Self Care in Isolation
While my business is closed during this time of social distancing, I wanted to provide my clients and friends with some self care resources to help you through the isolation and fear. After a week or more of being in the thick of bad news, homeschooling and separation from friends, we’re all feeling the effects in our beings.
First of all, wherever you are, take a deep breath in and let it out slowly. Lower your shoulders. Relax your forehead and jaw. Take several long, slow breaths. Feel your feet on the floor or your bottom on the couch or your head on the pillow. Feel your body supported. Rest into that support. Allow your body to feel supported.
Okay, let’s begin.
Anxious minds and tight bodies
Are you checking your phone all day for news, social connection and silly memes to lighten your mood? Yeah, me too. And guess what, I’m feeling tight all over. I’ve given myself tennis elbow from holding my phone like my life depends on it. So, if you can, set it down. If you’re reading this on your phone, try propping it up somewhere at eye level so that you can have your hands free. Below are some stretches for your hands that can help to hope up that tightness.
Are you working from home on a computer? Or are you hunched at a table with your kids trying to help with home schooling? It does a doozy on the shoulders. Your head and neck can get tight and give you headaches. By stretching the chest, it allows those back muscles to work effectively and get you back into alignment.
Okay, now that you’ve done a bit of stretching, let’s talk about ways to settle yourself and bring down that sympathetic nervous system response. If you’re on Instagram, there is a fabulous therapist who has an entire profile of grounding techniques.
Grounding Techniques from Dr. Maria Paredes, LPCS, CEDS
Here’s a great short one from Therapy in a Nutshell that’s all about that parasympathetic response.
The Self Care Checklist
This is a great technique for checking in with yourself to see if you’ve done some basic things that might help. It sounds simple, but, when we’re in acute stages of anxiety and induced stress from a crisis, it is easy to forget. Ask yourself some simple questions:
- Did I get enough sleep?
- Have I had any water recently? Have a cup, just in case.
- Have I eaten anything? Have a snack.
- Did I brush my teeth?
- Did I take my vitamins?
- Did I take my medication?
- Did I make my bed today?
- Did I make time to move around?
- Have I gone outside today?
- Have I laughed out loud?
- Have I taken a mindful break from my phone?
- Have I talked to a friend today?
- Have I listened to music that calms me?
Take from the list what helps. Use it daily to keep yourself accountable to your basic needs. Then pat yourself on the back for being a champion of your own care.
Okay, maybe as you read through that you started to feel like you’re failing. You’re not. We all respond to trauma in different ways. Our bodies are working to reduce harm. Some people dissociate. Some people remember every detail. Some got into action. Some fall asleep. It’s okay.
It’s easy to get on a big guilt trip. So, below, are some resources for self compassion. What you need, above all else, is kindness toward yourself. That’s the only way you’ll have the energy to be kind to others.
David Whyte is one of my favorite poets. He gave a wonderful talk called The Poetry of Self Compassion. I revisit it again and again. It truly helps.
I’ve created a Spotify playlist with songs that help me find that nugget of self compassion, that softness towards myself. I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful.
I’ve begun doing a nightly reading from various texts from wise and grounded teachers. You can follow my Instagram profile for these IGTV posts. Last night, for instance, I read a blessing from John O’Donohue called For Courage. I think we could all use a little courage right about now.
I hope you find these resources helpful. Feel free to email me or text me to suggest other topics I could cover here to help us all get through this difficult time. Sending you love and light and compassion for your sweet being.