There’s no doubt about it. No matter which side of the political divide you’re on, we are living in very stressful times. Self-care is essential in times like these. So I decided to share three helpful tips or reminders this month for how to remain sane and healthy in this crazy world of ours.
First on my list is to remember to breathe. It seems obvious as well as inevitable, since not breathing means you’re dead. But actually taking the time to turn inward and bring your attention to your breath, will help you regulate your emotions and anxiety. It will calm your nervous system by taking you away from your thoughts and into the sensations in your body. This changes your whole physiology. If you notice that your breath is short and shallow, focus on the exhale rather than the inhale. Follow your exhale with your mind as you imagine the breath leaving your body and going out into the atmosphere and towards the horizon. Try it right now for several breaths and see what happens…
Second on my list, is to walk away from all your electronic devices. Phone, tablet, computer, whatever you use to distract yourself and feel like you’re doing something at the same time, put it down, turn it off. Stay away from social media for a prescribed period of time. Start small and work up to longer periods. Give yourself quality time and attention. If even the idea of this makes you anxious, go back to number one above and simply breathe for awhile. Then when you’re ready to give up your devices, go on to number three below.
Last but not least by any means, is to take the time you’ve now freed to get out into nature. There’s no better salve for the soul than to be in the great outdoors. Even if it’s only your backyard. Life is everywhere, even in the dead of winter. It takes some slowing down to observe the natural world with its cycles and rhythms. Nature can be a great teacher. It tends to bring our own lives in perspective. Try going outside at night and gazing at the stars for that! The universe is vast and we are just a small part of it. Time also takes on a different meaning as we witness events that happened many, many light years ago. The phrase “This too shall pass” comes to me in those moments.
I’m imagining you now outside underneath the night sky filled with awe and wonder. The amazing thing is that no matter what we humans are doing in the world, the earth is always there beneath our feet, gravity holding us in its embrace as we gaze out into the universe and beyond.