Right now, we are in the middle of the global pandemic of Covid-19, and during it, people are on high alert. Maybe its because of the push to go into public areas like schools and voting areas, maybe its the continued denial of racial inequality, maybe its the differing opinion of how sensitive people should be to each other’s comforts, maybe its the election, and maybe its the harder hours we are working now that we are home. In any and all cases, there is need now, more than ever, for self care and spiritual development as a carved-out priority into our week.
However, living in America, we are an ‘all or nothing’ culture, and many think that self-care means to devote an entire day or sign up for a huge commitment in order to check that box because, “I couldn’t possibly remember to do it regularly if I didn’t have a big commitment looming over me.” Looming? Really? That’s how we are going to get you to do regular kindness to yourself? By having something looming? That doesn’t sound very care-ing to me. This is self-care. Not self-obligate.
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It’s time to readjust and do self-care in small, manageable doses. Here are a few:
Dump – I have notebooks nearby everywhere, and in the event that I’m feeling overwhelmed, it’s time to just dump. Doing a brain dump is a great way to drop all of those thoughts you’ve been holding and to look at them later. If you feel you don’t have the capacity to hold the grocery list, the kid’s schedules, your spiritual needs, your work, and remembering to add that tv show to your queue, then just have a notebook nearby. Have a few. One by the bed, one by the computer, one in the kitchen (this one gets destroyed, btw), or one in the bathroom. This way you don’t have the stress of ‘remembering,’ because you put in in one of those three places (and three places is a lot easier to find something than the chasms of your brain).
Brag – Take some time to boast about your accomplishments. The best way? Throwback and flashbacks. People are less likely to judge about you boosting your ego and getting that serotonin if its attached to a social media craze. Don’t be annoying, but do be proud. Your accomplishments may end up inspiring someone else!
Dance Breaks – When I worked as a National Guard contractor, we used to do this mid-day: We would all be working on our reports and managing our projects and then someone would say, “Dance Break!” and we’d put on a Whitney Houston song and move for a few minutes. Even if it’s just to move around and get out of your seat. Why not do this at home? You don’t even have to dance, just get up. Dance Break!
Change Your Environment – I do this often. I will pick up what I’m doing and move to a different place, or change my desk look, or even rearrange the entire room. The hour I spend helps organize my space, my mind, and its meditative. Then, you get a new perspective on your working space. I highly recommend changing your environment, even over spa-face-masks as the perfect self-care idea. You can even just get up and sit somewhere else, even on the floor!
Ditch the Brave, But Manage Your Emotions – This one is tricky. You can’t go around dumping how you feel about everything on everyone. It’s rude. But it’s unhealthy to hide all of your feelings and not express when others do you harm. Keep your emotions to yourself. BUT you also don’t have to maintain a strong and stoic face either. You’re allowed to feel your feelings. You’re just not allowed to poor them onto someone else. Give yourself a time-out when you’re upset. Explain that you are upset and then go deal with it. And during your time-out, try a dance break, change your environment, or go for a mini walk around the house.
Plant Love – Go water your plant. Taking care of something gives us a boost. I’ve now added two lovely plants, a fountain, and some statues to my work area, and I couldn’t be happier. We spend 80 percent of our time in doors. Nature will nurture you if you nurture nature. Some studies show that taking care of plants lowers your blood pressure and boosts your mood. Again, start with two, not a whole arboretum.
Mindful – I loathe the word, ‘meditate.’ I do. And I’m in the business of spiritually coaching people. But I don’t mind taking out a blanket, making a small picnic of cheese and meats, putting on some Enya or the soundtrack to Selkie, and just being mindful. I may even do some mindful focus grounding, like feeling my body rooting into the ground, or feeling what the blanket is like under my skin. Pay attention to the sensations in your body. Start at your connection to the ground and move up to your head. What is open? What is tense? It takes 30 minutes if you include lunch, and what a splendid way to spend your lunch break. A SPIRITUAL PICNIC!
Meals Outside or By The Fireplace – Winter is coming, and if you can’t get outside because you are a dainty flower afraid of the cold (like me), you can also spend your meal by the fireplace. Can’t do that? Try a fireplace video/screen saver and just change your computer to that for a while. You can even do this at breakfast time BEFORE work!
Digitized Theater and Dance – I’m always going to recommend escaping your reality for a bit, but instead of Netflix, try following a company that is still creating content of live performances in dance, theater, and voice but in digitized format for your enjoyment. Need one recommended? I recommend Druid Theater Arts because they have two dance companies and two theater companies and they focus on holistic cultural consciousness in their art and community. They’ve transitioned to fully online in their education programs and performance companies and don’t plan on changing back. They are small, so they are slow to get their old material online for rental, but they are in production right now for three different digitized shows! www.druidtheater.com Escape your reality and into another is a great way to wind down at the end of your day, and you can bring the arts into your own home.