Staying Afloat

It has been a tough few weeks for a lot of people. Emotions have been running on overdrive all around, and the levels of energetic intensity have been through the roof.

All of us are desperate to find a way through, to find a little peace in the storm, to find a way to keep going. This is when self-care becomes its most basic. What are your answers to these questions?

Are you getting enough to eat? Anything to eat?
It is important to get some kind of nutrition and fuel into yourself. Look for easy-to-digest foods like smoothies, soups, rice-and-veg bowls; anything you can stomach. It’s okay if you order in, or get it from the freezer section of the grocery store. Whatever is easiest for you is the most important. Heck, if Doritos is what will satisfy, then go for it. We’re looking at the immediate short-term here, so a little junk food will do no harm as long as you find your way back to actual nutrition after a meal or two. Anything more than that will have you feeling worse, not better.

If you enjoy cooking and find it soothing, I encourage you to make your own soup or try a new daal recipe. The food will be welcome to your frazzled system, and the process of making will help you relax.

Are you getting through the school/work day?
Are you able to concentrate on the tasks before you, or are you finding it all just too much? If you can, now would be a great time to pull out all those mundane, boring, repetitive tasks you’ve been putting off. Stuffing a hundred envelopes seems beyond tedious most days, but when your brain is fried it can become almost meditative. It gives the added bonus of being legitimately productive while allowing you some space to decompress.

If you’re in the middle of a semester and finding the coursework impossible to concentrate on, find the easy thing to work on. Maybe now isn’t the right time to delve into quantum physics (unless that is relaxing for you, then go for it). However, is there a quick and easy reading assignment you can take outside, or to a coffee shop? What about your work area? Could it use some tidying? Again, focus on the easily digestible, the mindlessly productive.

Are you giving yourself permission to unplug from the constant stream of information?
Yes, it is important to stay informed. But it is also important at a certain point to disengage. I’m not saying permanently, but enough to give yourself a chance to breathe. Trust me, you won’t be missing anything that can’t be found out a few hours later.

Do you find yourself constantly arguing on Facebook posts? Remove the app from your phone for a week and turn off notifications. Same with Twitter and any other social media that gets you riled up. Are you watching CNN at 3 a.m.? STOP DOING THAT. Set a time when you stop watching all news, preferably at least an hour before bedtime. There is nothing you can do about anything at 3 a.m. Give yourself a break.

Do you have a support system so you can talk/vent as you need to?
Sometimes the kind of intensity we’ve been experiencing brings up old traumas and issues; ones we’ve intentionally pushed down or otherwise thought we’d already dealt with. It can be jarring and re-traumatizing.

Finding a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on can be immensely helpful. Whether that is a therapist, a member of the clergy, a support group (online or in-person), or just your bestie and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, knowing you aren’t alone helps.

Are you getting enough sleep?
Sometimes it’s hard to get enough sleep when everything is going well. When it isn’t, it can be doubly difficult. Start with the obvious: ease back on the caffeine. Even if you “can drink coffee right up until bedtime and not feel it,” stop  for a week or two. Turn off any and all screens one hour before bedtime. Research suggests that the light from our screens can inhibit melatonin, which helps us sleep.

It can be tough to meditate if your brain is racing, but I encourage you to explore the vast world of guided meditations available online. A gentle, yin-based yoga sequence can help work out any lingering anxieties and help your body ease toward a bit of peace.

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Toby the Dog demonstrates peace and relaxation by hugging his back feet to his mouth. I encourage what works best for you. . .probably not this.

We all have a couple go-to tricks that we know help us. If you find yourself struggling, break ‘em out, whatever they are. Give yourself the permission you need to help yourself.

After all, if you’re going to be a get-things-done-kicking-ass-Warrior then you need to be in good shape. So take care of yourself, and kick some ass.

 

 

Resources

As always, the internet is a wonderful place and I encourage you to explore and find what works for you.

This guided meditation isn’t for everyone (it is pretty free with the cursing), but it is oddly effective: F*ck That: An Honest Meditation

A quick read about how your devices are affecting your sleep.

This is a 30-minute evening yoga sequence, geared toward relaxing muscles and easing the day’s tension.