I know for myself that when a loved one is in the hospital (if you’re not familiar, substitute this awful occurrence with something you can relate to, such as a setback at work, your kid having trouble at school, a sudden huge drain on your finances, etc.), I have trouble remembering to do the things that enable me to be fully functioning as my regular human self. And my first impulse tends to be, “Well, that’s just not important right now.” But it’s really more important than ever to try to maintain your own wellbeing and at least some elements of your routine when you’re going through something difficult and traumatic. Remember to take care of yourself, or you are simply not going to function as well. Remind yourself of the in-flight warning to put on your oxygen mask first, before you help anyone else.
-If you are someone who forgets to eat during a crisis, the advice is simple: do eat. Even if you’re not hungry. Eat as fuel, whether you take pleasure in it or not. And if you take no pleasure in what you’re eating due to stress or time constraints, then you might as well eat healthy! Pile on the greens and immune supportive fruits and vegetables. Warm food like soup is labeled “comfort food” for a reason: it is comforting. So if your heart and inspiration are not connected to feeding yourself during a stressful time, then at least know you’re helping to keep your body healthy and functioning, so you can better support those around you.
-Secondly, try to exercise. Even five minutes of stretches and gentle movement or walking can help release tension and help you feel better. Do this as often as you can. Tension builds up during difficult times without you even realizing it! Try to be conscious of how your body is behaving and how you are treating it. Treat it kindly, and remember it is carrying you through all the difficult times, and will probably keep doing so whether you’re kind to it or not. But try, try to be kind to it.
-And lastly for now: sleep. Sleep. SLEEP. You may find yourself more exhausted than ever but also more aware than ever of how little time you even have to sleep. But you must sleep. You may feel guilty if you oversleep, or are tired when usually you wouldn’t be. Stress is exhausting. Stress can be like having a second job, as can taking care of a sick family member (or other relatable situation), in how it drains you of energy and vitality. Even if it’s only for a quick 15 minute power-nap, let yourself take a break now and then. Schedule it in if you need to.
Just remember, you are wonderful and amazing and should treat yourself as such!