It is already the middle of September. Time is a funny thing. At the beginning of quarantine, I had talked about how badly I wanted this year to be over. Now, looking back, there are specific moments I wish I could hold onto forever. Funny how that works out, even in the middle of a pandemic when people are sick, losing their jobs and fighting just to get through another day. I am counting my blessings and thanking the Lord I have found many moments of peace and gratitude during 2020. I have been in a season of loneliness I'm sure like many others during this year of isolation with being at home and trying to adjust to a new way of living. Through therapy, I recently discovered, this season has been going on long before COVID hit. With many friends being in different stages of life, and differing beliefs, it can feel lonely at times even when you are with a crowd of people.
It is no secret I struggle with the changing of seasons, particularly fall. Call it seasonal depression or whatever you like, but the associations I have with fall & winter from my past are haunting & unfortunately have stayed with me. I used to dread it, but this year is better, so far. Of course, I love the holidays, especially Christmas and my birthday, but I am just a summer girl. I thrive off sunshine, being outside in nature and not in the cold! I find that I am closest to the Lord when I am in nature, by water specifically. It has taken me several years to get to a point where I have found specific things to help me cope with the transition and this season, but especially during COVID and my recent job loss.
I was laid off last month. Like millions of others, I am unemployed and searching for a job, but I am so fortunate that my previous company took such good care of me. I would go back in a heartbeat if I could, but I am trusting that the Lord has something better in the near future for me. I am grieving only because it was the first full-time job I truly loved. I was proud of my work and my personal growth and I am holding my head high moving forward. I am thankful Max is working full-time remotely for a company he really likes.
With all that being said, after months of virtual therapy, I wanted to break it down to 4 easy things to do for self-care in the coming seasons & just in general. There have been so many articles, blog posts and professionals speaking about mental health and their version of self-care this year, and while it is all helpful advice, it can be overwhelming. Some days I am truly struggling with depression and I could easily stay in bed all day. This "list" works for me. Instead of trying to check off a list and do ALL the things, here are 4.
That’s it. Simple. You don’t even have to do them all in one day. Let me explain.
Example: Sleep - self-care may look like going to bed earlier one night and not watching that Netflix show until 2AM. Example: Eat - Are you eating? It may look like having a healthy meal one day – or just making sure you're eating and nourishing your body. Example: Move - Going for a walk. Working out. Moving your body. There is no definition. Example: Connecting means calling a friend, listening to a podcast, having a conversation with a trusted friend, etc. If there is a day where you can do all 4, GREAT! If there is a day you can only focus on 1, focus on CONNECTING. Right now, for me specifically, since I am in a season of loneliness, it is important that I connect. I am not getting a lot of interaction with people due to unemployment, COVID, etc. so I will need to make extra effort on this one. If there is a day where I can get 2 out of the 4, that is great 2. There is not an expectation – it just simple. Throughout the process and after doing this for a month, it has helped take the pressure OFF of me and helped me find small things I DO enjoy about the fall and winter, which has actually made me excited. A few of those things include candles. watching football, decorating, and cozy clothes! It actually took me awhile to come up with a list, so give yourself some time. Most importantly for the “Self-Care” list – GRACE. There is no self-care without grace, for anyone. It is just HARD. You need to give bundles of grace to yourself, to your spouse or significant others, to your family members, to everyone because this thing, 2020 is HARD. Also, life and depression/anxiety is HARD. We can’t do it alone, we need each other. I would encourage you to check on your friends and family but take care of you. You cannot pour from an empty cup, friend.