I know it’s tough right now. Take care of yourself.

While I’ve learned how to look to what’s good in my life (yes, it’s a genuine learning process), and while I feel the blessing in my life, I definitely feel the heavy weight of all that’s going on in the world, in the people around me, and how it affects me.

This takes me back to when I was severely depressed and plagued with panic attacks.

If the Chicago weather wasn’t somewhere between 73 and 75 degrees and sunny with no more than 6 mile an hour winds coming from the south, it was terrible weather in my eyes. And it totally affected my day. It was too cold, too hot, too gray, too wet, too windy, too depressing.
That’s just the weather. The rest of my life was similar– not a whole lot of wiggle room for joy. From the outside looking in, it was a good life, I held a nice posture, but really, it was burden, and I wanted… peace.

I often prayed not to wake up in the morning. Working out was my savior because I always felt much better afterwards. It was my medicine, and I understood that even then. If I stopped, I was in trouble.

Right now, we all spend an unprecedented amount of time on the screen to connect with family and to work from home. We stress over the uncertainty of our financial health. Basic things like going grocery shopping and deciding to get a haircut is an ordeal. Our relationships are challenged by being at home together, or being apart, for so long. The uncertainty of how the world will be, and even the upcoming election, looms. And if you are really paying attention and privileged enough to have your feathers deeply ruffled around the civil unrest as a call for some serious self-reflection or to act… all this is a lot to take. It’s the kind of overwhelm and burden I felt when the world wasn’t in a pandemic that many are feeling now over their basic day to day living and planning.

It seems silly, but keeping it simple makes a world of difference. I promise you.

Get enough sleep. Find yourself a routine that will clear your head and get your mind and body relaxed.
Learn to breathe correctly. It will change your life by changing your physiology and thereby the lens through which you see and experience life.
Drink enough plain water. Coffee isn’t water. You can drink coffee, but drink more water.
Act on what you need to do. Look to your bones, not to your head. You’ll feel it in your bones. Don’t let your head win.
Educate yourself constantly. Expand the mind.
Don’t look to the choir for validation; this will eventually spiral you down. Instead, look to where true credibility is. A drug addict goes to a drug addict who’s cleaned up. He’s not going to Warren Buffet. He’s not going to his favorite anchor-person on CNN or FOX. He’s certainly not going to the social media threads.

Who are you taking care of right now?

In self-care, we often refer to the airline metaphor of putting the oxygen mask on first before putting it on someone else. This means to take care of yourself first in the most responsible way possible. It means to make the hard call. And to know gratitude. I’ve met people who do all the other self-care stuff – eat well, hydrate, get enough sleep, do the therapy, take the master courses – but without working through the hard calls, and without the fierce gratitude, they continuously feel depleted. Because at that point, the self-care need is existential. It becomes about working through one’s potential, and how they find purpose and connection with the world.

Allow those around you to work through their own stuff. Including your own children. Let them know you love them, then watch and learn. Witness the strength of those around you emerge as you provide that space for them.
Then look out past your inner circle to see who really needs help. Use what privilege you have to protect those that need protecting. Tweeting your thoughts isn’t a protective act. Serving with your body is. Or donating as much as you can for that service. If we were twice as concerned about giving back than taking, the world might look different. We might feel purposeful and connected.

The right kind of self care gives you energy the way someone with millions in the stock market invested in companies paying handsome dividends never runs out of money. They never have to tap into their principal, and they have the ability to provide for many families. Your energy doesn’t have to be in the form of money. It can work in the form of strength, endurance, vitality, and humanity. And that can provide for the entire planet. But no matter how giving you are, if you haven’t taken the steps to sustain yourself, you will become needy and unreliable.

The opposite of poverty isn’t wealth. It’s dignity. It’s humanity. We can only provide this for others when we have it in ourselves to give.

On discernment

The more validation I need, the less discernment I have.

-Kurt Hanks

It is to know when to step back and relax and when to stretch into the discomfort zone.
When to make the schedule work and when to let it go.
When you’re ready to move on and when you’re about to stir up the old pot.
When it’s okay to be uncomfortable around what someone is saying and when it’s not okay.
When it’s truth and when it’s justification.
When your soul is being insulted or when your ego is.

Discernment is self-care. And these answers are always inside.

Feeling powerless

Self care is how you take your power back.

– Lalah Delia

We are powerless to control what happens outside of us. But self care. It’s what brings us back to life. It’s what will nourish us and fill our reserves for when we need it most. It’s also what works immediately. All the good things in life then become a celebration to us rather than objects burdened with expectation to make us feel whole.