At times, it can seem like the whole world has turned upside down.
Maybe there is a personal issue wreaking havoc in your life, or perhaps it’s more of a global issue keeping you awake at night and occupying your mind during the day. There is certainly no shortage of troubling news these days as protections for people and the planet are being threatened left and right, and it can be enough to make you feel helpless, or maybe even hopeless. But what I know in my heart, is that there is always room for hope. Always. You just might have to work a little to find the light and let it lift you back up.
When your current situation or surroundings are distressing, it can be hard to focus, and it can be even harder to remember to take care of yourself. It may even seem useless or “selfish” when the issues at hand feel larger than you can handle. But self-care is the first and most necessary step in gaining inner strength. You must stay strong in order to make it through the difficult times. Self-care is how you build your resilience in order to stand tall in the face of obstacles trying to knock you down.
Repeat this to yourself as often as needed: self-care is not selfish. It’s essential, crucial, non-negotiable. You can’t fight for yourself or anyone else if your energy is depleted, or if you are too distraught or worn out to keep moving forward.
Here are some practices to boost your mental, physical, and emotional strength and well-being that will help you stay calm and grounded even when it feels like worries and challenges are being hurled at you from all directions. By increasing your resilience muscles, you find more patience when seeking solutions to the problems you face. If answers elude you, the buoys of self-care can help you accept what is without drowning being bogged down in resistance and unnecessary suffering.
Tell the Truth About Your Feelings
So often we think we have to squash or censor our feelings, push them down in order to keep up with our lives. And while this can work temporarily, those emotions don’t just disappear. They live in your body and your heart, festering and causing pain. Expressing your feelings is the best way to deal with them, even if you feel like your feelings are silly or shameful.
It’s okay to not be okay! And it’s even better if you can share those emotions with others so you can release them from your body and start the healing process. Talk to someone you trust and tell them how you’re feeling. Admitting you are feeling sad or angry or hopeless will allow those emotions and feelings to move through you instead of getting stuck. Saying how you feel can also give you a sense of strength in working through them. Even if you choose not share your feelings, writing them down can provide the same benefits as sharing with someone you trust.
Take Care of Your Body
Taking care of your body is a crucial part of self-care. Why should you focus energy on your body when there are bigger problems to deal with? Because your body is your vehicle for living. Your body is the only place you will ever live so caring for it is not a waste of time or a luxury. It is a MUST.
We are conditioned to DO and to push ourselves emotionally, physically and mentally. This actually works against us instead of for us. There are times when rest is the best way to move forward, when doing nothing is better than taking action and when staying silent is better than speaking up. The important thing is to listen to your body. What does it need in times of stress? What types of sensations do you feel when under pressure or high stress? Pay attention as our bodies usually speak to us in very clear ways when we are in need of a break.
Keeping your body in good working condition is a great way to find the energy to confront obstacles and to face challenges. So do your best to eat well, stay hydrated and get a good night’s sleep. Finding ways to move your body —which also boosts positive feelings and emotions—will keep your body strong and in shape for whatever comes your way.
We’ve talked about taking care of your emotions and your body, but your mind needs some attention as well. A calm mind and grounded spirit is more capable of coming up with solutions and new ideas.
Meditation is the best medicine for quieting the chaotic voices in your head. Just a few minutes a day makes a noticeable difference in your ability to tackle problems and manage your reactions and responses to troubling relationships, news or events. If you don’t already meditate, now is a great time to start, and if you’ve let your practice flounder, go ahead and recommit. You, your mind, and your soul, will thank you.
Ask for Help
Just like it’s okay to tell the truth about your feelings, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for help when you are overwhelmed. Needing help does not equal weakness. It’s part of the human condition—no one can do everything alone all the time. During troubling times or when you are facing a crisis, having a community of supportive people around you is an important source of comfort. When you ask for help, you will also find that you are not alone in how you feel.
You can turn to a trusted friend of family member, join a support group or community group, go to a church or neighborhood function, or—one of my favorites—attend a spiritual retreat or conference like any one of our Celebrate Your Life events. You may even seek out a counselor or therapist if you feel you need more dedicated help and attention. However you choose to connect with others, the support and love you receive in return is sure to give you a mental and emotional lift.
There is no act of kindness that is too small. Just as others will help you when you ask, you can offer your assistance to those in need. Look into volunteering locally. Share your gifts or be a shoulder to cry on. You can even offer to lend a hand to a neighbor or coworker who may be facing a difficult time.
Sometimes, just giving yourself space will shift your perspective on the challenges you face and help you see your problems in a new light. This change in viewpoint may give you an answer that you didn’t see before. Or, it may just help you understand how to accept what is as it is instead of resisting or wanting things to be different. Either way, stepping outside of yourself to do good for others not only helps them, but also helps you!
When the outside world threatens your sense of wellbeing, there are ways to stay centered and resilient with practice. I encourage you to try these practices for boosting your resilience and staying strong. Even when it feels like there are no solutions, if you have cared for yourself, if you are strong within, you will be able to weather the storm and accept what comes about your life with strength, grace, and hope.
If you’d like to learn powerful practices in staying grounded, deeply connected and true to yourself – no matter what is happening in the moment – from some of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time, I invite you to sign up for our FIRST EVER and FREE Online SOULFEST! It begins February 24th and extends over 5 full days.