I’ve talked to so many friends over the last couple weeks who’ve admitted they’re drinking more recently to try and relax. Or chilling with Netflix and a big ole bag of something that provides an instant dopamine hit followed by long-term regret. It’s understandable. We’re almost six months into our pandemic living. In addition to the Covid-19 craziness, heartbreak and havoc, 2020 has also had a never-ending stream of natural and manmade disasters around the world. Volcanoes, plane crashes, murders and a spotlight on still-pervasive racial injustice, murder hornets. A tanking economy, an upcoming election and even the Arctic is burning. WTF.
So if we’re digging into some extra chardonnay or pretzels, we all deserve some grace. But since we’re far from done with stress-heightening happenings and uncertainty, it’s time we accept that some of our self-soothers may not be serving us. And if we’re going to come through all this with our health and sanity in tact, we’ve got to put some focus on incorporating (whether once again or for the first time) healthy habits that will help us cope, boost our immune system and increase our resilience. Because God knows we need it to get through this marathon of a year and still achieve all our personal and professional goals.
About a month ago I stopped the stress snacking and went back to my pre-pandemic way of eating, which allows a day of indulgences that celebrates my love of food instead of feeding my stress cravings. Over the weekend I recommitted to limiting my news intake, increasing my Quiet breathing practice to three short sessions a day, and returning to my 10 pm bedtime/6 am wake up. If life can’t be “normal” at least I can do what I normally do to take care of myself.
What have you stopped doing that helps you feel better and cope better? What have you started doing that may be sabotaging you that you need to stop? And if you’ve normally slacked on self-care and healthy habits that help you live a more full and vibrant life, it’s never been more essential to start.
Decide today to put improving your mental and physical health on your to-do list. If you need a starting point, my naturopathic doctor husband Dr. John Neustadt has tips for natural stress relievers that are life-enhancers at any time, but especially important right now. Take 15 minutes to read his blog and then make a list of the things you’re going to stop doing and a list of what you’ll start or restart. Don’t get overwhelmed and think you have to do them all in one day. Simply start to incorporate these changes over the next few weeks.
We may be done with all that is 2020, but it’s sure not done with us. So let’s make sure we’re controlling what we can, like being strong in mind and body. Take that, 2020!