“Oxygen masks will drop down from above your seat. Place the mask over your mouth and nose, like this. Pull the strap to tighten it. If you are traveling with children, make sure that your own mask is on first before helping your children.” – Every airline, ever.
This year has been...a lot. World War Three was threatened, Kobe Bryant and his daughter died in a helicopter crash, Australia faced massive wildfires, Trump was impeached and subsequently acquitted, Brexit became official, COVID-19 paced the globe in a matter of weeks, murder hornets came and went, the second Civil Rights movement was set in motion...and a host of other things we never thought we’d see happen, much less within a 6-month window.
That’s a lot of stressors.
Amidst all of this, life continues to keep moving. Groceries need buying, boo-boos need bandaging, school needs attending, reports need writing, Zoom needs scheduling, bills need paying, and on and on it goes.
So how are you doing?
A lot of people have talked about how difficult it is to concentrate on the things they need to do, how little motivation they have to make stuff happen. For others, they find that they can’t work for as long as they used to. Some have expressed concern about how difficult it is to fall asleep, stay asleep, or wake up. They talk about feeling tired all throughout the day, regardless of how much coffee they drink, or how many energy drinks they guzzle. Others talk about feeling sad, even though technically there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong. Some are agitated because they know they have hobbies and interests they enjoy doing, but right now they feel a little less interested.
Is any of this true for you?
Then this post is for you!
First, I want you to try something: I want you to close your eyes (after finishing this sentence, of course) and take three slow breaths. Count to 4 as you breathe in, hold the breath for a count of 3, and then exhale and count to 7.
How did that feel? It’s not often that we actually let ourselves take time to do that – there’s always too much to do. But doing that and other things like that are really important right now.
“Self-care” is a buzzword, but it’s sooo important these days, and I want you to consider what you do to take care of yourself, because it could make the difference for how we survive 2020.
So what sort of things do you enjoy, just for its own sake, because it makes you happy, or relaxes you, or gets your mind off of other, more serious things?
I’m thinking of things like reading, or watching a movie/TV show, journaling, cooking/baking, running, swimming, picking things up and putting things down (otherwise known as weightlifting), sudoku...even cleaning or organizing!
How much time can you devote to doing the thing you love? It doesn’t have to be a lot of time – it could be all of an hour a day, or an hour three times a week, or 3 hours one week, or maybe even 10 hours one day every three weeks. Or it could be something you work into your daily schedule, as the thing you do before you go to bed, or right after you get off work, or in the first hour of your day.
The idea is to find something that lets you take care of you, and gives you a chance to unplug or recharge. This world demands a lot from us, but we have to make sure we have oxygen first, before we can hope to help anyone else.
Let yourself breathe.
You’re not going to be perfect at it; that’s okay. It may be hard to try and readjust your schedule to allow for something not strictly productive, and that’s also okay. Self-care isn’t always the easiest thing for people to give themselves permission to do.
I believe in you.
I’d love to hear from you! What sort of things do you do to take care of yourself? How do you overcome the obstacles of daily life to let yourself take care of yourself? What do you do to unplug?
Feel free to email your answers to these questions as well as any other comments you’d like to leave to firstname.lastname@example.org! You don’t have to identify yourself, and any comments I include in future posts are completely anonymous.
If you feel that you are struggling with any kind of emotional or behavioral health problems and are in need of therapy services please do not hesitate to contact the PSC and schedule an appointment. Stay tuned for a new post next week!