5 Tips on Self-Healing During Tumultuous Times
I’m struggling to write and that is normal.
All my life, writing has been my therapy. Then came the triple whammy of 2020: the pandemic, divorce, and my dad’s illness.
Some days, I can’t write. Not poetry, not fiction, not an essay.
The feelings swirl inside me like fragments of fruit in a blender not yet ready to become a smoothie. I pick up a pen, and there’s nothing.
Then, I turn to drawing.
My hand remembers. I sketch the faces I’ve trained it to sketch and in them, there is some peace and comfort.
Often, it is the other way round. I can’t draw but the words pour out of me like hot water into my teacup.
I wish I could explain why this happens but I am just grateful I have more than one form of self-care to heal myself.
During trying times, we need more than one form of self-care.
What can we do to heal ourselves in times like these? Here are 5 ways.
5 Tips on Self-Healing During Tumultuous Times
1. Cultivate more than one form of self-care.
There is only one you and you deserve to be well-cared for.
Invest in you.
Give yourself the time and space to develop hobbies and interests.
I have always wanted to draw faces like Finn in Great Expectations. A couple of years ago, I decided I had to start. It was now or never. I picked up a drawing book and began practicing. Every day, I would draw or paint a face. I did this for 6 months. My hand still remembers.
Try something new, be it a Zentangle class or yoga. There are many healing arts out there. Pick a few and run with them. You will know which ones are right when you start them.
2. Switch between them whenever you need to.
Often, we freeze or feel stuck and are unable to write or paint, play music, or exercise. When this happens, switch to another activity. If it doesn’t work, switch again.
This is why it is important to have a few self-care activities to choose from as sometimes, we may not know what our minds and bodies need at the moment till we do it.
I switch between activities depending on what is happening in my life. Sometimes, I write poetry, other times, I draw.
When my children were little and I was with them 24/7, perpetually sleep-deprived, I could do neither. I made toys for them instead, sewing tiny woolen animals and creating playsets for them to play and imagine in.
Sometimes, you can’t create anything at all. That is when you let yourself rest, soak in a bubble bath, go for a healing massage, or simply give yourself the time and space to sink into a good book. Allow yourself that.
3. Let go of any guilt you carry for not being able to engage in your usual self-care activity.
Sometimes, I feel awful being unable to write or draw. Here, I call myself a professional writer and artist but I can’t produce work? Thinking like that doesn’t help.
I take a deep breath and let it go.
We are not computers, churning results at the click of a button. We are human beings with deep emotional lives and life can be impossibly difficult at times.
Let you spoil yourself. Treat yourself like you would your best friend. You deserve it.
4. Be kind to yourself.
At the crux of all this is the call to be kind to ourselves.
So many of us are raised to take care of the needs of others over ourselves to the point that we lose ourselves and forget that we are important too and deserving of love and respect. It is the greatest gift we can offer ourselves.
Be kind to yourself and everything else will follow.
5. Figure out where to start if you have no hobbies.
It is never too late to start.
Start with a class that encourages self-expression versus the production of a piece. The development of a skill can come after. Let the activity heal you first.
Choose one of each discipline and try it out: art, craft, writing, music, and exercise.
- With art, try acrylic pours, expressive watercolors, zentangles, resin art, sculpture.
- With writing, take a class on creative writing or memoir writing.
- With music, find a place that allows you a trial class to try out the different instruments. If you prefer not to commit to a class, the ukulele costs the least to start and it is very easy to learn on your own with printouts of your favorite songs along with guide photos of the chords.
- With exercise, try yoga, or tai chi, or dance. I began with a healing yoga class for seniors at the community center and loved its peaceful, slow pace.
We live in a time where there is so much to learn and so many places to learn from. Choose one or ten and begin your healing journey.
Postscript: And me, I couldn’t write a poem or a story or draw a face. Instead, I wrote this essay. Heal well, kind friend! :)