In the world of blogging there’s a ‘rule’ to never acknowledge nor apologize for a prolonged absence of posting new content. I’m not much of a slave to rules, and I’m going to break that one right now.
I haven’t been around much (in the sense of writing new articles for this space) lately. I’m sorry for that. I’ve missed posting here. I’ve missed doing the research to bring you current information that can help you improve your health. I’ve missed thinking up fun and entertaining topics. I’ve even missed the little rituals I go through to get my self ready to sit down in front of that blinking cursor and start typing. But I’m back now. So if you’ll accept my apology, we can get back to it.
You might be wondering why I’ve been absent. I’ll give you a brief answer because I don’t want to turn this space into something it was never intended to be…I spent the months of August through December working for my local Board of Elections. The hours were very long. The work was interesting and important but draining, and I didn’t have a lot of energy left to put into the blog. I barely even cooked during those months. Thank goodness I have a capable partner who picked up the slack without complaint. But every day he would ask when I thought I might start writing again. And I’d say SOON. And I meant it. But I got overwhelmed with the whole election and the aftermath. It’s taken me until now to feel like I’ve got a handle on dealing with what’s happening and my place in this new landscape in which we find ourselves. I’m not going to to get all political on here. Don’t worry about that…this is still going to be a place for talking primarily about healthy lifestyles and delicious food. But part of leading a healthy lifestyle is figuring out how to prioritize what is most important to you (or me in this case) and how to fit the puzzle pieces together in way that lets you accomplish your priorities without losing your mind. It sounds easier than it is.
Like I said, it’s taken me some time to get back to a place where I feel energized and able to give the time and effort necessary to create quality content. But here I am, sitting at my old wooden desk tapping out this post.
Some of you may be dealing with feeling overwhelmed, or disconnected or deflated and defeated. Some of you may be dealing with all sorts of events and emotions that are making you feel like staying in bed and pulling the covers over your head. I totally understand. And some days that might be the answer. I love a good “Bed In” now and then and my cats are always on-board as partners in crime on those days. But most of us can’t indulge our inner Brian Wilson or John and Yoko, for much more than an occasional Saturday or Sunday. So what do we do when we feel like we can’t even?
Wallowing is not the answer.
We can’t just lay there and wallow in our feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. The first thing we need to do is to acknowledge how we’re feeling. Name it. If you name it you can deal with it. Are you afraid? Angry? Confused? Worried? Great, now that you know what emotions you’re feeling you can create a plan to deal with them. And oh hey, I’ve got a few ideas on things to include in your plan.
1. Connect. This is important. When I feel overwhelmed I tend to pull back and isolate. Not the best choice in most cases. We all need time for self-reflection and contemplation, but in stressful times that often turns into hiding away from the world. Don’t do that. Reach out to people who love you and let them know you need a little TLC. Ask for a hug. Give a hug. Find other people who are dealing with your same issue and connect with them, not in the misery-loves-company way but in a We’re-all-in-this-together way. There can be strength in numbers.
2. Go outside. I know I harp on this one as the remedy to practically everything, but that’s because it is. We need to be in nature. It calms us, rejuvenates us, rebalances us. It boosts our Vitamin D levels. It makes us happy. Whether we like it or not, we are a part of the natural world and we feel better when we are surrounded by fresh air, sunshine, rain, oceans, mountains, woods….So go out and play!
3. Sleep. Being exhausted never solved anything. If we are physically exhausted we aren’t much good to anyone including ourselves; and we’re even less so when we’re mentally and emotionally exhausted. If you can’t sleep because your brain won’t quit, see if you can work a relaxing ritual into your evening. Can you take a bath? Or use relaxing oils in a self-massage? Or listen to calming music? I’ve begun taking a shower before bed, and then using soothing moisturizers as a signal to my brain that it’s time to chill out. I also play a steady rain ‘song’ on a loop. I’m very sensitive to environmental sounds, and this helps blur and drown out traffic noises, as well as the cat shenanigans that occur every night.
4. Move. You knew I was going to say it. Just like sleep and nature, we NEED to move. But I’m not going to tell you how to move. You have to figure that out for yourself. What makes you feel good in your body? What type of movement seems to bring you joy, or help you release emotions? For me it’s dancing, yoga, walking and most recently lifting weights. And they all do different things for me. Dancing makes me inordinately happy. I can go from tears to laughing in the space of one good dance. Yoga helps me release emotion and tension. I’ve cried on my yoga mat quite a lot recently, and that’s okay. Afterwards I feel cleansed and stronger and ready for whatever is next. Walking is when I do my best thinking. I can sift through problems, find answers, and be alone with my thoughts in way I can’t when I’m in the midst of my day. My dog likes it too. And my newest physical outlet, lifting, has allowed me to release stress and anger in a healthy way while I also build my strength both mentally and physically. Feel free to copy off my paper and see if any of these work for you. Or do something else entirely…whatever works.
5. Watch your diet. Are you eating your feelings? Are you drinking your feelings? Are you NOT eating? <— That’s me btw. Make sure you are getting at least 1200 kcal a day and that you're eating whole, nutrient dense foods. Twinkies and soda might make you feel better for a few minutes but they aren’t doing you any good in the long run. Your body and brain need healthy fats, quality proteins, and non-refined carbs to keep up with the stresses you’re facing. Don’t add to the problem by feeding yourself crap.
There. A quick five things to help you deal when you think you can’t, and my promise to be here more.
I hope you implement some or all of these, and add more self-care strategies in as you discover them. If you have something that works well in your life, share it here with us. You could inspire someone!
Thanks for reading today!
P.S. It feels really good to be back! xoxox