Self-Care for Challenging Times
There is a
wiser way to live.
“The most important question a person can ask is, “Is the Universe a friendly place?” – Albert Einstein
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
At any given moment, you must decide what you want to focus on in your life – your suffering or your well-being. Whichever gets your focus will increase. – Perennial Wisdom
How to Participate in This Program
Step 1: Listen to or read (Week 1 pdf) this week’s post
Step 2: Review the self-care strategies below
Step 3: Begin putting those self-care strategies into practice
The focus of “Week 1” is to set the foundation – when your world seems to be an especially challenging and maybe unsafe place, it is very important to balance out all that stress with some focused self-care. Sometimes there is little you can do about what seems “wrong” or “unwanted” in your world, but you can always do something to take care of yourself and to increase your sense of well-being. And that shift in focus is the remedy for suffering.
For this coming week, let’s focus on the basics – which is always a good place to start.
Week 1 Self-Care Strategies | Breathe, Focus, Be Grateful
- Breathe | Breathing is a brilliantly simple wellness practice. It is essential to your life and yet so often over-looked. A daily breathing practice is a perfect place to start your Holistic Living journey. Set a practice time and frequency that feels good to you. Then simply sit in a quiet place and focus on your natural breathing. Keep in mind that your breathing is an exchange between you and the universe. You are accepting what you require from outside of yourself and are releasing what you don’t need back into the universe. During this practice you are existing in a safe and nurturing world. In time, see if you can imagine that your inhale and exhale is happening in all the cells in your body – with your cells accepting what they need and letting go of what they don’t need.
- Assess what is in your control | Block off some time in this coming week to sit down quietly, with pen and paper, and write down the stressors in your life.
- Once you have a list, go back and identify which items on your list are “totally within my control”, “somewhat within my control”, “totally out of my control”.
- Again, go back over the list and for those items that are “totally out of my control”, make it a point to say (out loud if it helps) something along the lines of “I recognize that this is not in my control and I let go of the need to do anything about it.”
- For those items that are “somewhat within my control”, be clearer about what part of that stressor actually is in your control and how you might want to respond to it.
- For those items that are “totally in my control”, dedicate more time to identifying potential action items for yourself. If this item is totally in your control, what is a healthy and productive way to respond to it?
- Begin a gratitude practice | What you don’t want in life sets off alarm bells and whistles. It’s often hard to hear anything over all that noise. And yet each day contains many moments that you do want and enjoy. Begin a practice of identifying what you are grateful for. It can be helpful to write this down. It’s a beautiful way to start and end each day. Combining it with the breathing practice works well.
This is the first weekly offering of the “Holistic Living: Self-care for Challenging Times” series, based on the Holistic Living Challenge Program offered at Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital.