Last year, I shared a note I wrote to myself when we first went into lockdown for the pandemic. I used it to stay focused on self-care when I felt stressed so I’d remain helpful to myself and others.
As we enter into a new year and a shifting political tide, I’ve made a few adjustments to the note and thought I’d share it with you this week…
When you feel hopeless, frightened, or like the world is out of control, remember: No one can influence how you feel inside without your permission.
You can choose to listen to the insanity of your frightened mind (which is relentless in its desire to convince you that you’re at the mercy of what’s happening outside of you), or you can choose to work toward getting a PhD in peace. Daily meditation is the practice that will teach your mind to settle down and eventually follow your lead. And limiting social media and the news will insulate you from unnecessary worry.
You have more control over your health than the media would have you believe. You choose what you eat, how frequently you move your body, how lovingly you speak to yourself, and what you will and will not allow into your eyes and ears. This is a good time to be very, very picky.
Rather than contribute to conflict and hostility with your thoughts, words, or actions, choose a different path. When faced with mean-spirited, uninformed, or contentious comments from those hungry for a fight, walk away. Tell yourself: I don’t go to the hardware store for milk.
Put your energy to better use. Surprise people with unexpected acts of kindness whenever possible. Be a source of patience, compassion, and open-minded curiosity, and watch as your actions inspire others to follow your lead.
Do this every single day. It feels wonderful.
When under the influence of impatience, frustration, or despair, get outside and let Mother Nature break the spell. Walk upright. Breathe deep. Drink in your surroundings. Travel the well-worn path around the neighborhood where frogs croak their hellos from nearby ponds, Monarch butterflies delight you with their beauty, and the fertile, damp scent of dirt and roots carry you back to earth.
We’ve come so far and been through so much and we need to hang in there just a little longer. You might want to print out the above letter and keep it nearby. After all, self-care reminders are good self-care...