This morning I woke up feeling like I’m stuck in the movie, Groundhog Day, repeating the same routines over and over again. I fed the cats, cleaned their litter boxes, refreshed their water, then went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. At least my breakfast changes, I thought to myself as I smooshed avocado in a bowl, sprinkled “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning on top, and smeared it over toast (it’s delicious, by the way).
The uncertainty of the times is exhausting and debilitating. Last week, during our Coach on Call zoom gathering, I could tell that people are struggling with not knowing what the future holds. Afterward, I thought about uncertainty and self-care. How do we deal with the unknown? How do we feel a sense of agency over our lives when circumstances inhibit us from moving and acting freely?
Sometimes, when Michael and I are out for a ride and one of us is feeling down, the other will suggest we play the gratitude game. Going back and forth, we take turns naming one thing we feel grateful for. After several minutes we usually end up laughing or commenting on how fortunate we really are in spite of the despair that crept in.
There has never been a time when we felt worse after playing the gratitude game. We usually feel much, much better.
Sometimes, I also go to YouTube and find a Wim Hoff breathing video and follow along. If you’re not familiar with the Ice Man, you can read all about him here. By using his breathing techniques, I know I’m going to feel calmer and more grounded within minutes. I also know that his breathing method reduces inflammation in the body and improves lung capacity so I feel like I’m doing something smart for my health as well.
Here’s the video I like to use: https://bit.ly/3nXffbP
I also have something else I do when I feel unsettled or antsy: I clean. I know it might sound crazy but vacuuming, washing floors by hand, or de-cluttering a closet makes me feel better. Cleaning is exercise. Making order out of chaos is creating beauty. And I love the look and smell of a freshly washed space.
Sometimes it’s the little things that help us tackle the big things.
In the end, the best self-care remedy for feeling anxious about the uncertainty of life is to talk to someone. Connection creates certainty – as does love. Both giving and receiving love. Now is a good time to check on neighbors, to call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, or to set up a zoom gathering with family.
It’s also a good time to say “I need support.” Friends, family, church members, work colleagues, even helpline counselors are all examples of people waiting to feel more connected by lending a hand. Give them a chance to show up for you.
Better times are on the way and the strength and skills you’re developing during these difficult times will serve you well. Of that I am certain.