So much news of death and destruction has poured into our collective consciousness over the last two weeks: the bombings in Istanbul, Dhaka and Baghdad, the killings of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and five Dallas police officers. People are grieving, protesting, debating, watching with horror and apprehension. The prevalence of cameras in our daily lives means we now have the option to see violence and its aftermath in grim detail, and those images can linger in our minds long after we've turned off social media and the television. Witnessing such atrocities often comes at an emotional price; we might find ourselves feeling angry, distraught, helpless. We may feel numb from the shock and trauma. And in the meantime, our personal lives don't stop; we have to go on, even if our minds are reeling. It's important to take a moment to check in with ourselves, and to think about self-care.
Bodies and minds can't function without regular rejuvenation. As babies, we needed food, rest and loving comfort. Regular routines of sleeping and eating gave us a sense of well-being, knowing that our needs would be met. They allowed us to endure our moments of discomfort, and the painful effort of growing. Early care routines were the template for our own self-care. And even if our early experiences fell short, we can do better for ourselves as adults. Self-care can be as simple as: have I eaten and slept enough? Have I talked with or hugged a person I trust today? It is especially important to take good care of ourselves when we are stressed, and when people around us are stressed. During times like these, we are more likely to be distracted and forgetful. Program a reminder, like an alarm on your phone, to help you remember to take a break, go for a walk, or drink some water.
Click here, or on the picture below, for a link to a wonderful list of ideas for self-care and returning to a state of well-being.*
Keep in mind that self-care is a practice; it's something that builds as you invest in yourself, and the best techniques are the ones that work for you. Sometimes the most we can do, in trying times, is to turn off the news, take a deep breath, and do the next right thing for ourselves.