As I write this today, there has been so much that has happened over the past week or so. The lives of millions of people have changed and impacted in negative ways. Mother nature has been relentless this hurricane season with Harvey and Irma hitting so close together, creating such great devastation and chaos. Politics (which I only discuss with 2 people) are divided and creating more division among us which will conquer and divide if we allow it.
Personally, I have been sick, it has been chaotic with schedules and my daughter in school and activities and trying to take the down time to recover from this flu or whatever attacked me. This has given me down time to sleep and sleep and sleep which it seems my body needed and to rest and think.
One thing in all of the mess that has been obvious is that there are helpers. Everywhere you look, there are helpers. People reaching out to volunteer with clean up, raising funds to donate to those in need. People rescuing other people. Helpers coming in to save left behind pets to reunite or re-home them.
While having some idle time and not working my naturally anxious mind goes to bills and money thoughts of “oh no- I can’t afford to be off work”. “I have to push through and go anyway”. The knowledge that clients who are on my schedule have big life stuff happening. Big life stuff that we are working on together and I promised to do my part. Now what? I get sick so I don’t do my part? It is easy to get caught up in those thoughts and worry. Or you can do what I choose to do and take a step back and look at the big picture.
My bills wait on me (every single time), my clients have and will again survive without seeing me (and we have other clinicians for the crisis situations). My flu incident is nothing in the face of the flooding and destruction of the aftermath of the hurricanes. If my life is out of sorts with this, then what must they be feeling.
And the truth is we don’t know. I know how I have experienced much greater loss, tragedy and overwhelm in the past that I would think could compare, but how can I know that? I cannot know that. I can only know what I personally experience. I can see and speak with those going through it now but we don’t’ really know how anyone else exactly experiences their world and their circumstances. Can the helpers help? Of course they can. They are, there are heroes all around us. All you have to do is look to find them. Do they fix it all? No, it is still there.
What about ourselves in the middle of tragedy and chaos? What about our self-care? It is like anything else right now…a big mess…a big beautiful mess.
How can I even mention self-care while homes, businesses and lives are flooded, lost and in total flux? How can I ask anyone to remember themselves and to take even 2 minutes for some deep breathing or a mindful exercise?
My answer? How can I not? If we can’t remember ourselves in these day of extreme overwhelm then how can we remember ourselves in everyday normal life. We have to make our self-care become such an innate part of our lives that when tragedy hits the first thing we think is to check in with ourselves. Do a quick body scan, assess our emotions, thoughts, spirit and other parts of our lives.
When businesses are shut down and people have died and there is no place for some people to go, how does it serve to disconnect from yourself? How does it serve those in need if you neglect your own needs? In fact if you take the time to self-care and to nourish and maintain the best you possible then you can be a helper. You can pitch in to clean up and to do trauma work for the victims’ families left behind. If you remember to eat and sleep and breath all of the other things will fall into place easier. You neglecting to rest and suffering and creating more of the mess we already have will not serve you, or anyone, in any way that is positive.
So, today among the chaos left behind in life I am asking you. How can you take care of yourself?
My answer today? Today, for me, that meant staying home from work, resting and building strength to hopefully return tomorrow. Today, for me, it means reaching out to women who have been in the middle of the chaos mother nature threw at us and having meaningful conversations. Today, for me, it mean being a helper. Both for others and for myself. Because you matter too.
What can you do today for you? What can I do for you today?