, at the end of the day, I've been winding down by surrounding myself with the coziest things: a robe, slippers, a blanket, and a cup of tea."

"If I had to pick one word to describe 2020 it'd be stressful. It's no wonder my anxiety has been through the roof—we're in the midst of so many different crises. However, there are a few things that have been comforting to me. For starters, my morning walk around the Silver Lake Reservoir. It's my 'quiet time,' the time I have to catch up on podcasts and be outside with no one else around. I look forward to it every day. My sleeping patterns have been all over the place, so I'm grateful that I've been able to get really into sleep meditation à la the Calm app. For someone who has never been a meditation person, it's a pretty big deal. Any time I turn it on, I'm out within a few minutes (thanks Harry Styles). And for when I'm home and need to mentally escape, I turn on The Great British Baking Show. It's one of my favorite competition shows ever (everyone is genuinely so nice to one another), and there's a new season out, so that's been keeping me busy (and keeping my sweet tooth happy). "

"With the temperatures dropping and the holiday season quickly approaching, you can find my home filled with comforting candles. There's something about the moody aesthetic of candles burning around the house that is so calming. I'm particularly drawn to the soothing aromas of amber and rose scents, but I'm also a sucker for seasonal holiday scents like cedar and balsam fir."

"I've turned so many of my friends onto these fuzzy slippers. They're perfect for lounging around the house and keep your feet warm during the colder months. I mean really, is there anything more comforting than a pair of furry slippers?"

"I'm not sure about you, but a big, warm, carb-heavy dish hits just right when I'm extra stressed out. My go-to recipes are the Jon & Vinny's Spicy Fusilli alla Vodka and this cozy Creamy Tortellini Vegetable Soup by Half Baked Harvest."

"I know that caffeine isn't exactly a stress reducer, but it makes me more productive, and productivity equals less stress in my book. I just started using Jot Ultra Coffee (which I mix with Oatly Barista Blend), and my life has changed. It's super concentrated, so you only need a little, but you can definitely taste the coffee (and it's delicious). I drink so much caffeine that espresso shots don't always give me a kick, but this definitely does."

"Slipping into a pair of cozy house slippers is the quickest way to unwind, and nothing tops this pair from Ugg in my mind. They have the brand's classic shearling lining and a sturdier sole than most slippers, which is nice if you have to run outside to grab the mail or whatnot. These get a 10/10 from me."

"This handmade candle has a warm, woodsy scent that's inspired by the nature of Topanga Canyon in L.A., and lighting it immediately puts me in a relaxed mood."

Next up: It's Been a Long Year—Here's How Our Wellness Routines Have Changed

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