I think that it’s safe to say that 2020 has been a rough year. Most of us (myself included) have been feeling like every day is a struggle to just get through. Taking one day at a time until we look up and notice that several months have gone by. Most of us are trying to juggle so many things at one time: work, school, family, social distancing, standing up for social justice, not to mention just trying to make sense of what exactly is happening every day. It’s hard. And self-care!? Forget about it.
We try so hard to get by every day with heavy hearts, maxed to capacity. And while we try so hard try to make everything “ok” what is often left behind is ourselves. Something I keep coming back to with people I meet with every day is that with everything going on, we are forgetting to take care of ourselves.
There is an old analogy that I’ve heard (and used) many times. The one that goes: If the airplane is going down, you have to put on your mask before you help anyone else, because if you go down, you won’t be able to take care of them in the future. It’s simple. But it’s so very true.
With so much going on, we get caught up in all the things we feel we need to do. Be a hard worker. Be strong for our children. Stand up for our family and friends. Stay home to protect our community. The number of things we feel we need to do for others pile up. But what we find is the more we put out, the less we have to give. Our physical, mental and emotional health starts to fail. And we find that we no longer have anything left to give. Or we give so much our bodies break down.
So in times like these, we need to pretend we are in an airplane going down. (and in a sense we are). Work, take care of your kids, practice social distancing, protest – do all the things you need to do. But take care of yourself first. Because it’s impossible to keep it all up if you don’t take care of yourself. The pure stress of it all will catch up to you. So this is a gentle reminder to look out for yourself. Just 15 min a day is enough. Just for you. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Take time out for yourself (at least 15 min a day)
- Read a book you’ve been meaning to read
- Listen to your favorite podcast
- Start a creative project like painting or crafting
- Spend some time in nature – go for a walk or a boat ride
- Take a bath (with epsom salt!)
- Start a puzzle
- Write in your journal
Exercise! (helps relax your body and mind!)
- Go for a run or walk
- Ride your bike on a fun trail
- Take a kayak or canoe out on the water
- Do some of those online classes you’ve been wanting to do (yoga, pilates….etc)
- Take an online dance class (you should check out Ryan Heffington for some awesome free dance classes)
Active Relaxation (because we all need a spa day right now)
- Treat yourself to a home mani/pedi!
- Take a long bath with essential oils (and epsom salts!)
- Lock yourself in your room, by yourself and listen to some music
- Meditate! (If you aren’t a meditator like me, check out Emily Fletcher’s meditation book that simplifies meditation for beginners)
- Practice mindfullness
These are just some ideas to get you started. Note that it’s normal to feel guilty for taking time for yourself. Especially if you feel the long list of things piling up around you. But if you do it, you’ll feel stronger, and lighter and ready to take on the day. You can do more for others and our community when you are healthy enough to endure all it has to throw at us.
If you have questions ways to help you care for yourself, or you need someone to hold you accountable for it, call us. Our staff is happy to help you help yourself!
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