LIVING WITH HEART & HOPE-“It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars.” — Richard Evans
The world as we know it has undergone quite a lot of change and it can be challenging to navigate the stress that often accompanies uncertain times. During this month that’s so focused on love, we want to focus on the most impact-full thing you can do to diffuse stress and keep hope alive: self-care.
Here’s the paradox—when you’re stressed, it makes sense that taking care of yourself falls to the bottom of your to-do list; after all, there are so many other people and priorities that are more important, right? Well, no. Self-care is actually MOST important to help buffer you against the health-eroding effects of stress and it’s also a way to keep what’s going on around you in perspective. You can only change yourself and how you show up in the world—and you can only do that when you are healthy and nourished. So avoid the temptation to brush it aside.
To that end, here are three ideas for how you can remain grounded and cared for during the month of February and beyond.
In stressful times, it’s even more important to reach out to your community—to become engaged with other people, and build human connections. This can be as simple as finding time to spend with friends or family. Kids, in particular, are fantastic supporters of living in the moment and building connections. (Try obsessing about politics around a two-year-old—they will not let you!)
Our smartphones have our go-to for staying connected, but spending all of your waking hours glued to a screen is bad for your soul. Balance out the need to stay informed with some simple time-outs:
- Go for a walk in nature.
- Make time for exercise—sweaty exertion is GREAT for clearing the head and harmlessly channeling any feelings of anger or frustration.
- Read a book: Nothing can help you gain perspective like reading about how others have overcome obstacles.
- Take care of your basic physical health: practice good sleep hygiene, eat well by focusing on whole foods, and remember to stop and breathe when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Simplifying is not an excuse to tune out. It’s a necessary step to keep yourself from burning out and lapsing into apathy.
The best cure for an anxious, blue mood? Giving back to those who are truly less fortunate.
It’s tempting to hide away and remain overwhelmed. But using your skills to give back is not only beneficial to the world—but also beneficial to your well-being! Giving back to others is a great way to feel proud, motivated, and strong. It allows you to really define, prioritize, and fight for your values: What’s most important to you? What good can you do in the world? How can your skills help others? Start thinking of small steps you can take to help others:
- Can you volunteer some time to help a local charity?
- Can you mentor someone in need?
- Can you forego that daily Starbucks run and commit to a small donation to a non-profit?
Seemingly tiny acts add up mightily if you can start a real habit.
To your good health,