How To: Self-Care During Dark Times
There's a lot of darkness in the news recently. Sadness, injustice, inhumanity, fear. The opposite of love. The list of things weighing heavily on our hearts is long. It's easy—and human—to let the reality of these traumatic events wash over us and to get swallowed up in their toxic energy. But just as we profess thoughts to things when it comes to manifesting our greatest desires, the same power can harm us when we wallow in the world's darkness. The negativity can consume us to the point of paralysis.
The question becomes, how can we re-imagine these burdensome feelings into action that helps others, without depleting ourselves? Here are a few ideas to make sure you're okay, when everything around you, well, isn't...
1. COVER THE BASICS
Are you getting enough? Are you holding space for meditation, are you breathing deeply, sleeping enough, engaging in movement and nourishing yourself from the inside? These might seem superfluous, but when your physical needs are met, you can emotionally tackle larger issues. If you've been talking to those in your circle, or the community at large, no doubt you'll hear stories of people dealing with insomnia, GI issues, debilitating stress. Our bodies physically manifest so much of our emotional trauma. Focusing on the building blocks of feeling good by making sure you're getting enough—in terms of nutrients, sleep, therapy, you-time—can do wonders in combatting the internal turmoil of external chaos.
After you've put on your own proverbial oxygen mask, then it's time to help others who need it most. First, assess your resources—time, money, experience—and use them to guide your generosity. Protest, call your reps, raise your voice, connect with your community, lend a hand to a stranger on the street, pay it forward. A small gesture goes a long way and in turn can create a ripple effect — find solace in lifting someone else up. Trust us, it works.
3. STAY INFORMED ... BUT KEEP A CURFEW
Being an informed citizen is crucial, but it can get exhausting. Strike a balance of being a sponge to the discourse, but then shutting it off at a certain point to preserve your own sanity. Simple things such as "unfollowing" those on social media who might say insensitive things, reading news headlines once a day for 30 minutes at a time, or even taking a week long news cleanse can help keep stress in check.
4. REMEMBER THE GOOD OF THE WORLD
Focusing on who is shining their light and spreading love is critical. Find sources of joy, levity, kindness—both on the internet and IN REAL LIFE—as you navigate the stress, and work on shifting your perception. Here, here and here are some of our favorite nooks of the internet to lift our spirits. Don't forget to read! And dance. And love, and learn. Seek teachers, friends, and people that raise your vibration.
5. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
Beyond the health benefits, taking stock of the abundance of blessings in your own life, small and big, can be incredibly cathartic. Begin the day with an act of gratitude (make a list, journal, meditate...), making note of everything in your life you're grateful for.
6. LET IT OUT
In the same breath, processing all of your emotions (even the challenging ones) is equally as healing as professing the positive. Journaling in a stream of consciousness and addressing the spectrum of your feelings, without shame or judgement, is an important piece of coping with stress. Find a quiet corner, or sit in nature if you have the option, and tune in. What are you going through? What are the stories you're telling yourself that are hindering you from moving forward? What are the stories other people are being told that are hindering them? If you don't know where to start to unleash what's buried deep, look for prompts online and seek to release what is weighing heavy on your heart and mind. And if all else fails, screaming at the top of your lungs to release any pent-up stress always helps too. We're serious.
This isn't an exhaustive list, and certainly not the panacea for what is happening. But instead of staying silent, sitting still and praying to wake up from a nightmare— let's be there for our brothers and sisters, our children, our friends, and join forces to remind each other that we all deserve dignity, kindness, safety, and love (including you!).