Elizabeth Danu

The Self Care Specialist

Self Care When There’s a Crisis

It’s ironic.  When all is calm, it isn’t hard to make time for self care.  I can even get into a pretty easy, happy groove.  It feels good, so I keep doing it, and it’s like money in the bank.  I build up reserves for when suddenly I find yourself in crazy stress.

Most of us, as soon as a crisis hits, throw self care out with all the other routines, and just cope. If you are not one who does this, I salute you!  You are my hero, or Shero! It’s counterintuitive, but during a period of intense stress or a crisis, taking the time to care for yourself will help you weather it.  I’m always amazed when people cancel their massage appointments when a crisis hits.  No, I protest, this is when you need it!

This is up for me because I just weathered one of these.  I think that now, on the other end, I am much less wrecked than I might be if I hadn’t remained firm in my commitment to follow these priorities:

1.  Care for me.

2.  Care for my children.

3.  Care for my clients.

You might ask, what about the spouse?  Simple.  I am responsible for me, he’s responsible for him, and we both can have a full emotional gas tank to be a support to each other that way.  I’m so grateful that he can take care of himself.  When he’s stressed, he can relax knowing that I take care of myself so he has one less worry, and vice versa.  During this particular crisis, I was grateful that we could both focus on our hurting child.

#1 ensures that #’s 2 and 3 can happen. After this, anything else was a bonus. One of my children experienced a crisis, and it was obvious that this was time to drop everything and take care of it. The thing is, “everything” that I dropped did not include me.  It couldn’t, or I would not have been effective, and now after the turmoil has passed, I am congratulating myself that I was.

I would love to report that I remained diligent about my exercise, meditation, journaling, etc.  Nope.  I narrowed it down to the most important.  I got plenty of sleep.  I got support.  I got massages.  I said “no” to anything that wasn’t important (see 1-3, above).

So often I used to create so much stress for myself by telling myself that a million unimportant things were important.  Each of us knows what’s really important, but that means tuning in to what we know, not what others tell us.  It’s unique to each of us, but invariably it’s a lot less that what we’ve decided to pressure ourselves about.

Every time I am faced with a major challenge, I tell myself to remember what this kind of clarity felt like when my life is normal again.  I tend to take up my life again with a lot less baggage and a lot less pressure.

Does everything you do in your life support what matters most?  How can you organize your life so that it does?

This is the essence of true self care.  Care for your body, care for your mind, care for what your soul yearns for.

The holidays are upon us. Please don’t stress!  The famous Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale lists “the holiday season” as a major stressor.  It doesn’t have to be like that.  What do you want to experience as the year closes?  Choose that.

Blessings and Peace!

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