Self-Care Amid Crisis

Crisis - (1) a turning point for better or worse, (2) the decisive moment as in a literary plot,

(3) an unstable or crucial time, or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending.

I am not okay. I have not been okay because of definition #3 above. Two weeks ago, George Floyd's murder by police sparked civil unrest and protests which are ongoing. I am encouraged to see so many people joined in the protests all over the world to end police brutality. I am also encouraged to see people are now open to dialogue about systematic racism. Many protestors are wearing masks to curb the spread of Coronavirus/Covid-19. A sad side effect is that it serves as a thin barrier for the teargas and pepper spray launched at them as well.

We are in crisis. I support #BlackLivesMatter because it is core to my being. However the original health care crisis is still a threat, and since many states have "reopened" there has been a spike in Coronavirus cases. We must continue to be safe. Self-care amid crisis is imperative.

Here's what the CDC says when facing a crisis. “It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief and worry. Everyone reacts differently. Taking care of your own emotional health during a crisis will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family.”

While doing research I found the following post which specifically addresses self-care ideas while dealing with the current health crisis. Why am I sending you to someone else’s blog? I believe in giving you whatever resources can be helpful to you wherever they can be found, because I care.

What about your feelings surrounding your mental health with the current unrest? A much trickier proposition. First you need to check in with yourself. If you are not okay, then you need to take the steps to get okay. For some that could mean talking things out with family and friends, seeking help from a spiritual advisor, or mental health professional. It could be as simple as taking a break from the news, social media, and/or not engaging with people who do not share your same belief system. You may need to take a day or two off from work. Meditate, learn mediation if you don’t already know it, journal or start to journal. Exercise or start a different physical activity to release any stress or anxiety. If you are moved by the civil unrest and want to get involved, then become an advocate.

In your workplace hopefully your employer is open to having conversations about racism. Many employers already have, and on social media many companies have made their positions clear on where they stand. The following post gives guidelines on how employers can handle discussing “George Floyd and Racism.” The Boston Scientific sent a letter to its employees. The letter describes the implications of Floyd's death and what it's emblematic of: "George Floyd’s death reflects deeply ingrained, long-standing divisions in our society. And it comes at a time when the pandemic has given rise to hate and xenophobia around the world, with rampant acts of violence across the nation, and the spread of misinformation, racial stereotyping and fear."

The number one thing you can do for your self-care now is sleep, because it gives your mind, body and soul the rest it needs to recharge completely. But sleep can be the hardest thing to do when you are in crisis mode because it’s difficult to shut your brain off. The next best thing is breathing. One breath at a time. There are other fancier methods out there, you could give them a try as well.

Or as I’ve posted about before, you can just sit in the stillness. No phone, TV, no playlist, no nothing. Just you, breathing, checking in with yourself. Find a quiet place. Set your timer for 5 minutes, 10 if you’re bold. Close your eyes, relax your shoulders cuz’ I know they’re up by your ears – now just breathe. Don’t worry about all the things you have to do, just sit there. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Let me know how you feel after your timer goes off. A little better, I hope.