Honest Talk About Self-Care
COVID has disrupted all of our lives. Nearly 41 million Americans are unemployed. Forty percent of women 18-39 years of age report feeling depressed and anxious, up from 11% one year ago. Alcohol sales are up 22%, and 37% of people are upsizing their serving sizes. Box wine sales are up 44% over last year. Domestic violence calls are down, but only because people are in close quarters with their abusers so they can’t get a call out. Child abuse hotline calls are up nearly 20%. And then there is the never-ending, systematic killing of people of color—Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and now George Floyd.
In this time of disruption and upheaval, the number one thing you can do to make the world a better place is to renegotiate your contract with yourself to become an even greater force for good and an even brighter light in the world. The only way to do that is to take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Because it is not getting better any time soon, and we have to stay strong.
I am not a superstar at self-care. In fact, at times in my life, I have been terrible at taking care of myself. In recent years, I have made the deliberate choice, despite my nagging guilt, to pursue what I call “balanced self- care.”
Self-care is about you—what you need to do to feel balance in your life—to help you weather good times and bad times. It comes from a commitment that you make to yourself; to identify what you need to do to feel a sense of peace and contentment, regardless of what is going on in your life.
Self-care comes from a place of self-knowledge, and it is a deliberate act of self-love in the noblest and purest form. You are loving and caring for yourself, so you can continue to love and care for others. Some people get there by prayer. Some by meditation. Some through nature. Others by family.
As we begin to reopen our businesses and our lives, let’s reopen our hearts and the conversation with ourselves:
- What am I willing to tolerate to get along? We may need to adjust our high expectations to our new realities.
- Why am I in this place in my life right now, and what am I going to do about it?
- Who are the people who are showing up for me in the way that I needed at this time, and who are the people that didn’t?
- How am I showing up for others? Am I giving the people who I love what they need at this difficult time?
Apply an extra measure of grace to yourself as you answer these questions. Still, if you are energetically, emotionally, and spiritually bankrupt right now, trust me, you are likely not your best self for others.
What new information do these answers to these questions reveal about me and my values? The observations you are making during this surreal experience reflects a more authentic and more essential you, stripped of distraction from those things that no longer serve us.
COVID has not been all bad. It has provided space that forced perspective and reflection. I am sure every one of us can name people, places, and things that we distanced from during COVID that made our lives simpler and less stressful. It is those things that we must continue to do in the future to grow from this experience.
During this pandemic and time of civil upheaval, we have seen great goodness in people, and we have seen brutal acts of savagery.
We are not the same people as we were six months ago. We faced different problems, and we face a different future. We are stronger and better and braver than we were pre-COVID.
Acknowledging that truth is our most important act of self-care.