Self-Care

Self-Care

I'm not going to lie, Self-Care in the "before times" was way more manageable.  Collectively we are all going through a traumatic experience.  And it's OK to be exactly where you are.

There are so many posts telling you to keep fit, do an online exercise class, take a nice hot bath every night, dress up as if you're going somewhere, immerse yourself in your hobby, better still take up a hobby, or study an online class.  The reality is, not everybody has the privilege of turning a pandemic into something fun or productive.

I'm a seamstress in my "spare time", so when this first started and Italy gave us a vision of what was on the horizon, I spent all of my pocket money on fabric and patterns and made sure that I had enough zips, thread, and machine needles.  I was contemplating getting my sewing machine serviced, but in my rush to self-isolate, I prioritized getting my glasses fixed and my greys covered up by my hairstylist.  The Monday before we went into lockdown, I had a video shoot for Envirosax (and my new brand of menstrual cups - I'll let you in on that later).   I sewed the dress the model wore and was still stitching at 11 pm.  Since then, my fabric stash has sat there untouched, and I have had no inclination whatsoever to sew.

I make my bed each morning.  But it's not as automatic as it usually is; I've noticed that.  I shower each morning, but my makeup sits there untouched - I find a bare face quite refreshing actually.  It seems like I continuously cook for my house of teenagers, which gives me a sense of nurturing my brood.  All these things are good, but the effort seems that little bit harder.  

All around the world, people are affected by this global crisis - financially, emotionally, or physiologically.  Our sense of normality and grounding has suddenly taken a turn.  We get worried about things we cannot control.  And all this has an impact on our ability to administer Self-Care.

So - do I sit here and give you a list of wonderful things that contribute to Self-Care?  No, I'd rather empathize with you.  I want to tell you that no matter where you are right now, you are doing OK.  We are al trying to navigate these unchartered waters.  Here are a few things I'd like to share with you.

Notice the good in the world, the helpers. There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information to take in regarding this pandemic. There are also a ton of stories of people sacrificing, donating, and supporting one another in miraculous ways. It is essential to counterbalance the heavy information with the hopeful information.

"Chunk" your quarantine, take it moment by moment. We have no road map for this. We don't know what this will look like in 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month from now. Focus on whatever bite-sized piece of a challenge that feels manageable. Whether that be 5 minutes, a day, or a week at a time—find what feels doable for you. Take each chunk one at a time, and move through your daily tasks in pieces.

Develop a self-care toolkit. 
This can look different for everyone. A lot of successful self-care strategies involve a sensory component (seven senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell, vestibular (movement), and proprioceptive (comforting pressure). An idea for each: a soft blanket or stuffed animal, a hot chocolate, photos of vacations, soothing music, lavender or eucalyptus oil, a small swing or rocking chair, a weighted blanket. A journal, an inspirational book, or a mandala coloring book, bubbles to blow, or to blow watercolor on paper through a straw is visually appealing as well as work on controlled breath. 
For children, help them create a self-regulation comfort box (often a shoe-box or bin they can decorate) that they can use on the ready for first-aid when overwhelmed. 

Write a list of three things you feel grateful for each day. Think about the people and things in your life, the experiences you've had.  It may be a smile from a stranger, a phone call from a grandchild, the wagging tail of your dog, a favorite song on the radio, a message from a friend or neighbor, or something as simple as watching the clouds move through the sky or the wind your face. 
Taking time to notice and appreciate the things that make us happy, no matter how small, increases our feelings of happiness and our general wellbeing.

I wish you all happiness and wellbeing.  And please, Stay Safe.