How Self-Care Can be a Part of Your Civic Duty and WHY it's Important During a CrisisJan 12, 2021
After the riots and insurrection that occurred in the U.S. Capitol last week I wanted to share some of my thoughts about how to care for yourself during times of crisis and how important they are to practice.
I’ve started to see my self-care practices in a whole different light this week. It’s no secret that I consider Pilates, meditation, and other forms of self-care as ways to honor and care for your body, mind, and spirit. I also frequently teach how mindful practices like meditation or Pilates have huge ripple effects on the quality of our lives and relationships, especially within our families.
After last week however, I’m starting to think about my self-care routine (which I also call my STRESS-care routine) as part of my civic duty.
Yes my friend, I’m serious when I say that I have committed to my practices with even more passion and conviction as a part of my duty as a citizen in a democracy. I know that my Pilates, yoga, and mindfulness practices help me get grounded, centered, and present - which lets me pause and respond in times of distress instead of reacting during intense emotions.
It’s an essential tool that I’ve been cultivating for the past decade and amazingly, sometimes I can actually do it. A few days ago my meditation teacher reminded me of a quote from Viktor Frankl, Austrian Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, which explains this much more eloquently than I can,
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
The other evolution to my self-care routine that’s occurred this week is I’ve decided to include actions like wiring letters to my representatives and engaging in the political process more as part of my self-care routine.
I spent several hours this weekend contacting my elected officials and it helped shift me out of despair and frustration into a more positive space almost instantly (in a way that my breathwork and my meditations and my movement hadn’t fully) BUT I needed all that self-care to help get my nervous system to a place where I could actually express myself in a coherent fashion and take action.
So I’ve now decided that my self-care is part of my civic duty and my civic engagement is part of my self-care. It’s an interesting connection, and I’m looking forward to exploring this more in the future.
What do you think? Does that sound reasonable to you or like I’m super confused on the definition of self-care?
If you're wondering where to start with your self-care, here's a great list to inspire you.
Top Ways to Care for Yourself During a Crisis
- Movement & Exercise - Pilates, yoga, dancing in my living room, walking. It's important to not that aggressive cardio is not always the best choice when you're stressed. If you've been stressed over an extended period of time it's often more helpful to move mindfully and slowly. Listen to YOUR body to see what works for you.
- Deep Breathing - try box breathing (explained in this video) or slow diaphragmatic breathing to help calm your nervous system.
- Meditation - looking for a guided relaxing practice? I have a progressive muscle relaxation video on my YouTube channel that is a great place to start.
- Crying - I am a big proponent of having a good cry which experts suggest that can be incredibly beneficial and help you relive stress and elevate mood. This is good news since I'm crying regularly these days. It's important to process your emotions and move forward after crying though, or we can get stuck in negative emotions.
- Journaling - This is a great way to process feelings and relieve stress if you enjoy it. I like to journal after meditating a couple of times a week and simply explore what came up. One of my favorite stress relieving journal activities is to keep a gratitude journal. The Greater Good Science Center has a great guide that explains research backed ways to make your gratitude practice more effective.
- Connecting with Friends - Calling or even texting a friend can help to alleviate stress and get perspective, and it's more important than ever to stay connected to our loved ones during the isolation of Covid-19.
These are just a few tools that help you reduce stress, especially during a crisis. It's important to remember that these techniques work best with regular practice, instead of waiting until a crisis moment to start. The great news is that stress-relieving practices also improve other aspects of your health and well-being too.
The trick is to find things you enjoy that help you feel better. These will be the most effective in the long and short term! What other techniques do you like to use to help you stay calm and centered during a crisis? Comment below and let us know - maybe you'll inspire someone else too!
I hope that you are well and safe, and able to find nourishment and support for your body, mind, and spirit today and everyday.
Get your free Pilates Core Video Series.
Make sure that all your Pilates core work is effective and done properly so you can achieve maximum results.
Join the FREE Love Your Core Intro to Pilates Workshop - 4 video tutorials to help you connect and integrate your core.
Stay connected with news and updates!
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.