Act 4 – Be kind to yourself

This week seems to have brought forward everyone’s vices.  And let me be clear I don’t mean coping strategies like meditating or going for long walks.  I mean vices – binge eating chocolate, drinking too many glasses of wine, smoking cigarettes, smoking pot (legally, of course), carb loading, etc.  We all have our means of temporarily making ourselves feel better.  I personally informed my officemates that I was going to “feed my sadness” which amounted to eating all things salty and sweet within a 500 foot radius of my desk.  Although temporary, it tempered my grief enough that I could make it through a work day without crying at my desk.

However, this is not a long range (aka 4 year) plan.  Eventually, we will all need to make the switch from vices to coping strategies.  Many in my office were planning to give themselves the weekend and then reset on Monday.  Monday will not bring a new president.  In actuality, this week may be harder than the last as the shock wears off and we continue to see the plans for our collective future laid out.  So we may find ourselves needing our vices more than ever, but trying to rely on coping strategies instead.

As we ready ourselves for a new work week, it is in this spirit that I completed act of kindness #4 – self care.  When we woke up this morning, my husband asked what my act of kindness was going to be today.  I told him I wasn’t sure, but I knew something would strike a nerve.  We moved through the morning like every other morning as of late, intermixing questions of breakfast, “Do you want one egg or two?”with questions about the election “I still can’t believe this”, “Did you hear that they’re saying he might appoint… to head the Department of…”, and “Now they’re saying he might cut funding from…”.  As we sat and ate our breakfast while contemplating the unknown future, my next act of kindness was clear – we needed to take a mental break and be kind to ourselves.

I work through stress by getting outside.  So today, we took the dogs to a large reservoir by our house and stood in the sunshine as they played in the water.  It was the first time in quite a while that my mind didn’t drift back to the election.  The sun beamed down on us. The unseasonably warm day provided the perfect opportunity to take a deep breath.  And while I didn’t have some moment of clarity when I suddenly believed everything was going to be okay, the panic I’ve been feeling finally began to subside.

We all need and deserve these moments of peace.  So let’s pledge to be kind to one another but also remember to be kind to ourselves.

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