Self-Care For Turbulent Times

By Amanda Polster, LMSW

Social media can be toxic and scary. As much time as we spend on social media, we need an equal (or greater) amount of time mentally recovering from the bombardment of painful images and rhetoric. Today’s blog is all about stressing the importance of being in tune with our energy and checking in with thoughts and feelings that come up during this turbulent political climate.

We can use any activity as self care if we do it mindfully.

Part of implementing self-care is practicing being in harmony with our mind and body. During this blog, practice noticing the emotions and sensations that come up, and acknowledge yourself as courageous for taking this opportunity to learn healthy and sustainable methods of personal growth. At any point during this blog, if you begin to feel uneasy or triggered, recognize that as an opportunity for observation and take the necessary steps for yourself to take a break. Breathe

Breath is the foundational practice of self-care. We can focus on our breath no matter the activity. We can begin to practice it now in this blog.

Breathe.

Mindful Self Care Becomes Even More Important When Tragedy Strikes

This blog hits close to home in the wake of recent national events that have occurred unexpectedly, yet are now occurring ever too frequently. Especially in an era where violence has become more prevalent, it is important to identify ways we can take care of ourselves so to not get consumed by the losses in our community.

The more we practice self-care, the more capable we are at supporting our ourselves, our families and our communities

Below are some tips on how to reframe and implement self-care in our lives.  

1.      Self-Care is Not Selfish – You cannot serve from an empty vessel

You may have heard the saying, “you can’t help others if you are not helping yourself.” Or, as they always say on the airplane before takeoff, “In the event of an emergency, make sure you put your oxygen mask on first before helping the person next to you.” If we do not take care of ourselves, we will not have the capacity to support and serve others. Now, some people are great at helping others as a distraction from dealing with their internal struggles. However, this is not a sustainable practice, and without self-care and proper support, we will eventually reach a breaking point where we feel too overwhelmed and overloaded. In these instances, setting boundaries for ourselves becomes a practice of self-care to identify ways to most appropriately limit the amount we are giving and provide greater opportunity to receive and give back to ourselves. An example of setting boundaries is noticing our triggers and removing ourselves from spaces where we acknowledge triggers may occur. A personal example is recognizing when social media is not serving me and choosing to take a break to limit my access from overwhelming information that comes through my news feed.  

2.      Self-Care is an Opportunity to Grow

Many self-care practices are opportunities to observe and understand our own identities. Self-care practices are things that make us feel happy and provide us with joy and ease. They are activities that give our lives meaning and remind us of the importance of taking care of ourselves, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. These practices help us learn where we feel we are the most supported and areas where we may feel neglected or want additional support. Self-care is also an opportunity to check in our self-talk, and acknowledge the ways we are either affirming and validating our experiences, or judging ourselves for our emotions and behaviors. While we often seek validation and support externally through our support networks, self-care is also an opportunity to learn greater self-compassion and self-gratitude. Mindfulness practices such as loving kindness meditations are a great way of tapping into these self-care practices.

3.      Self-Care is a Priority and Necessity, Not a Luxury

This is my favorite tip, because people often think of self-care as a luxury or privilege. Now, I am not dismissing or denying the fact that not everyone has the same access to a diverse range of self-care practices (i.e. gym memberships, travel opportunities, health care resources). However, many self-care practices can occur internally, such as meditation, self-reflection, self-talk affirmation, that only require conscious awareness. Using our physical bodies as forms of revitalization and energy is often one of the most effective self-care practices. As Tony Robbins states, “emotion is created by motion,” and how we feel is often determined by the physical state our body is in at any given time.

Regardless of if we choose to join a new yoga class, or take a moment to “smell the roses,” self-care requires an investment in taking time for ourselves to remove ourselves from the stressful and often fast-paced environment we live in daily. Taking time for ourselves is not only vital to our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual capacities, but also supports in our ability to be the best versions of ourselves and aids in our overall quality of life.

If you are in immediate distress please contact the number below:

The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

1-800-273-8255

If you would like to make an appointment for ongoing care, schedule a time to speak.