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Author Topic: Self care in difficult times  (Read 376 times)

Jenett

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Self care in difficult times
« on: January 07, 2021, 02:25:46 pm »
(Writing up a note to my coven people, I realised one might be good here, too.)

What helps you take care of yourself when the news is complicated, and the world is scary, and it's not clear what happens next?

I've got some things that have helped me in past situations up on Seeking. Last night, doing something pragmatic and concrete (some data entry I do for a friend monthly) turned out to be the right thing (besides turning off the live news feed once we hit the repetitious stage.)

(Note we are not in the politics folder: please keep the focus on this thread on stuff that helps you or how to handle the stuff that you have to do that can't wait, not the direct causes of the current stress.)
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sevensons

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Re: Self care in difficult times
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2021, 04:31:32 pm »
(Writing up a note to my coven people, I realised one might be good here, too.)

What helps you take care of yourself when the news is complicated, and the world is scary,
I tend to be fearless in the face of scary thoughts.as soon as I see the scare mongers at work fear kills.you need a self programing I learned that long ago any time fear raises its head I just think (fearless). it then appears there was just a pathetic thing trying to scare people.
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Re: Self care in difficult times
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2021, 04:41:29 pm »
What helps you take care of yourself when the news is complicated, and the world is scary, and it's not clear what happens next?

Wish I could love this thread  ♡
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” – The Buddha
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Re: Self care in difficult times
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2021, 02:43:10 pm »


What helps you take care of yourself when the news is complicated, and the world is scary, and it's not clear what happens next?



One of the things I struggle most with is a result of overthinking.  I stress out over stuff that 'might' be or that is happening elsewhere...which creates a huge disconnect because in my personal life, things might be calm or going good.  So my brain wants to know, it wants to see what is happening, even when the stuff that is happening is so far away it doesn't effect me. 

What tends to work best to counteract this is to literally remove me from temptation.  If it's getting bad (where I'm doomscrolling or the like), then I need to not be on the computer.  Or at least be doing something (like a computer game) that takes over the computer and doesn't let me keep one screen devoted to social media. 

It almost always involves taking my mind elsewhere...escapism!  I need to be in another world, whether that is a video game, a board game, a book or a show.  I need to occupy my brain with something that doesn't let me think about the stuff that my brain is trying to obsess and be anxious about.  Which also means it needs to be what I call 'light' entertainment.  Light as in not heavy (not as in not dark...I actually really do well with dark stories/worlds).  But I need something I can turn off my thinking brain and just relax into.  Old favorites are a particularly great thing, and I pretty much always have books and shows that are just 'comfort' escapes, like wrapping up in that well-worn blanket that makes everything better.
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Aisling

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Re: Self care in difficult times
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2021, 06:25:01 pm »
I need to occupy my brain with something that doesn't let me think about the stuff that my brain is trying to obsess and be anxious about.

^This.  I'm prone to overthinking about everything*, so finding another focus is vital for me. It doesn't necessarily need to be escapist, but it does need to require attention.  Knitting is a good example.  I'm a novice knitter, so I need to pay attention even when doing simple stitches.  OTOH, crocheting doesn't work to stop the overthinking because I've been doing it so long that I don't have to give it much thought.

I've recently started listening to the get sleepy podcasts before bedtime. I find that they're interesting enough to keep my mind from wandering until I fall asleep. 

*Including positive things, which is awesome when I'm consciously trying to plan for something (all contingencies get covered).  It's not so great when I'm awake at 3AM and contemplating what kind of snacks to buy for a vacation that's six months in the future.   
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PerditaPickle

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Re: Self care in difficult times
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2021, 07:12:51 am »
I'm prone to overthinking about everything*

snip

*Including positive things

I've experienced this -- best thing I can recommend here (for both the positive and negative) is probably to grab a notebook and jot down a list of the things churning around in the thoughts, including ideas.  Hopefully it's then possible to get back to sleep.

Oh, and the Tapping Solution app which I'm always going on about has a meditation called Clear My Racing Mind, which even my sceptic husband has found helpful.  And there are various free ones about specific sets of worries, with more being added to the app over time.

I've recently started listening to the get sleepy podcasts before bedtime.

I find I need to listen to something, too -- I'll start with an audiobook for a bit, then switch to a positive affirmations MP3.  At the point I'm ready to sleep, I'll put the volume so low that I can only barely hear the actual words being said, and that seems to help with my insomnia quite a bit.  It has to be a quite specific affirmations track, though, as some of them are too law of attraction-y, or just not worded quite right for my needs.

