Thursday, January 26, 2017

Self Care in Tough Tiimes

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” ― Audre Lorde

Self care has not always never been a habit that is easy for me to maintain.  I could delve into all of the  possible reasons why this is the case...but that is a long and depressing list; one that really isn't the point of this post.  No, the point of this post is that somehow, over the past week, it has become a easier to make it a priority.

There is no denying that our country is in a very troubled place right now.  Many of us, myself included, are very angry at the actions of the new administration and fearful of what they will do next.  Their actions are harming our friends, families and communities in very real ways.  We are faced with the decision of what to do about it.  Take a stand or hide our heads in the sand and pray it all goes away.

I have struggled with depression, anxiety and other issues for a number of years.  I call these things my monsters and I imagine them living in dark little caves of discontent inside my mind.  Even when they retreat into their particular corner of darkness I am always aware that they are there, waiting to emerge again.  Unfortunately, right when they emerge, right when I should be stepping up the self care, I more often than not step into a place of "let's pretend this is not happening and it will just go away."

Maybe it is because this monster is outside my head and thus more concrete, or maybe it is the fact that the actions that have been taken in the past few days are impacting those I care about deeply and I, like many women, so conditioned to being a caretaker, am kicking into Mama Bear mode, or perhaps I remember the extreme burnout and crash I suffered from when I was more actively involved in the peace movement, but I find myself feeling a determination that I've not felt when it comes to facing my own inner struggles.

More surprisingly what has come a long with that is a recognition of how important it is to take care of myself in order to be ready to do whatever needs to be done.  Suddenly getting enough sleep is really, really important.  Eating well and making sure I get adequate water is now a priority.  I have even made a written list of all the things I can do other than self-medicate and I find myself actually making use of it.

(I know, I know - there is a whole discussion here about why I am not able to do this for myself but I can when it is of benefit to someone else...)

Of course it has barely been a week since this administration stepped into power and I could crash and burn some day down the road, but that would mean that they have won, and that is not something I am willing to let happen.

What are you doing to keep your head together and your strength up during these times?

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