Self-Care is the Little Things
As days stretch into weeks with no direct human contact, I realize one of the most important things you can do is pay attention to self-care. It goes further than simply trying to eat right, get some exercise, and plenty of rest. Those things feed your physical body, but do nothing for the parts of you which derive energy from the seemingly meaningless interactions you have with others, and for which you, without realizing it, take better care of yourself.
In the first few days, I found it easy to skip the simple things:
- Washing my face
- Brushing my teeth
- Washing my hair
- Getting dressed
The advent of regular dance nights via Zoom made me more conscious of my personal hygiene even though I was one of many images on everyone’s screens. But I also discovered I was more productive and positive when I spent a few minutes taking care of myself.
Keeping Up Normal Activities in Creative Ways
It isn’t just the hygienic practices that need to continue. It’s things like sitting on the floor and doing a nice, long stretch; showing up on Facebook Live to encourage my friends; spending time out on the patio getting some fresh air, and listening to bird song. I’m quickly realizing how much I’ve taken for granted over the years. Even the attention my cats both give and demand has become more meaningful; more intense.
Even from the seeming solitude of my own home, I’m learning I can reach out to friends and offer support, encouragement, and connection. Many are doing the same for me. Not a single day goes by when I don’t at least talk to someone via Facebook Messenger, if not by phone or Zoom. My friends and I are in and out of each others’ homes, in much the same manner as I did as a child when doors weren’t locked, and all the kids in the neighborhood wandered in and out of several of the houses.
Necessity is causing a new normal to emerge; not one that will continue in the same form once restrictions are lifted, but one which gives a new appreciation for the value of human contact. It’s a case of not knowing what you had until you lost it, though in this case, it’s a temporary loss. I know I’ll hug longer and tighter, pay more compliments to strangers, and even find the patience I’ve long thought elusive when I go out into the world unrestricted once again.
Hoping for A Pandemic of Kindness and Compassion
Will others be kinder and more patient too? That’s not for me to say, but I tend to hope for the best most of the time. Will I see more of the good in people, and be less likely to see insensitivity and selfishness? I think so. I’m already trying to look past those who do things which seem selfish and uncaring, trying to understand what drives people to do what appears to me to be, if not morally, then ethically wrong.
More and more, I’m seeing peoples’ judgemental remarks as simply frustration, and a lack of understanding for what someone else is going through. For some, it might be an inability to find toilet paper. For others, it’s the real fear of losing their home. Somehow, in the minds of each, the problem is insurmountable and frightening.
I’m learning by watching and reading that everyone has their trigger point. Everyone’s ire raises at different levels. When I worked in an office, I called it my “bullshit meter”, but I’m learning it’s more than that. It’s what we are able to tolerate based on our own past experiences.
We Each See Lack Differently
I once had a friend who would tell stories about how his mother only bought him a limited amount of underwear and socks, but spent thousands on face creams and clothes for herself. As an adult, he hoarded socks and underwear because that was his trigger point indicating lack. My own mother didn’t allow us to have pillows as she believed it was bad for our necks. Today, I have more pillows on my bed than I need, though I often take full advantage of the abundance when I’m having trouble getting comfortable.
Who am I to say there aren’t those who lived in a household where toilet paper was in short supply and they had to make do with something else? How can I possibly know if someone lived where cleanliness and hygiene were ignored, and where members of the household were often ill as a result? If I learn nothing else from spending far too many hours in my own company, it’s that compassion and kindness can’t be limited to those I believe, based on my own experiences, deserve it. If I’m going to err, it has to be on the side of abundance; abundance of compassion with no restrictions or exclusions.
Compassion for Those Unable to Shelter in Place
I saw a man walking down the street carrying a large duffel bag and checking car doors as he walked. I called the police for the sake of my neighbors, though most these days lock their cars. It wasn’t that I wanted the man arrested. There had to be something very wrong in his life for him to walk around in broad daylight doing something that could be construed as looking for something to steal. By the same token, the people in the neighborhood didn’t deserve to be robbed simply because they might have what he lacked; a home and a working vehicle.
I was gratified to see a police car going down my street mere minutes later, not because it increased the chances of them finding him and talking to him; perhaps offering him assistance if he seemed to be in distress, but because it meant people were staying inside like they’re supposed to instead of being out on the streets, making work for the police officers. It proved my belief that people are basically good, caring, and considerate of others.
I know I won’t come through this unscathed; unchanged, nor will anyone else. With compassion guiding me, my hope is I’ll come out the other side a little kinder; a lot more compassionate; and a lot more willing to give of myself for the sake of others.
Finding More to be Grateful For
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for the kindness of strangers.
- I am grateful for the givers who set an example for the rest of us.
- I am grateful for friends who are making an effort to see the good in a difficult situation.
- I am grateful for opportunities to reach out to others in any way I can.
- I am grateful for abundance; opportunities, inspiration, motivation, self-care, love, friendship, dancing, kitty loves, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward