This has been a year of immense stress; but in the fire that is 2020, we have all been forced to grow. Whether that was learning how to be alone during quarantine or analyzing and unlearning the racism that exists within and around us, this has been a time of clarity. Maybe we haven’t liked what we’ve seen, but this particular vantage point is necessary for the long overdue growth that’s finally occurring. We must get comfortable being uncomfortable.
For myself, part of this growth involves releasing what no longer serves me; identifying and prioritizing rituals that fortify and prepare me for the challenges ahead. In times like these we cannot quit; in the words of the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, “Rest if you must but don’t you quit.”
Even more than rest, we need to feed our souls, or however you reference your deeper being. Here’s how I’ve been doing that:
Engage the senses.
Like Annie Lamott said, “My mind is like a bad neighborhood, I try not to go there alone.” Funny, but so true. Coming into your body can remind you that you are not your mind; you are so much more. Breathe in aromatherapy using your favorite essential oil, massage your face for a few minutes, or take a candlelit bath to help pull out of the mind and tune into the presence of your physical body.
Trust my body.
Wellness culture tells us that a ritual revolves around a product—it doesn’t need to. Your body is just fine as long as you give it the nutrients and peace it needs. During quarantine I really cut back on supplements and self-care products and instead focused on whole, nutrient-dense foods and using 1 or 2 skincare products a week that bring me joy (and feed my skin). Not only did my favorite product, Empower Powder 2-in-1, last me 6 months instead of 1 month, my skin and body feel better than when I used products daily. Less is more.
Breathe in, breathe out. The simplest of therapies.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
By John Greenleaf Whittier
Written by Dina Chouramanis