I’m going to begin with a massive understatement: We are living through an incredibly wild time in history.
Daily life has, for many, undergone some pretty dramatic changes—again, to say the least. Here in United States, not only do we have this horrible pandemic to deal with, but we also have had raging forest fires and we have the daily dumpster fire(s) that come courtesy of the tweeter-in-chief and ‘dinosaurs who roam the halls of power’.
These are uncommon times.
Uncommonly stressful times.
It is because of these uncommonly stressful times that we are living through that now is also the time for some uncommonly compassionate self-care.
Now is the time for uncommon self-care.
I imagine that you’re familiar with the concept of self-care and maybe you even have a few examples of things that you do as part of your own self-care routine. If so, high five! Way to go!
If not, that’s ok! You’re not alone!
Many of us are craving normalcy right now and one of the ways that manifests is through efforts to make our “new normal” a bit like the old normal…which is a totally understandable way thing to do.
In The Before Times, self-care wasn’t easy to add to your routine: you were probably always. really. busy. And the idea of taking a bit of extra time for you might have felt like a big ask. You might have even felt guilty about taking the time to take care of you.
And, to be keep it real (as the kids like to say these days), there’s a chance that scrolling through the Tweeters or Face-tagrams might have eaten up a not-insignificant amount of time.
And now, you have more time that somehow feels like less time, Zoom-fatigue is proving to be more real than you ever would have thought it could be and 2020 has turned into an ongoing firehose of s**t.
And by the end of the day, it’s amazing how tired you feel.
(Again, your mileage may vary).
All of which means you deserve (and maybe *need*) more self-care than you might otherwise be inclined to give yourself.
The following are four relatively straightforward self-care ideas for you to consider:
Control the controllables
Sleep more, if you can. But also work on sleeping well.
Sleep—both in terms of quality and quantity—can have an ah-mazing impact on your energy levels, mood, clarity of thinking and mental health. It’s pretty amazing stuff.
The good news is that you can make incremental changes to your routine that will make improving your sleep easier to achieve. We’ve written about sleep a couple of times, so if you’d like to get a good overview of a number of strategies for improving sleep, check those out here and here (this second one was written with circus-artists in mind, but the principles are universally applicable).
If you’d like to go step-by-step, we did a series of Instagram posts on sleep: here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
Nutrition can play a huge role in how much energy you feel like you have for, well…all the things. Actually, nutrition can impact energy, mental clarity, mood, mental health… (sound familiar? Sleep and good nutrition are a powerful combination).
Frustratingly, nutrition is too often presented as this confusing and murky maze of macro calculations and unique diet options that can easily lead to overwhelm. That’s annoying.
Conveniently, there is another way! The Precision Nutrition approach is simple, science-based and effective. For an overview of what simple nutrition looks like, go here. For a step-by-step guide, you can download this.
Shift your focus
It might be worthwhile having a look at your “inputs”. Social media tends to make up a fairly large chunk of that for many people and it may be worthwhile considering cutting back a bit–especially if you find yourself doom-scrolling.
Consider instead taking some time to make a list of the things in your life you can be grateful for. Seriously. Gratitude alone counts as a radical act of liberation. And speaking of liberation, consider also developing a compelling vision for the future.
Here’s something to get your creative juices flowing:
Get up and move.
There are levels to this one. On the simplest level, getting up and walking around your apartment/house/living quarters can shift things for you. The next level would be to go outside for a walk. (Some friends have recently not had walking outside as an option while the California wild fire situation was raging, so make the choice that’s most appropriate and safe for your circumstances).
The next level is to deliberately work on your fitness. I want to acknowledge that working on fitness does require energy, but in the long run, it is the path to having more energy. And feeling better physically…which impacts how you feel mentally.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, regular exercise can have a significant impact on your energy levels, mood, mental clarity, mental health. (There is a not-insignificant part to this that is a result of the way that a well-designed approach to fitness can result in a decrease in pain).
One fantastic thing about the way the world is right now is that you have access to all sorts of options when it comes to training.
[This is the part where we plug our services: if you are local to Medford, MA area, and ready for the in-person experience, we are now offering a 2-Week Recharge Your Fitness program for $59. And if you’re not ready to train in-person, we have all-virtual options as well. Send us a message to learn more about those.]
Now is also the time for uncommon self-compassion.
If you read through the above and any of it felt daunting or you’ve made some efforts at self-care and they haven’t been as consistent as you’d like, it’s ok. Please go easy on yourself: you’re living through a pandemic and, if you’re in United States, there’s also an ongoing Shock Doctrine-inspired sh*tshow to contend with. It’s no wonder you might feel a bit drained. Pick something small and easy and try that. Alternatively, feel free to reach out and we’ll see if we can help you find your way to a better and more sustainable self-care routine.
We care about you and we’re here for you.