Self care in dark times

How are you faring in the first few weeks of the Trump era? It hasn't been that long and things are already bad, really bad, horrible actually. I don’t need to go into the details, all you have to do is turn on your phone, your computer, browse the headlines of the news, scroll down your Facebook feed for less than a minute. . . well, you know. It’s hard. Many people, including myself, are majorly struggling. It’s loss of heart, followed by more loss of heart, at least once per day, sometimes much more than that.

One positive thing that has come out of Trump’s presidency is that more people than ever before want to be involved, the time of complacency has passed and the time for action has arisen. The caveat is that it is hard to take action when you are struggling with loss of heart, which can easily slide into straight up depression. So what can we do?

There has never been a better time for self care than now. If someone you love dearly is suffering, the natural inclination is to help them, to take care of them, to find out what helps them to feel better and gets them back to health, mentally, physically, and emotionally. That’s what we have to do, not just for others, but ourselves, too. If a plane is losing altitude quickly, as a passenger you are advised to put on your oxygen mask first before you help anyone else, because what good are you going to be to others if you can’t breathe. Same concept here, so this is a loving reminder to you and me both.

 

Taking Inventory

First things first, take 10-20 minutes to slow down and check in with yourself about how you are feeling. . . actually feeling, as opposed to how you want to be feeling,or how you think you are feeling. How you want to be feeling is also important, it’s just a little further down the list of steps.  It’s also imperative to distinguish between thinking and feeling, because it’s possible to think you’re fine but actually be not be.

Thinking - Do some listening to your thoughts. I recommend hitting pause on any negative inner dialogue that’s spinning around your head because it’s probably not going to be helpful. Why kick someone when they are already down? If you are feeling bad already, there’s no need to trash yourself even more.

Feeling - Yep, go ahead and allow yourself to feel the place/s that hurt. If you have tools or methods for self healing, please take some time to use them. If you don’t, or what you are feeling is quite overwhelming, get some help. Call a healer, get some acupuncture, medical qigong, or anything that helps you move through the pain into the Light.


Now let’s ask the question, “How have I been spending my time?”

How much time are you using on social media, online shopping or browsing, television and movies, insert other vices here. Basically, if you are doing anything that leaves you feeling empty inside or worse for wear afterwards, seriously consider taking a break from it. The actions mentioned above are things that I personally find addictive, meaning that I have a hard time stopping or limiting how much time I spend once I start. I find they can easily end up dominating my thoughts and pull me out of being present even when I am not physically engaged in them. In other words, it’s hard to disconnect.

 

Find a way, take a break

Try taking a week off from social media and the news. If you don’t believe you can do a week, then try 5 days or just the weekend. In doing this, temporarily turn off your notifications and even better don’t keep your phone on your body. Keep it in a bag or the same room. Just try it, you may also notice your unconscious pull to check it at an alarmingly frequent rate. Fight it. Just leave it. Check it once per hour or respond as needed when being called, texted, or emailed. Seriously, try it and see what you notice. Really focus your energy and attention on being present to yourself and those around you. See if you notice anything about how you feel or how others respond to you. I’m not saying, don’t get involved or don’t be an activist. It’s important to stand up for what you believe in and be heard, to participate in democracy. Ultimately you will be more effective and less likely to burn out if you are not totally consumed by the injustices of the world.

 

How would you like to be feeling?

Use this as an opportunity to come back into alignment with yourself, your values and what is important to you. Make a list, cull through it, set some goals. Here are a few recommendations for health and wellbeing. Please keep in mind that each one could be a whole blog in itself and will be elaborated upon in future posts. Feel free to add in other arenas of your life, too.

Sleep - Try to get between 7-9 hours per night. I can’t overemphasize how important sleep is. It’s when your body repairs itself on many levels. If you are not sleeping, let’s work on that.

Diet - Eat a balanced diet of whole foods and avoid eating sugar. I recommend that my patients keep a dietary log for at least one week of everything they’ve eaten, when they ate, with whom they ate, supplements/herbs/medications they took, and what they noticed about how they were feeling physically and emotionally.

Quiet time for yourself - Set aside at least 10 minutes per day in the morning if at all possible for meditation, prayer, self check or space to breathe. You will thank yourself for this later. It’s a great way to begin your day before rushing into the crazy pace of NYC life.

Seek out healing support - No one has to go through this alone. If you aren’t feeling well, get acupuncture, herbs, medical qigong, or any other healing modality that you benefit from. So much can shift with one treatment.

Exercise - Do some yoga or pilates, hit the gym, go for a run, go dancing, or any other activity that moves your body and makes you sweat. Make time to move.

 

Restructuring

Make a plan and put it into action. Look at your schedule realistically and make some changes and additions. Your plan doesn’t have to be rigid but do your best to adhere to it. If you are anything like me, you may need need someone to keep you accountable in a loving and gentle way. Tell your partner or close friend what you are doing, get them involved. If you fail or mess up, don’t make a big deal about it, stay positive and keep striving. Remember, we need you. Our children need you. The natural world needs you. If you are healthy, you can be a better activist and create more positive change in the world. Do it.