First off, I want you all to know:
YOU ARE FANTASTIC! YOU'RE DOING AMAZING! YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Though we are physically distant, we are always connected by heart.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and now more than ever we need to be vigilant with our wellbeing. If you're anything like me, you're more apt to reach out to others and make sure they're okay rather than ask yourself how YOU are actually doing. Too often we overlook our own mental wellness because we are too busy caring for others. I ask you to put that on pause for the duration of this newsletter, at least, and stay with me.
Let's take personal inventory on how YOU are doing. Give yourself the gift of taking a moment to get still, quiet, and turn inward to do a practice self-reflection. All you need is a journal, pen, and an open mind & heart.
Set up a quiet place in your home with your journal handy (even if it's a closet or bathroom) and light a candle (though not in your closet ;)
Close your eyes.
Breathe slowly & deeply.
Notice how you are feeling. Feel all that arises. Let go of sensations after you've experienced them fully.
Stay & breathe through the discomfort if it feel safe for you to do so. (Know it won't last forever)
Slowly open your eyes.
Journal your answers to the following questions.
1. How am I feeling on a scale of 0-10? (10 being best)
2. What is my energy level on scale of 0-10?
3. Where am I holding tension in my body?
4. How am I sleeping?
5. Are my thoughts overall positive or negative?
6. Am I able to respond thoughtfully or am I living more reactionary?
7. What and when was my last healthy, full meal?
8. How has my water intake been?
9. How is my relationship with mood altering substances (alcohol, food, etc)? How many times did you turn to a substance to manage your mood over the last week?
10. Have I been offering gratitude daily?
11. Have I been keeping a journal?
12. Am I isolated and lonely?
13. How is my attitude on a scale of 0-10 (zero being miserable and 10 positively amazing.)
14. Have I been checking in regularly with positive people? If not, have you considered getting a check-in buddy?
15. Am I overall feeling more hopeful or hopeless?
Put down your pen. Review your responses. Get radically honest about your current state. How are you really? What insights have you gained after the journaling activity? Do you have enough support or do you need to reach out for help? Are you feeling good and able to offer support to another?
Just being honest frees up the mind from telling yourself a story... 'I'm fine. I really am blessed so I should be grateful. I really should have nothing to complain about. etc..." Stop the mind loop and embrace radical honestly. Rationalizing away struggle just gives it space to grow. Give yourself the gift of honoring where you actually are in full transparency with yourself. Then, take action. If you're doing amazing, reach out more to others who may not be, find ways to serve, check on your friends, family and even your perceived 'strong friends.'
If you're realizing you need extra support, honor that knowledge and reach out. Seek help quickly. Especially since we are not gathering in person and people cannot pick up on nuances of social/physical cues, it's up to you to do that humbling, yet powerful act, of reaching out & ASKING for help. Call family, friends, your minister/spiritual teacher, counselor, and if ever necessary suicide prevention hot line.
There is zero shame or stigma in the struggle; it's real and we all go through it in different degrees & at different times. The kicker here is that since we are all dealing with COVID-19 and sheltering in place ,we are more isolated than we have been in modern history. Isolation and loneliness can become chronic and result in serious health concerns if not addressed. So please, let's together practice radical honesty and utilize tools that support.
Embody will continue to offer online practices tools each week to support your physical and mental wellness during this unprecedented time. You must take personal accountability to show up, do the practices, utilize the tools and do your work.
One thing I know for sure: NO ONE IS COMING TO FIX THIS FOR US. It is us. We are the ones. Thankfully we have a beautiful, wide & deep circle of care. People who know us, love us, and offer intentions & prayers of support each and every week. Please join us virtually for now to live our mantra, "feel better, do good."
Remember, this time will pass. We are not sure when and what the world will like on the other side of this global pandemic. But it is a guarantee that after the storm subsides, the rainbow will come out and remind us that life is a struggle & that life is beautiful. The full spectrum of human emotion & experience is our opportunity each day; the question is how do you want to meet your own life? With honesty or in denial? The choice is yours. I urge you to choose YOU, choose more life, more honesty, more self-care, while also embracing the struggle, the suck, the fear, the uncertainty. Choose it all and learn to play with your life as it is, find gratitude along the way, all the while remembering the rainbow is coming.
Yours in health, happiness, and community,