A few days ago a friend and I went up to the waterfront near where I live to get some ice cream. Chocolate almond with rainbow sprinkles for me in case you were wondering, and to sit by the water. I had trouble focusing in on our conversation. Not because I was uninterested in what she was sharing about her life. My focus was on the water. I felt hypnotized by watching the water. The sparkle and the waves kept my attention. There was something about sitting there and watching the waves come in and out that felt so healing.
If you think about healing there are different types. Physical healing is the “process of the restoration of health from an unbalance, disease, damaged or organism” according to Wikipedia. Emotional healing is to make sound or whole, to become healthy again.
In our world there are ginormous events occurring causing distress and damage, taking a toll on people physically and emotionally. The stress and trauma on our humanness is present. It can feel like there is no opportunity to catch your breath and get a break. Yet when life feels overwhelming, to help our mental health, taking the time to nurse your wounds and tend to your inner pain is crucial.
Leon Brown said “Healing is not an overnight process: it is a daily cleansing of your pain, it is a daily healing of your life.”
Perhaps you have experienced the death of a loved one, the ending of a relationship or job, a significant disruption in your life or you are struggling to overcome a health issue. Perhaps you have a mental health issue that has a significant impact on your daily living or you experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. These kind of emotional toll requires a more intensive and supportive approach to healing, coping, dealing, and living.
The wear and tear of living in a pandemic with other crucial, significant human rights issues has an impact. If you are a living, breathing person somehow, someway, the events of the world will affect you.
In an article in Psychology Today by Steve Grover, LCSW titled “How to recover when life crushes you” Steve mentions to support your healing you: “Honor your pain, reach out for support, take a break, learn from it and move on.” In a blog post in Psych Central by Sharon Martin, LCSW she lists eight tips for healing such as “take baby steps, be patient and persistent, prioritize self-care and compassion and using a healing meditation.”
It seems too often we neglect our emotional needs and healing taking a toll and depleting our ability to cope with life. If we broke an arm we would follow instructions to help the arm heal, yet taking personal healing time is not the priority it should be. We brush our teeth at least twice a day because it is good for us. Time for our mental health and self-care should hold the same priority. Sometimes we do not recognize the level of emotional depletion we are experiencing. I know as I was sitting there absorbed in watching the water I realized that while I thought I had been proactive in my self-care I needed to do more than what I has been doing.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” Helen Keller
So let’s begin with the basics. A step at a time how to take care of yourself. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has five categories. Physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. The same can be used for coping with emotional distress. Our basic needs of rest, food, water, security and safety provide the base. Our psychological needs of loving relationships, feeling accomplished. At the top is our self-fulfillment needs of how to we become who we want to become.
Take stock of your life. Are you getting enough sleep, keeping hydrated, eating healthy, getting some exercise? If you are that is great! If not make some tweaks to get to a healthier you. Are your relationships fulling, supportive, loving and positive. If you are yes, awesome. If not, take some time to reflect and figure how to change things. Do you feel accomplished in your life? Does your work, hobbies, interests give you a sense of satisfaction? If yes, woohoo! If no figure out what actions you can take to change that. At the top is the almighty self-actualization. Does your inner self, moral compassion feel like you are at peace with yourself and happy with who you are? If not use this moment as an opportunity to work towards becoming who you want to be.
You are worthy of loving yourself, liking yourself and being true to who you are. The work it will take to get there is worth it, because you are worth it. There are great gifts we receive when we pause to nurture and restore ourselves. To focus on our healing and self-care. After I finish this and I am heading out to do some water watching. What are you going to do for you?
May your healing be with you💜