I’ve thought about this a lot and I’m not 100% sure whether it’s because this is the only period of history I’ve experienced as an adult or if…THE WORLD IS ACTUALLY FALLING APART.
Someone who is older than me, please reassure me that the world has felt this bonkers before! (or maybe it’s ALWAYS been??)
Anyway. It’s bonkers out there. Have you noticed?? It’s certifiably bonkers every single day on the news, and now we live in an age where everything bonkers is amplified by a billion by social media. It can feel like A LOT.
Here’s the deal…the outside is SO LOUD and SO CRAZY, but as humans we don’t have the threshold to live at that volume and pace for very long at all. We have to soothe ourselves with the balm of truth. GOT TO.
So. What do we do?
First, I need you to know my version of “self-care” is “mothering myself”. I used to talk and write about this concept a lot…but, basically, it’s the idea that you can do for yourself what you’d want/need your mom to do for you. You treat yourself kindly, you take care of your basic needs, and you watch the story your emotional state tells about your physical/mental needs. I HATE when people say that you shouldn’t listen to your feelings…you absolutely should. If you’re not paying attention to what freaks you out, what makes you angry, what makes you tired, or what makes you sad…you’re missing out on some pretty great clues to a lot of who you are as a person or what your life is like at any given moment.
So, I’m going to help you mother yourself.
Are you worried?
Are you finding yourself angry?
Is it difficult to sleep?
Are you confused?
If I was your mom, I’d recognize immediately that you have a little “emotional flu” as Kim John Payne writes in Simplicity Parenting. He posits that we should treat an emotional flu much like we’d treat a physical flu. He says we’d should strip back the calendar, draw the curtains, eat comforting foods, get some rest, and ride it out.
So. Here’s the Rx from Dr. Mom-Yourself: if your brain and heart are on overload from how absolutely nutso the world is, it’s time to get back to basics.
Strip back the extras: don’t leave the evening news on while you’re chopping veggies for dinner. Don’t absent-mindedly scroll Twitter and bask in the blue light as you lay in bed trying to fall asleep. Don’t say “yes” to every ask anyone makes. Strip things back to make a little mental room (not forever…just for now).
Draw the curtains: I have a friend that says it was easier to parent in the 1980s and 1990s because essentially you were the gatekeeper to your home. If you didn’t want a certain influence in your house, you could kindly shut your front door. The bullies stayed at school. The cute girl with the cool clothes stayed at school. Etc Etc Etc. But now, with the advent of social media the bullies, the cool kids, and a zillion other people have access to our most private, safe places. This is not so great for our anxiety levels.
Eat comforting foods: nourish your body in a way that brings you joy. The world IS NOT ENDING. Really stopping to enjoy a simple meal you love helps ground you in the moment.
Get some rest: I’m, of course, talking about sleep here. BUT ALSO, put your phone down at least 3 hours before you want to go to sleep…that blue light really is terrible for you! And, when you’re getting some rest…give it a rest, too. Put your phone in a drawer and let it be for awhile. Shut the world out and recognize that where you are right now is fine, and you have to be emotionally sound if you’re ever going to create good change in the world.
Ride it out: There are many things out of our control. The world and it’s happenings are one of them. HOWEVER, if you let every piece of disturbing news in (guilty as charged), you’ll eventually develop compassion fatigue and will be paralyzed to do any good. Too much exposure to too much bad news makes us numb.