Self-Care for Hard Times
Back in March when the professional baseball season was suspended and my husband (who is a professional baseball coach) was sent home from Spring Training to ride out this “Coronavirus thing,” we anticipated 2–3 weeks of interrupted life.
As we hung out in Texas, somewhat enjoying our little quarantine vacation, I thought for sure we would be sending him back to Arizona in no time.
Then 2020 became, well, 2020.
I spent all of April through June glued to my phone, scrolling my Twitter feed, anxiously searching for new information. Facebook filled up with conspiracy theories and shouting matches. My world became entirely too loud.
As I sit here mid-July, I’m finally realizing that we’re in this for the long haul. Whatever “this” is. The virus, politics, racism…our world is groaning, and it won’t be fixed overnight.
So I’m taking a step back and reevaluating what I give my energy to, how I structure my days, and who I allow to speak into my life.
This is what self-care looks like for me in the year 2020.
Deleting Twitter from my phone.
I know everyone struggles with social media in different ways, but Twitter is the thing that kicks my anxiety into high gear. At first, I wanted the constant news updates and commentary on current events, but after a while I realized I was scrolling and refreshing way too much. Now I only log in to Twitter once or twice a day from my desktop and feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my chest.
Only using Facebook for groups.
Bypassing my angry feed to go straight to my curated groups has been a lifesaver. I also un-archived my own private group and I’m building it to be a place where members can share goals, encourage each other, and even brag on themselves a little bit. Connecting with less people in a more intentional way has been good for me.
Getting daily exercise.
Whether it’s a full-on workout or an after-dinner walk, moving my body every day improves my mental health tremendously. This week I started a new fitness challenge and I’m sharing my goals, triumphs, and setbacks with my Facebook group. It feels good to be working towards something healthy.
Taking happiness breaks.
I started building these into my days a couple weeks ago when I realized I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders 24/7. Sometimes a happiness break looks like cranking up some ’90s music for 5 minutes and dancing like no one is watching (thankfully no one is watching). Sometimes it looks like sitting down and watching an episode of Schitt’s Creek for the 10th time. Allowing myself a break from the heaviness has been one of the most important pieces of self-care I’ve implemented this year.
Journaling in some form.
I’ve never been very good at keeping a journal. At the beginning of the pandemic, I started a journal because it felt like an important thing to document. I’ve slowed down and no longer write in it every day, but I do keep a spiral notebook with me at all times to “brain dump” whenever I need to. Getting things out of my head and onto paper helps slow down my racing brain, whether it’s a to-do list or a frustrated rant.
Taking one thing at a time.
I’m a 20-tabs-open-at-all-times multitasker. Slowing down and focusing on one thing at a time is a huge mode of self-care for me. One way I put this into practice is to keep that notebook I mentioned with me. When my mind wanders to another “tab” or something I need to take care of, I write it down so I can focus on it later.
Finding something beautiful and looking at it.
Seeking out beauty and taking time to focus on it (seriously, stare at it for at least 20 seconds) unlocks a moment of peace in the middle of a busy or anxious day. I love looking for light and the way it peeks through the trees, noticing new blooms on my hibiscus plant, or watching birds swoop through my backyard.
Reading comfort books.
Over the years I have curated a stack of comfort books. These are books I’ve read at least once that give me a warm sense of comfort, plus a few collections of poetry. Reading them feels like being wrapped up in a blanket. The familiarity of words and characters helps my mind take a break and I can rest in the story. Poetry helps me remember to keep my head up and notice beauty around me. I especially like to read something from this stack before bed. It’s a much better way to wrap up my day than watching TV or looking at my phone. (For those who are wondering, here is my stack, minus one book my mom is reading.)
- My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (not pictured, my mom is reading it right now)
Bookshop | Amazon
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this year, I encourage you to find a few ways to practice self-care. I hope my examples help get you started.
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