I think we can all agree that these are definitely stressful times. Our lives changed over night and were thrown into a storm without warning and caught unprepared. Without time to process, accept and make plans on how to navigate through this journey, we've struggled to find routines that help keep us mentally and physically grounded and healthy. Centuries ago, we belonged to tribes, or communities, that were literally built in such a way that support each other as a whole. Women were able to gather quickly and respond to the needs of the whole. Men were able to meet and strategize on how best to attack a threat.
Times have changed and its during a crisis, such as this, that we can find ourselves feeling alone and without our usual support system. For some of us, we can even feel completely alone and lacking any ability to reach out and ask for what we need. With the aid of technology, many of us can reach out to those we depend on during difficult times, but somehow it is different than supporting each other face to face and through touch. So what can you do to set you and your family up for success during this storm? We have a couple of suggestions.
Keeping your body moving helps keep your mind healthy too. Maybe it would help to set up a weekly calendar to follow, setting aside specific days and time periods, that you commit to movement in the form of "exercise". Having said this, select a number of days you feel you can comfortably commit to and if you find the energy to do more, great, but the point is to keep things simple and not add to your stress. It could be as simple as dancing to music or taking a walk or as intense as weight lifting or spin videos. We've been doing zumba and yoga every other day and keep our choices to 15 or 20 minutes. Our moods are lifted and we feel like we've accomplished something that is good for us in that short period of time. We've added a walk or a bike ride if we are feeling the need for a bit more activity to shake off the heaviness, but it isn't in our calendar, we just do it at our whim.
This is a big one! Many of us are finding it hard to simply get out of our pajamas and get dressed for the day. First of all, you are not alone! This is a very natural response to crisis. What you need to remember is this, that's not harmful done in the short term, it's the long term that can hurt you. Something as simple as making sure to bath/shower everyday. It doesn't matter if it happens in the morning or the evening, just that you keep to your normal self care habits and keeping your body clean leads to lifting your spirit. In our household, we've made bathing every night our quiet time. We bring our iPads in and a beverage of choice, it could be as benign as tea or water, or as decadent as lavender champagne, and add a little essential oil of choice for added relaxation. Sleep has been a beast of a struggle, but this little ritual in the tub is helping. Get dressed. It doesn't have to be pretty, just get out of the clothing you slept in all night long. Talk about a game changer, this is it! When we put a little effort into our appearance, it tweaks our mental state toward the positive. If you are feeling especially low, get out your favorite outfit, put on your full face, do your hair and prance around the house like it's the Macy's Day parade! If it doesn't make you happy, it will surely lift the mood of someone in your house!
Rituals are more important than you know. Part of the reason our moods are down and our sleep is out of wack is actually because our daily rituals have been usurped and that is down right disturbing. Soooooo, if your normal rituals are out of grasp, create new ones. It sounds difficult, but it really isn't once you put your mind to it. Tea time, puzzle time, cleaning time, dancing time, exercise time, reading time, cooking time.....make them rituals that you plan for. Having something to look forward to, that you know you can depend on, brings some normalcy to life. Again, it doesn't have to be difficult or complicated, jut setting up a couple of activities that you can put on your weekly calendar gives you something to look forward to. Maybe pick one you do several times a week and some you do just one time a week, maybe even something you do daily.... bathing/shower time, yep, now you are getting it. Adapting to rituals can help ground you and your family.
We can not stress enough how important sleep is. This is our time for the body to heal and set us up for our maximum productivity, which leads to a healthy state of mind and being. I know I've been struggling with falling asleep, but once I do, I sleep hard and a bit later into the morning. I've started a new ritual, which you will recognize from a previous blog, of putting CBD oil in my belly button. I've also added Oil of Oregano, as it is a known immunity builder. Do I know this for sure, absolutely not, but the practice of doing this gives me a peace of mind that helps me fall asleep and stay asleep. I also listen to binaural beats, free on YouTube, for a variety of things things. Maybe one night is for calm and anxiety and the next night it's for deep sleep. The point is, it's a ritual that has added value to my sleep. If my mind is able to relax and shut down, it will allow me to go to sleep and do so in a deeper state. There is absolutely no tv or gaming after we leave the family room. This has been proven over and over again to interfere with falling and staying asleep.
So, bringing this back around to the affect stress has on skin. Our body is an amazing machine that takes nutrients, sleep, mood, health, and a bevy of other factors, and turns them in to chemical signals, which are sent to various parts of the body. When our gut is out of balance, from stress and diet, it releases chemicals to our brain that actually affects our skin. It can come out in the form of worsening rosacea, acne, dry skin, oily skin... you name it, our face can do it. We've talked about ways to reduce stress and we all know that the quality of food we put into our bodies is also reflected in the appearance of our skin, but rituals around taking care of our skin can actually counter balance all of the negatives and have a huge positive effect.
Washing your face every single night is a must. It removes pollution, dirt and of course makeup, allowing skin to breathe. Again, think about the affect sleeping has as a healing process for our body. Having clean skin during rest means your body gets to heal to the best of it's ability. Applying breathable products , such as eye creams, toners, serums and moisturizers, enhances the effect by feeding the skin certain nutrients, allowing for cleaner, healthier and more glowing skin. It's not rocket science, but it can feel like a lot when your energy and drive are lacking. In times like this, maybe simplify it a little bit. If you have a larger p.m. routine, say 5 products that feel like too much, drop it down one or two, saving the additional steps for a night you are feeling up to doing it all. Committing to doing something is much better than doing nothing at all.
We hope this little bit of motivational communication adds value to your time and your life. Sharing this kind of information to your friends and family can make unexpected changes that just might make the difference you all were looking for!
Be well and stay healthy!