Simple Self-Care Strategies for Tough Times
By Margaret Wyche
· Breathe, breathe, breathe. Breathe down in your belly, making sure to take at least four deep breaths every hour. Shallow breathing often signals anxiety, indicating that we’re in our head, listening to our “gremlin,” who projects only worst-case scenarios that rarely or ever happen. So be sure to keep your head and feet in the same day. Stay in the present moment.
· Keep yourself grounded. Walk in the grass barefoot, wiggle your toes in the earth, take a stroll and notice nature. Use a weighted blanket. Do something fun and/or creative. Laugh—we all need some comic relief every day. And remember to breathe.
· Practice gratitude. Find five things every day to be grateful for, including something related to the pandemic. Gratitude changes the brain in a positive way. Get out of yourself and do something for someone else, no matter how big or small the action.
· Practice one day at a time. Make use of the Serenity Prayer—accept what you cannot change (the pandemic) and change what you can (yourself and your mindset). Live one day at a time, one hour at a time or one minute at a time—whatever it takes to help you feel more grounded and less overwhelmed.
· When you do feel overwhelmed, take a step back. This is an overwhelming time for many of us. Breathe, take a short break and choose your priority for the moment. When that’s done, move on to the next one. And again, remember to breathe. We can only do one thing at a time. This is where accepting our humanness is of the utmost importance.
· Reach out for help and support. Make sure to connect with a friend or loved one every day. Although we are often physically distanced, we can stay in touch virtually, by phone, by text and even snail mail. There’s no shame in asking for help and support; that’s part of our humanness.
· Practice compassion for yourself and others. Accept the fact that we’re all human. It costs nothing to be kind to yourself and others. This is uncharted water for everyone.
Margaret Wyche, a licensed professional counselor, is the founder of and a practitioner at Elemental Healing, Charlotte’s largest wellness collaborative, located at 5200 Park Road. For more information, visit ElementalHealingCharlotte.com. To connect with her directly, email [email protected].