We all know that life happens. The past year, however, was perhaps the most trying time in my life as of yet. So when I finally resurfaced from the depths of the dark turbulent waters, I made a humbling observation…I can definitely work on taking my own advice…
When you are trained in health and wellness, there can be a certain assumption that you always have it together. The truth in the matter is that Practitioners can often be hardest on themselves. It is not uncommon to think, “ I got this”, “I teach this stuff”, or “I will be fine”. Perhaps this is true when it comes to sweating the small stuff; however, this time around, I’ve learned the harder way that when the going gets REALLY tough, it is important to practice what I preach.
In the thick of the storm, if you want to prevent a more serious crisis from developing, there are really no other options other than to STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.
Stop immediately doing anything that seems to be adding to your stress. This is not the time to judge yourself for not being the parent of the year, the all-star spouse, the selfless friend, or the employee of the month. It is the exact moment you need to give yourself permission to focus on yourself to preserve your wellness and avoid further overwhelming your mind, body, and soul. It is also not helpful to downplay the urgency of the matter by entering a state of denial or reinforcing the false belief that all will fall apart if you can’t be present in your life at the moment. (Trust me, I know how damaging this can be from experience). Recognize your “downward spiraling” signs and respect them. It is easier said than done, but it is absolutely mandatory. Stop and act!
Look for support, resources, and hands-on help. Having a crisis plan is always something I recommend creating when things are calm in your life. It becomes a useful guide listing a variety of things capable of getting you through the worst of the emotional upset, especially when you think nothing will help. (And trust me, in that state, you always feel nothing will help). Examples include contacts for your favourite helpful professionals (such as counsellors, physicians, spiritual teachers), domestic and everyday help (hired or friends/family you trust), social activities (favourite things to do), locations (favourite places, classes, or free support groups), soulful routines (journaling, affirmations, expressive arts), etc… Force yourself to do it all!
Listen to your body and your inner voice, and shut out any unfitting advice or negative self-talk. Trust your gut as to what you need at the moment without judgment from yourself and others. Affirm your needs clearly, delegate tasks, and reinforce your boundaries, even though it might not be convenient for your family, will upset their routine, or risk hurting their feelings. Nobody knows how you are feeling, the circumstances of your life, and your personal wellness needs more than you. Take all the time you need. There are no time limits on how you should be doing at a certain given time.
You can’t afford to risk losing yourself. That matters most. No one said it was going to be easy, but really, it’s as simple as that.