I’m spending the weekend editing a new audio project that will be published by Sounds True in August called, Self Care for the Wisdom Years so this week’s blog is an excerpt from an earlier one about dealing with the stress of uncertainty. I hope one or more of these ideas are helpful.
These are tough times, especially for those who are sensitive and empathic. War is brutal on all fronts and we need to stay focused on the habits and behaviors that keep us centered and calm. Along with meditation, which I’ve written about extensively, here are a few things you can also do to find a little peace.
When Michael and I are out for a ride and one of us is feeling down, the other will suggest we play the gratitude game. Going back and forth, we take turns naming one thing we feel grateful for. After several minutes we usually end up laughing or commenting on how fortunate we really are in spite of the despair that crept in earlier. There has never been a time when we felt worse after playing the gratitude game. We usually feel much, much better.
Sometimes, I also go to YouTube and use a Wim Hoff breathing video and follow along. If you’re not familiar with the Ice Man, you can read all about him here. By using his breathing techniques, I know I’m going to feel calmer and more grounded within minutes. While I know Hoff suggests that breathing reduces inflammation in the body, I find that it also reduces inflammation in the mind. You can find one of his guided breathing videos, here.
I also have something else I do when I feel unsettled or upset: I clean. I know it might sound crazy but vacuuming, washing floors by hand, or de-cluttering a closet makes me feel better. Cleaning is exercise. Making order out of chaos is creating beauty. And I love the look and smell of a freshly washed space.
When I shared this idea of cleaning as a stress-reduction activity in a prior blog, I received an email from Peter who told me that cleaning, for him, is a spiritual practice. He holds the intention to clean with ease and grace, and chants while doing so as a prayer for his healing and for those he loves. Such a beautiful suggestion that I will now use for those suffering in the war.
Sometimes it’s the little things that help us deal with the big things.
In the end, the best self-care remedy for feeling anxious about the uncertainty of life is to talk to someone. Connection creates certainty – as does love. Both giving and receiving love. Now might be a good time to call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken with in a while to stay connected. It’s also a good time to say “I need help.” Friends, family, church members, work colleagues, even helpline counselors are all examples of people waiting to lend a hand. Give them a chance to show up for you.
Better times are on the way and the strength and skills you’re developing during these difficult times will serve you well. Of that I am certain. ❤️
PS – There are three spots left in our next “Self Care by the Sea” retreat at the end of April so if you’d like to join us, it’s time to act. You can register, here.