If you talk to almost anyone at the moment, they are feeling some degree of stress, overwhelm or anxiety as the world hurtles from one seismic shift to another. We’ve had our eyes opened to just how vulnerable we are as humans by the pandemic and this has been followed by a long overdue global Awakening to the horror that is racism…..so yes you are allowed to feel what you feel.
In the words of Audre Lorde, selfcare is “an act of political warfare”. Caring for yourself is an act of self preservation and is something that is vitally important, particularly now. Many of us are feeling particularly vulnerable, drained, anxious and a lot more. So for those of you who are feeling overwhelmed, here are some self-care tips. It is your duty to yourself to take care of you and you deserve it.
Make sure you’re meeting your basic needs
If you’re keeping busy either being involved in campaigning, protests, work or speaking with friends and family, make sure you’re also putting aside time to nourish your body: eat an energy boosting breakfast or make yourself a good lunch, move your body, stretch and stay hydrated throughout the day.
Disconnect from Social Media
There is so much taking place on social media that is positive BUT there’s also a lot of negativity that can add to our anxiety levels, triggering an emotional response, so there’s no harm in limiting the time that you spend on it… in fact it’s healthy to skip it completely for a day or two… it’s all about self-preservation.
Don’t forget the power of breath work to aid relaxation and slow down a racing mind. Just focusing on your breath for a few minutes works wonders. Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds. This type of deep rhythmic breathing aims to reduce anxiety and anger responses.
At times like this taking time everyday to give thanks for all that we do have, like the people in our lives can really make a difference.
Set a bedtime routine
In the words of Jo Foster, the founder of sleep brand Kiss the Moon, “sleep is the third pillar of healthy lifestyle, as important as diet and exercise” so if you’re not getting enough of it, or it’s fragmented, it can have implications on your physical and mental health.
If your brain is buzzing and you’re having trouble sleeping, set a night-time routine to help you relax and drift off. This could include turning off electronics a few hours before sleep, a relaxing bath or something like this. Jo Foster’s advice is: “reclaim the last 20 minutes of your day. Take them back. Taking time to create a relaxing routine – like having a bath or turning off your computer – will signal to your body to start unwinding so you’re thoroughly chilled out when it comes to falling asleep.”
Let yourself feel
If you’re able to – perhaps even try and take a half a day off work to reset, recharge or give yourself some time to grieve without feeling guilty about not being productive. If you can’t take time off, make some time in your weekend or evening schedule. There is a lot going on at the moment and sometimes you just need to take some time to yourself just to breathe. Honour yourself and your feelings.
Connect with others
Connect with your friends and other likeminded people who you can get support from and share your thoughts and fears with. Sharing and talking about things can really help to take the weight off and to rationalise and put things into perspective. But do set boundaries and give yourself permission to opt out of any conversations or discussions if it’s more than you can handle right now.
Change your media diet where you can
I don’t know about you but constantly watching the news often causes me more harm than good. Set yourself a schedule (perhaps this is once in the evenings after dinner, maybe more) where you will purposefully watch and digest the news instead of constantly checking can really help with your mindset.
There’s a lot of good out there and focusing on this can help you feel grounded. So for example, if you’re an art lover along with continuing to enjoy the art that you do, take some time to explore something new, to experience new genres that you perhaps haven’t gotten round to before and open yourself up to a whole new world. And also please do support your favourite Black Artists and share the love. Social media is amazing for finding new artists and new businesses so do use this tool to find something new.
Also, consider donating to or volunteering at an organisation that you feel speaks to what you’re feeling strongly about.