If it's getting bad (where I'm doomscrolling or the like), then I need to not be on the computer.  Or at least be doing something (like a computer game) that takes over the computer and doesn't let me keep one screen devoted to social media.

Agreed, I have to ban myself from social media at those times in particular.

My only other current point is something I'm aware may absolutely not work for everyone and even be potentially a bit triggering, so I'm putting it behind spoiler tags.  This is because it involves exposure to other peoples' difficulties.
Spoiler:  
I've sometimes found it helpful to spend time trying to provide support to others, at difficult times.  For example when the Covid-19 situation was first becoming a major concern last March, and then about a month later I lost my precious kitty at the age of 10.
There's a website called TogetherAll, for people experiencing mental health difficulties to seek & provide peer support to one another, and it helped me to spend a bit of time replying to people's posts on there.  (Posting on my own behalf proved far less successful, as the responses I received were unhelpful -- for example I posted about workplace stress, but several people just said to quit my job which is not an option so didn't help me in my particular situation.  But YMMV.)
My husband has also found a Facebook group in a similar vein, which he likes for this.  But I prefer something I can just log into specifically when I want to and then leave it totally alone at all other times.
There's also a danger with this that it can become a bit of a compulsion, it's possible to feel obliged to spend more and more time on the site at the expense of one's own 'spoons'.  So that's another reason for the spoiler tag.
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Sophia C

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Re: Self care in difficult times
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2021, 08:21:39 am »

Thanks for these suggestions for resources. The Tapping Solution app looks good - I’ve done tapping for a while, but badly, based on terrible written instructions from a website! This looks a bit more user-friendly.

I second the idea of not-too-engaging audio to fall asleep (for people who can do auditory processing well enough). My favourites are the sleep meditations on the Insight Timer meditation app. I generally recommend the Insight Timer app - so many guided meditations that you never run out, lots of styles, and all free. It’s been a bit of a survival tool for me in 2020.
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Re: Self care in difficult times
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2021, 12:19:38 pm »
I've recently started listening to the get sleepy podcasts before bedtime.

Oh I've just checked this out and it's probably going to prove most useful for when I've finished all my audiobooks!

I thought I'd also share the affirmations MP3 I like:  https://www.empoweredsleepformula.com/lp/sleep-meditation/free-sleep-meditation (you have to put in your email address, but if I recall correctly unsubscribing afterwards was easy enough).

The Tapping Solution app looks good - I’ve done tapping for a while, but badly, based on terrible written instructions from a website! This looks a bit more user-friendly.

Oh I should imagine so, I really struggled with written instructions for this, couldn't get into a flow at all, so the scripts etc on the app really help.
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PerditaPickle

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Re: Self care in difficult times
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2021, 12:36:14 pm »


Doh!  I also meant to include a link to a blog post I found to do with turning off anxiety in your nervous system:

www.bobandbrad.com

(Bob and Brad are physical therapists, I've explored their YouTube channel a bit but this was the first time I followed a link to their website and this item is written by Emma McAdam, licensed marriage and family therapist.)

The tips in the blog post are simple methods to switch on the parasympathetic response.

Dr Cynthia Li, in her book Brave New Medicine also recommends gargling as a simple method to stimulate the vagus nerve, and this the parasympathetic system.
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” – The Buddha
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My Portrait of Perpetual Perplexity blog

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Re: Self care in difficult times
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2021, 12:55:44 pm »
Doh!  I also meant to include a link to a blog post I found to do with turning off anxiety in your nervous system:

www.bobandbrad.com

(Bob and Brad are physical therapists, I've explored their YouTube channel a bit but this was the first time I followed a link to their website and this item is written by Emma McAdam, licensed marriage and family therapist.)

The tips in the blog post are simple methods to switch on the parasympathetic response.

Dr Cynthia Li, in her book Brave New Medicine also recommends gargling as a simple method to stimulate the vagus nerve, and this the parasympathetic system.

These tips are super cool.  It's interesting, because I do some of them already, and I don't remember reading anywhere about them (other than the benefits of deep breathing, but I hadn't heard of the connection between breathing and heart rate).  For me especially, the Valsalva Manuver is both really helpful and strangely something I have been doing.  I have heart issues, one of which is that it sometimes races out of control.  And that concept of squeezing the chest to help control it is something I have done on and off, but definitely something I'll be doing more of now that I know it has actual scientific basis and benefit!
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