Self Care that Matters in Times of Crisis
Self care matters, especially in seasons of change and unknowns and unexpected endings like we are in right now.
How are you doing with this?
I am struggling with motivation. I know what I should do, I even have more time to do things I know will rejuvenate me, but I I find I am constantly fighting a lack of desire to do much more than the basics of my day.
What I am learning is that this is a symptom of the grief cycle we are in due to the loss of life as we know it. Yes, this change of pace has provided many blessings, but there is a grief over what we have lost. This grief can sometimes present itself as a lack of motivation to do anything more than what is absolutely necessary, including self care.
And yet, self care is the very thing we may need to work through our grief.
So, before we can develop self care habits, we need to address our motivation.
How to build motivation:
Admit you are grieving the loss you are experiencing.
Identify the stage of grief you may currently be in.
Accept that this is not a linear process and you may cycle through several times.
This may not sound very motivating but in the context of recognizing we are grieving we can find the determination (and motivation) to take care of our needs. Acceptance of our grief can then lead to wanting to move through the stages in a healthy way. That healthy way includes self care.
Here are the self care ideas I am using to move through my grief.
Self Care that Matters:
Get enough sleep, including napping throughout the day. This allows our brain to have a break from the grief and re-energize to tackle what we need to do.
Drink a lot of water (at least half your body weight in ounces). This allows our cells to better regenerate and support our body's immune system which is fighting against stress right now.
Avoid the craving trap. The craving for sugar, caffeine, alcohol and even salt is driven by the stress we are under. Consider the negative effects of overusing these foods: they will ultimately exacerbate your grief and limit your motivation.
Eat well for your body's needs. Our season of life requires specific types of nutrition (think breastfeeding mom vs menopausal woman). Be sure to fill your body with nutrition that supports you throughout the day, not spikes your energy and then drains you of the energy you need. Also consider the value of the B-vitamins and vitamin D in enhancing mood.
Move consistently throughout the day. We may all be sitting a bit more than we are used to, which is not good physically or mentally. Moving our bodies, from walking and biking, to yoga and stretching increases blood flow and improves our dopamine levels, which helps us navigate the grief and stress we are under.
Do new things. Use a new recipe for dinner. Try a new way of exercising. Develop a new hobby. Go back to doing something you once loved but didn't have the time for.
Establish healthy connections. Sharing our struggles, grief, and fears can actually help give us the motivation to take better care of ourselves. The release of that feeling of aloneness that comes from mutually experiencing a tragic time with someone else can help us move forward well.
Last, consider Newton's first law of motion (paraphrased here): An object at rest stays at rest unless an external force acts upon it. You, and only you can be that external force that acts upon the current trajectory of your life. But when you do an additional caveat of Newton's first law of motion takes effect (also paraphrased): an object at motion stays in motion.
What does all this mean? Just start. Once you do momentum will develop and you will soon be experiencing consistent benefits of regular self care.