I woke up this morning with fear nagging at my heart and my gut. It started last night. I couldn’t sleep, which was curious because it had been a good day. I laid awake until 2am as the same difficult conversation I had earlier with my son played for the last time in my head. Until this morning when it started its first show as soon as my eyes opened.
By 9am, I was aware that I was allowing myself to move in to full panic mode about COVID19, racism, life no longer resembling really living, grief and that’s enough. That moment was pretty frightening and it was clear to me that depression was waiting for me at the front door which I had to go through in order to run some errands.
When I, the woman who loves to be outside and gets joy from walking, decided I had to get home right away, without finishing my errands, and my usual prayer time did not soothe me, I knew I was in trouble. “I have to write my blog today” is what I kept thinking without the faintest idea of how. “I’ve got no ideas.” Oh… I was in a tailspin and then I caught myself.
This is a time like nothing any of us have ever experienced and the stress level for most of us is higher than it has ever been and too many of us were already in the danger zone. I am also finding it a real challenge to consistently hold the space of hopefulness and happiness. Honestly, I’m not happy, but I am alive, grateful and determined to get through this and be better for it, but that’s not my idea of being happy. Most days it’s enough for me to smile, be productive, have good conversation, laugh, eat, workout, pray and read.
The experience of too many days of sadness, fear and overwhelm sneaking in between a string of good days leaving me with no control over when they show up, has led me to circling back to self-care and revising the plan.
These are tough times, conflict everywhere and few people to lean on because we are all going through it. I can’t think of a better time for that self-care plan to be reevaluated, updated and put into play immediately.
A little over a year ago, I asked you to add self-care to your conflict resolution techniques and I guided you through creating your self-care plan. I didn’t forget, I just needed to remind myself first.
As I breathe my way through writing this, I am already feeling better because the updated version of my self-care plan includes being honest about what I am experiencing during this time as a way of facing it and releasing it
So, let’s get comfortable and dig out that plan… You did it right? Did you hear me laughing? No worries, whatever shape it’s in, we can get it up and running right now.
Know who you are in conflict. These times may have altered you some, so don’t just go for the quick answer. Do an honest assessment of who you are right now. Are you the exploder, are you an avoider, do you hide in silence, do you meditate in silence, do you premeditate before a conflict, do you go for the jugular, do you try to please everyone or just shut down?
Knowing yourself is really important when you start to update your self-care plan. These days, I know myself to be someone who feels things very deeply, so my emotions are going to be the thing that I need to take care of first in a conflict situation. Emotions are taking center stage more and more these days. It is important and good to acknowledge them.
Since I know myself and how much more front and center my emotions are, my plan needs to be top-heavy around them. For you, recognizing who you are when it comes to conflict when you start updating, there are places where you’re going to need to be top heavy. That means you’re going to need to make sure that you spend more care in these areas.
For instance, in my self-care plan tuning into my emotions whether I am in a conflict or not helps me to become more aware of them. Setting aside time every day to just tune in whether it’s five minutes or 40 minutes helps to create the kind of awareness that I must tune in and take care of my emotions. Asking myself, “what am I feeling and why and how do I feel it completely” and then allow it to move through me are powerful ways for me to give myself emotional care.
Gather your relaxation techniques. Breathing, in particular belly breathing, is huge for me. I know its benefits particularly when it comes to my emotions. For you, it could be breathing, or it could be a quick neck roll, shoulder lift and drop or positive self-talk statement.
Remember, this part of the plan is about putting things in place that don’t require a large amount of time but do prove themselves to be techniques that slow you down. Sometimes it’s just a pause, but the key is to do this every day for at least ten minutes. Please do not tell me you don’t have ten minutes a day to care for you.
Dedicate to the larger picture. What can you do once a week regularly that caters to your physical, emotional, spiritual or mental well-being? Whatever it is, you are making a commitment to doing it regularly. The importance of this for conflict is you have an anchor that can help you handle stress that you go to every single week along with the quick techniques you are practicing daily.
Revise your plan in writing, make it visible to you and just keep adding to it. For instance, my exercise and prayer time has bumped up to much more these days and I have a new once a week commitment to good conversation, not related to any of the catastrophes, that I am doing my part to address.
Keep at it and love on yourself when you fall off. Hey, we all have the best intentions, but can fall off especially when we are either used to putting ourselves last or not considering ourselves at all or we are just plain depressed and overwhelmed. Forgive yourself, even laugh at yourself, call someone and tell them your truth or write it down and read it out loud and then keep trying.
Getting through all this conflict requires some serious self-reflection around self-care.
Let’s all circle back to it today and really make a difference in our own lives. I feel so much better now that I let all of you know my truth.
Next, I’m going to do some breathing. What are you going to do?
*Join us on July 21st for our engaging workshop, Difficult Conversations with Children, Tweens & Teens: Laying the Foundation for Meaningful Talks. Register here: https://theconflictcloser.com/difficult-conversations
*Also, we are facilitating additional important workshops, How To Have The Difficult Conversations About Racism With Your Children Using The Skills Of Conflict Resolution (on July 29th) and How To Have The Difficult Conversations About Racism With Your Tweens and Teens Using The Skills Of Conflict Resolution (on July 29th). Get more info and register for one or both here: http://theconflictcloser.com/difficult-conversations-racism