Oh my, there is a lot going on in the world right now. Between a recent family loss, COVID-19, and the deserved media coverage that BIPOC are finally getting, I’ve been feeling so heavy.
I was reminded how important self love is and wrote this list of 7 self care ideas for stressful times with the hope that those who are devoting a lot of time and energy to creating change remember to nurture themselves.
It’s a lot to take in.
The past few days have been hard. I don’t even know what to post on social media. I’ve spent my time reading, educating, and discussing the current events with friends and family. In the past few months I’ve spent more time watching news than I ever have in my entire life. I’ve consumed headlines, tweets, articles, and videos between work and other items that require my attention. And spent the time in between researching how I can get involved and make a difference. I’ve signed petitions and done what I can. I will continue advocating.
Yes, the current status of BIPOC in the United States needs attention. I’m not taking away from that. I am, after all, Latina myself and have afro-caribbean and afro-latinx people in my family. There is space to admit what everyone is already feeling.
We are all exhausted.
The world was already at a breaking point. This was in the making for a long time and it just tipped us over the edge. We need to take care of ourselves now more than ever. Having a go-to set of self care ideas to use during stressful times is crucial to our wellbeing.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself.
Self care has become such a trendy word the past few years that it’s sort of become the slogan for millenials. I kind of cringe even bringing this up considering the current climate, but it’s important. You cannot show up fully to serve others when your cup is empty.
While the media will fuel you to take action (which is great), I’m here to tell you that after you’ve protested, after you’ve signed petitions, after you’ve donated, after you’ve read, discussed, self educated, and after you’ve done your part for the day– take some time for you. Fill your cup back up every day so you can show up fully the next day.
As women, we have been conditioned by society to ignore our own needs until the needs of everyone else have been met. We give so much of ourselves to others. We continue to cross things off the to-do list and over extend ourselves day after day, sunrise to sunset at the expense of our own wellbeing.
We’re all giving from empty cups.
The crazy thing is that we don’t even realize when we’re on the verge of burnout. This perpetual cycle is passed down generation to generation. How would we know any better if our ancestors all lived in a similar way? I will admit, things are better, in many ways, now than they ever have been. BUT it’s our job to stop the cycle.
Do the work. Stop the cycle.
Once you’ve done your day’s activism and work, take some time for you. It’s not vain. It’s important and it’s necessary.
Here are some self care ideas to try during stressful times
Everyone needs to breathe right now. As a collective we’ve been holding our breath and hanging on to minute-by-minute news updates for the past 3 months. And it’s not stopping any time soon.
So take a 2 minute pause for the day
and take 5 deep inhalations
in through the nose and out through the mouth.
If you want another relaxing breathing exercise try the 4-7-8 breath.
This can be done simultaneously with the breathing, but I find it more centering when I separate meditation and breathwork. Meditation can be as short as a few minutes or as long as a few hours. There’s more benefit to getting a little done each day than there is to skip it.
Try this 1 minute guided meditation by HeadSpace, which does include a bit of breathwork.
Move your body
In a loving and intentional way.
Be present in your movement. All that matters is here and now. Maybe you’re sitting at your desk reading headlines, or laying in bed scrolling social media. You might be marching and protesting in your city.
After all of that take a short calming walk, do a workout, or a focused yoga class.
Give thanks to your body for all that it does for you.
Stay away from alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs. The last thing you need right now is paranoia, anxiety, or a hangover. You need to focus on keeping your body healthy.
Draw a warm bath with epsom salts to relax your muscles.
Sometimes I have difficulty staying asleep and I’ll use melatonin. It helps me fall asleep and stay asleep. I don’t use this often because I’ll have vivid dreams and can feel groggy in the morning if I don’t time it out correctly.
Don’t immediately go to your phone and start your day with news headlines or social media.
Don’t end your day on your devices with news headlines or social media.
Plan out your media consumption, or at least set a time limit for yourself.
Then shut it off.
I’ve ordered this pair of blue-blocking glasses and use the flux setting on my computer and phone, which temporarily adds a yellow hue to my screens, to limit the amount of blue light that’s emitted. This is something to keep in mind if you’re taking melatonin as blue light will not allow the melatonin to be released.
Read or Listen
Nothing gets me to sleep faster than reading. If you’re at a loss for what to do to keep entertained without your devices in the evening try reading a book. Not an e-book. An actual physical book, or at least an audio book.
I usually opt for non-fiction or self improvement titles, but in high stress times I prefer to escape into fiction. Take me away to a fantasy world.
I also like playing podcasts throughout the day. When the world has been uprooted, it can feel grounding to hear friendly voices and good conversation. It can give you a sense of normalcy and make you feel like you’re not alone. This is especially true for anyone who works from home, or is alone often.
Again, I tend to gravitate towards inspirational and more formal interview style podcasts, but that honestly seems overwhelming right now. For a good laugh try Comedy Bang Bang: The Podcast WITH SCOTT AUKERMAN, WTF with Marc Maron, or Anna Faris Is Unqualified.
Talk about what’s happening in the world, and in this country. Discuss the inequalities. Speak about the systemic oppression. Address the racism, prejudice, and discrimination.
We need to have these conversations.
But don’t forget to connect on other topics, subjects, and levels. Ask your people how they feel. Talk about what inspires you. Create a sense of normalcy between the very necessary conversations we are all having right now.