Ways to Nourish All Parts of Yourself in a Global Crisis
Hello lovely readers. Thanks for being here.
Wow. We are living in an emotionally heightened, extremely uncertain time and not much is in our control.
However, one thing is in our control – how we take care of ourselves. We can feel empowered right now, by taking responsibility for our own self-care. And I’m not talking about bubble baths and face masks (those things are great, don’t get me wrong!).
And I get it – some of us don’t have much time for intentional self-care. But the tools below have very short time commitments, and will provide benefits that will last you well beyond this crazy time.
Practice thought defusion.
Time: 30 seconds to 1 minute
This is a mindfulness tool that can be used literally anywhere at anytime. I use it multiples times per day whenever I get stuck in anxious thoughts. I also use it often with my clients who get stuck in eating disorder thoughts. It’s hard to remember that thoughts are just thoughts, especially in a time like now when our minds latch onto fear and can send us into a downward spiral.
So, the next time you find yourself stuck in negative thoughts, stop. Take a deep breath in and out. Then, remind yourself “These are just thoughts,” or you can say “Thinking,” and put the phrase “I am having the thought that…” in front of whatever the negative thought/s is/are. This puts space between you and your thoughts, and helps you to “check the facts” and ask yourself (or someone else) something like, “Is this true? Where’s the evidence?”
Time: 15 to 30 seconds
Affirmations can ground us when our minds and lives feel chaotic. Right now, I think the simpler, the better. Write down an affirmation at the start of the day or the week, keep it somewhere you can see it often, and repeat it to yourself as much as you need.
Here are some examples that I like and have been popular with my clients lately:
“I am adapting.”
“I am here.”
“I am in charge of my inner landscape.”
Practice regular nourishment.
Time: Varies (as little as 15 minutes three times per day, and 5 minutes one to three times per day)
This one DEFINITELY affects our mental and spiritual health as well. Regular nourishment is always important but right now it is even more critical. Being nourished (eating three meals per day plus one to three snacks and including all food groups) helps us manage emotions and stress much better than when we are not. Being underfed engages our sympathetic nervous system and pushes our bodies into fight-or-flight mode, and increases our cortisol levels (stress hormone).
And many of my clients have recently lost touch with their hunger and fullness cues since everything is so emotionally overwhelming. They are literally emotionally “full.” If that’s you, too, eat out of self-care. Stick to a routine. If that means setting alarms on your phone, do it! Your body needs regular nourishment, regardless of activity level.
Practice Body Scans.
Time: 5-10 minutes
Body scans help us get into our bodies and out of our heads (we need this right now more than ever!). Click the link below for my audio recording of a Self-Compassion Body Scan.
Practice spiritual connection.
Time: Varies (as little as 5-10 minutes)
There are many forms of spiritual connection, and maybe, for you, it’s just connecting fully with another human being — for example, setting up a regular time to talk with your best friend and being undistracted at that time. That counts, especially if you do not have a relationship with a higher power.
My favorite ways to practice (and share with clients) spiritual connection lately have been a few things combined:
Taking the right hand to the heart, then the left hand on top of the right hand. Bow chin slightly to chest and just feel the rise and fall of the heart as you breathe deeply in and out. Allow yourself to be here for at least a minute or two.
Praying and then writing the prayers down on small pieces of paper and putting them in a box (I call it my God box). This provides a sense of surrender and release. Read and reflect on them later.
Practicing embodiment practices like yoga, and keep them relatively gentle. This can be anything from 2 minutes of one pose to a full hour-long class. There are many, many virtual classes being offered now. Or you can search YouTube for “Gentle yoga sequence” or “Restorative yoga.”
Reading a daily morning devotional page. One of my favorites is “Yoga 365.” Another favorite is “Jesus Calling.” Explore Amazon for devotional books until you find something that feels right for you.
Spending time in nature – this can be taking a stroll or simply sitting outside, and engaging the senses.
Keep in mind: while these tools are divided up into categories, remember that if one part of us is not nourished, then the other part will become imbalanced. They are all intertwined and dependent on each other. We are multi-faceted beings that need all types of nourishment!
And if you are struggling with your relationship to food, your body or exercise, I am taking on new virtual clients and would love to work with you. Please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a free discovery call to see if we are a good fit!
In true health,