In a crisis, the first thing to go would usually be self-care. You need to attend to the situation at hand. At such a time, self-care rituals may seem frivolous and selfish. I will argue though that they are just the opposite. They are a necessity.
First, yes we must attend to the crisis at hand. However, once the situation is stable, it is important to ask ourselves: What do I need to do to take care of myself right now? By doing so, you are ensuring that you are calm, present and centered. Self-care routines and rituals alleviate stress and prevent us from getting run down and sick.
I have a morning routine which I have practiced for the past 20 years. It’s my rock. It’s what primes me for the day and allows me to remain calm and present, rain or shine. Three months ago one of my sons came down with a fever and presented a few other symptoms. We made the decision to have him tested for COVID-19. Needless to say it was a very stressful few days. It would have been very easy for the situation to completely take over our life. In a way it did, but I continued to hold onto my self-care practices. And it’s really what carried me through. I was able to remain calm and present to make the right decisions, to advocate for my child both with the medical institution and the many offices we had to interface with and with his school. And also, more importantly, to keep a calm and peaceful presence for my other two children, who were smack in the middle of their last week of school and final exams.
I also realized that if you do have a self-care routine that you practice regularly, it will carry you through during a crisis. It will also provide a safe refuge for you and all of your emotions. It will allow you the space to process things in a healthy and very efficient way.
I am so grateful for the gift of my self-care routine and my daily practice.