By Valerie Rice | January 11, 2021
Good evening readers! This has been one seriously messed up month, amiright? I wasn’t even going to pose another one of these for a while, but then I realized that I spend the majority of my time engaging in self care right now. Why? Well, we have spent the last year in a collective trauma that has resulted in an ongoing mass death event and, just for fun, witnessed a terrorist attack on the very heart of our democracy. For any U.S. citizen, or individual invested in safety from U.S. weaponry, this is a terrifying turn of events. I present to you today: The care and maintenance of your delicate mental state (tending your brain).
Go outside and find a tree to hug. That may sound a bit cheeky (it is) but I actually do hug trees. Reconnecting to nature has been shown to increase mental clarity and decrease stress. Take a stroll down the street, especially if you have a dog or child, and breathe the fresh air. Not only will you benefit from the endorphins you are releasing you will also benefit from the increase in oxygen circulation. It may be terribly cold but it can be invigorating if you are bundled.
Turn it off. Seriously. I do not mean forever, that would be incredibly unwise. I mean you need to turn off your phone and internet and news for a bit to stop the barrage of information. There is a lot going on and none of it is really awesome. You need to stay current in case of an emergency, but you do not need to be glued to a screen constantly. In order for your brain to process the information in a healthy way, you need to keep it from becoming overstimulated. So try and limit your use of social media and news feeds to a few hours a day. This may seem ridiculous, but there are other activities to engage in.
For people who enjoy reading, a book is an excellent mini vacation for the soul. Not only does it distract you from the current crisis, it also creates a new state of pleasant stimulation for the mind to relax in. (I may be envisioning brains as cranky toddlers, here). Books keep your mind both occupied and active without being overwhelming. I like to think of it as hallucinating vividly whilst staring at the tattooed corpses of trees. I read that somewhere once…on a meme I think. Well, it is a great way to care for the frazzled mind at least
Only in America would you be expected to show up to work immediately after a terrorist attack on the US capitol. Capitalism at its finest. I would call in sick if I had a boss. Hello, I took time off from writing! And I am going to take more. We need to process this. So call off, take the time to mourn, rage, laugh, break down, whatever you need to do. Mental health is just as important as physical health. So go talk to someone if you need to and tell your boss to chill. I guarantee you that you are not getting paid enough to sacrifice yourself for your boss. Same with house chores. If laundry needs to pile up a bit or a load of dishes needs to wait, so be it. You are allowed to rest if you need to. In fact, I insist.
You know you want to. Make sure you get enough shut eye by turning off screens before bed. If you are having trouble, try a fan or a white noise machine. I like a solid 10 hours, but I am sick all the time, I need more than most. You can even take a nap during the day if you are lucky. You know how everyone is always trying to interpret their dreams, right? Well dreams are just your brains going through the day, like your liver going through your toxins. So sleep, dream, rest, and allow your brains to process. (still imagining free-range brains in a field? Me too).
FOOD AND WATER
Okay, sure you eat and drink. No, I do not mean that you should go ahead and binge on your fave chips. I mean you should provide your body with nutrients. That NYE resolution that includes cutting your calories down to rabbit food and exercising all crazy? Drop it. You need an adequate supply of food, water, and exercise without going overboard to tend your brain. Supporting a healthy mind requires the meat puppet to be healthy too! Holistics, remember? Healthy body/healthy mind/healthy you.
There are many things you can do to take care of yourself right now, and I really hope you choose to do them. The most important thing to remember is : Moderation. Now is not the time for extremes or drastic change, but the time for introspection, self love, and moderation. Care for your meat puppet and the interdimensional wavelength of thought (your mind) that pilots it. You got this. Until next time, Be Well.