I woke this morning completely drained by the cloud of despair hanging over the world at the moment. While I am grateful to be aware of political and social events right around the world, the upset and stress it places upon me definitely has a negative impact on my mental and emotional health.
The biggest catastrophe for all of us is the conflict that is happening between ourselves. Our own family members and neighbors are at war, and even if we are agreeing, politics or COVID-19 is all we are talking about. Simple disagreement has turned into hatred. Despite my strong political and social views, I try to be empathetic towards those on the opposing side. I try to remember that everyone is coming to the table with an individual set of experiences that makes them think and live in a certain way.
I’ve had to pull myself out of my head and enter into my heart to be able to cope with what is happening and the vicious energy that surrounds it. It has taken all my strength to do this. I have become engulfed with the anger and hate too. I am finding myself deeply frustrated by the insanity that we are bombarded by every second of every day.
When I am sitting in a heart space, what I see is a world full of humans living in terror. It’s not just fear anymore, it is uncontrollable terror. We fight and argue and become aggressive because of fear.
Regardless of our political views we can find a way to cope and lesson the affect of these traumatic events.
Practicing self-care at this moment in time is crucial. It doesn’t have to be some extravagant practice.
The simplest of things are the most powerful when we are feeling powerless.
Some self-care acts that may help you today are as follows.
- Turn the TV off! It is important for us all to stay informed but we don’t have to do it 24/7. Checking in every couple of hours is enough. Most of what is being discussed on TV is non-essential information and designed to keep you hooked. Your cortisol and adrenaline levels will sky rocket if you expose yourself to constant negative information which will leave you feeling wired.
- Take a breath. Our breath is the most powerful tool to enable us to feel better. Shallow breathing can make everything worse in a stressful situation. Find some guided breathing techniques to help you cope.
- Move (outside if possible). Fresh air and movement are also a lifesavers in times of stress. Grounding outside in nature is so important to deal with stress. I like to have my coffee in the morning outside barefoot to help me connect and ground with my surroundings. Yes even in the cold and snow (but I can only do it for about a minute). Taking a walk, doing some yoga or whatever it is you enjoy will improve your outlook.
- Get creative. When I am feeling stressed or anxious writing with a pen and paper as apposed to typing helps all my feelings come up easier. Sometimes I just start with random words that come to mind rather than full sentences. After a few minutes whatever is bothering me starts to come up and I get a better idea of what I need to do to take care of myself. If you like to paint or play music do that – a lot! Creativity is like a magic spell of hope you send out into the world.
- Refuse to engage in conflict. I just love a good old political debate. I am a bit of a political and social justice junkie so it can be very difficult for me to disengage when I get pulled into a conversation. During normal times, these conversations can be invigorating and enlightening. However, recently it is better for me not to engage, especially with someone with opposing views. Everything is just too hot to handle right now so don’t even go there.
- Food matters. Cooking is one of the most relaxing and positive things I do when I’m unwell in body, mind or soul. Fresh, organic ingredients and positive intentions while engaging in the preparation of a dish for myself and my family, brings a soothing joy and positivity to our hearts and souls as well as nutrition to the body. Hearty soups and fresh baked bread is our favourite.
- Read something. If you are looking for distraction, there is nothing better than absorbing yourself in a good book. When I want to escape from the world, I love to read murder mysteries (maybe a bit macabre for some in our current climate). I become engrossed by the plot and the talent of the author in creating these twisted scenarios, and forget all about what is happening in the real world.
- Call someone and check on them. There’s nothing like care for others to bring us some joy. A simple “hi, how are you?” over the phone can be the highlight of someones day. Just remember, no divisive conversation topics!
- Your views are yours. Just a friendly reminder that you are entitled to your views and beliefs, but not everyone has to agree with you. After all, you are human, and you could be wrong!
These suggestions may seem a bit condescending and frivolous at critical times like these, and maybe they are. However, taking the edge off in a healthy and productive manner can prevent us from turning to old negative habits that we may have indulged in the past.
When we practice self-care, we create space in ourselves for hope and peace to live and maybe even offer other people the opportunity to do the same. We can then hold our beliefs and opinions without damaging our spirit.
Just because the world is in turmoil at the moment, doesn’t mean you have to be.