I have no words for the recent acts of violence, hate, and gross ignorance. And, while I have a slight allergy to brevity, I will not even attempt to cover any of my thoughts on the subject.
Instead, like putting on your own gas mask before attempting to help another, I offer you 10 Small Acts of Self-Care that can be done in just a few minutes.
I am not a great activist, nor an outspoken protestor. I do however believe in the accumulation of small acts of love, patience, courage, generosity and more. Both to ourselves, and to others.
Being a stay-at-home-mom of two toddlers (that are less than two years apart) it can be hard to notice the pressure drop in the proverbial cabin, and so hard to be all-here part of the time, rather than partly here all of the time.
Taking a few minutes for self-care is not selfish. We cannot uplift others without meeting our own basic needs. Taking a few moments to recharge our own batteries, give ourself a few more spoons
10 Small acts of Self-Care
1.) Breathe Deeply
Breathe in for at least four counts, and slowly exhale for the same.
Any time you start to feel yourself getting tense, about to scream, or however it looks for you, fill your lungs and blow it all out. Go outside, repeat. Clear your lungs, fill yourself up, let go of your exhaust, exhale completely.
2.) Drink something warm and delicious.
Here's the kicker, drink it while it's still warm. The first time. Boil the kettle, start a fresh pot of coffee, whatever your preference, and savor it.
You can even get fancy and warm up some milk (any kind you prefer) with a little sweetness to add, and serve it to your kids too. Our girls love a little sweet vanilla milk (milk with a little honey or maple and a splash of vanilla extract) and we savor it while I drink my tea or coffee.
3.) Wash your hands and face.
Warm water in cooler months, cool water in warmer months. Like brushing your teeth, this basic act can boost our well being and set us back on a better track.
Bonus points for lotion or soap that you love how it smells. I can vividly remember the smell of an oatmeal soap (unscented) that I made at a workshop in my teens. It doesn't have to be fancy, perfumed, or anything of the kind.
Revel in the water running over your hands. Smoothly caress them in the water. Lovingly dry them on a clean towel. These hands are dear friends, incredible instruments, and could use some thanks.
4.) Count Your Blessings
It's so easy to get bogged down in what's difficult, what's not going the way you'd like, or be overwhelmed by senseless acts of horror blaring on the news.
We are so incredibly blessed.
I'm not making any comment about which versions of the-powers-that-be that you believe in (or don't).
We are privileged. We are RICH.
We have food to eat, clean water to drink. We have so many choices between this luxury or that, between this opportunity or that experience, spend time with these people that love us or those people that challenge us (or both!), or even keep our own company.
Even just thinking of five things for which you are grateful, can help you see life in a clearer light.
5.) Drink a glass of water.
Treat your body to some hydration, your brain to some fog-lifting h20.
Most people don't drink enough water. Add a squeeze of lemon, a mint leaf, a slice of orange, or drink it straight up.
You don't have to even attempt yoga.
Take a deep breath and try to touch your toes, lift your shoulders and move your spine a little.
Bonus points for baby dinosaur noises.
Even just push your shoulders back and front a couple of times.
You ask a lot of your body.
Take a moment to check in with yourself, even if it's half a moment to move something that's tight or tense. These small radical acts of self care bring more goodness to our world.
7.) Eat some vegetables.
You can find scientific studies supporting just about every kind of dietary scheme.
They pretty much all agree about eating vegetables.
Cut some carrot sticks, more than you'll eat now, and store the rest in the fridge for later.
Plan to have a glorious salad. There's no reason for salads to be boring. Walnuts, apples, grapes, orange sections, almonds, pine nuts, goat cheese, dried cherries, blue cheese, parmesan cheese, nooch (nutritional yeast), your favorite vegetables, and even just a simple splash of vinegar and olive oil can turn an obligatory serving of greenery into a real treat.
We even love snacking on thawed frozen peas. They're a little sweet, and pop when you bit them making them fun to eat.
8.) Basic acts of grooming
Clip your toenails. Or brush your teeth. Comb your hair even just with your fingers.
Do whatever it is that you need to do but have been so busy putting out fires since the little ones hit the floor running.
It's amazing how human we can feel again after taking but a few moments to treat ourselves as such. These simple acts of soul-first-aid can be all it takes to give ourselves a bit of a fresh start.
When traveling these often fall to the wayside because we've stepped out of our normal habits and routines. Sometimes, when life is in flux or change, or even just the normal business of life, we forget to reset, restart and regain what we've put aside for the moment.
9.) Challenge Your Mind
Read a chapter of a new book, read an article you disagree with, watch a Ted talk on something you don't understand, learn more deeply about something that may have controversy attached - like chocolate.
I highly recommend Tsh Oxnreider's series
There's only a handful of posts but she covers topics like A Brief History of Syria, Coffee and how it gets all the way to your cup, and What you might not know about Cerebral Palsy among others.
10.) Give yourself a little grace.
You're doing just fine. Really.
Even if you're not ok.
And, not to spoil anything, but it's going to work out somehow.
Take a deep breath, dust yourself off, pick yourself up, and keep going.