Even some of the wisest people I know are feeling worn out, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Even those folks that have done a lot of self-development work are just too tired to manage the basics of self-care. Who has time to tend their own heart and soul when they are just trying to keep it together?
Because for a lot of folks, simply keeping everyone in your house fed, in clean clothes, and attending any work or school Zoom calls can be a monumental feat. Especially when you have to do it again the next day…and the next.
While I don’t want to add anything to your plate, I did want to share what’s helping keep me stitched together during these challenging times. Especially on the days when I feel a little more overwhelmed or hopeless about what’s going on in the world.
One: Connect to Your Breath
I know you hear “you need to breathe” and there’s a reason. Close your eyes, put your hand on your chest, and take some deep breaths. Take a big, deep breath IN, hold it for a moment, and slowly release. It helps calm your nervous system.
Two: Go Outside and simply BE in nature.
We’ve already had some cool mornings and evenings here (in the 40’s), so Mother Nature is hard at work in shifting the landscape. Simply sit and admire what’s before you. Look for a shift in the colors since last month. Sit and watch the birds – something I like to do when it’s cooler in the mornings as they puff themselves up to stay warm. Watch the squirrels scamper from tree to tree.
Let nature soothe you as you find quiet and peace for a few moments.
Three: Go for a walk.
And JUST walk. No distractions which means no podcasts, no phone calls, and no music. Walk with the intention of pulling excess energy out of your body, into the earth, and let it restore you. Admire nature and admire your neighbor’s yards. Wave at other walkers. See if you can identify bird calls.
Give you mind a BREAK from any input beyond what’s before you.
Four: Seek Beauty Behind the Lens
Though it’s tempting to scroll when you have your phone in hand, commit to photographing ONE thing of beauty each day. This may be your puppy, the curve of a beloved’s face, or something in your garden. Often when I go to the park for a walk, I challenge myself to take at least five good photos.
Seeking beauty will always sooth the soul.
Five: Stop Name Calling & Judging
One of the reasons the outside world feels so volatile is all the labeling and name calling. So, make a strong commitment to yourself to stop labeling others and calling them names. While it’s easy to look at the actions of others (especially politicians) and call them Stupid or Deplorable or Thugs or Henchmen, STOP.
And as a part of no name calling, STOP judging the choices of others. These are tough times and a lot of people are having to take calculated risks to pay the bills and tend their families. Judgement is actually part of the discernment process as it helps you figure out what’s right for you. However, we rarely have “all” the facts so STOP.
If someone you follow on social media makes you want to call them a name or label them or judge the choices they are making for themselves and others, then UNFOLLOW THEM!! Because when you look for reasons to be outraged, you’ll find it.
Darling, when you FEED your mind with name calling and judging others, the person you are harming the most is YOU. You’re inviting your mind to look for the ways you can label others or find fault in their choices. And like anything, once you start down the slippery path of name calling and judging others, it’s easier to do again and again and again.
You are hurting your tender soul. So tend yourself by stepping away from being so judgmental.
Six: Find a Reason to Laugh
I find a reason to laugh every day. Sometimes, it’s thanks to watching a rerun of The Big Bang Theory for the hundredth time. Sometimes it’s thanks to watching the silliness of the squirrel that scampers through the yard around five every evening. Sometimes, it’s just sending a silly selfie to a friend.
Several studies support that laughter is a good way to tend yourself. Possessing a healthy sense of humor is associated with living longer according to a Norwegian study. And a Japanese study of older men and women confirmed that those who tend to laugh more have a lower risk of major cardiovascular illness.
Laughter invites you to look for the silver lining and to seek what’s good. So laugh daily.
I hope this helps you manage the days and weeks ahead.
Because the world needs good people. As I often remind you, if you need some help finding something good, ask a friend to help you find it. Tell your spouse you need a laugh. Most importantly, take care of your mental health. So, find a therapist, coach, or spiritual director to help you find hope. Please continue to take care of yourself. Please be safe. As always, I am sending you love.