Sharing my story last week left me feeling vulnerable, anxious and a bit out of control. I’ve held that story in for 13 years and like I said some of my close family and friends had no idea. To put it out in such a public way I felt like I had no control over this secret that I had held onto for so long. It was out in the open now. There were a few nights I woke up in sheer panic and like most of us know whenever your body is under stress it’s prone to illness. And oh boy did I get sick. I will spare you with the gory details. but here is what I’m doing to take care of myself right now…
- Listen to what your body needs
I like to work out and move my body in some way every day. Last week when I was feeling super anxious my regular workouts weren’t cutting it. Instead, I opted for a gentle yoga class or a walk outside with my dog. It helped to ground me and put me back into my body. This week I’m still feeling weak from being sick and even yoga or a walk feels exhausting so I’m not doing anything. I’m just resting. I’ve even taken naps and let my body sleep until whenever (which I never do). Listen to what your body needs. It knows what’s best for you.
- Make yourself cozy
After I shared my story I felt exposed and vulnerable. All I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and I did. I made sure I put on my coziest PJs, made myself a cup of tea and wrapped myself in a blanket. It helped me feel safe and secure.
- Take a hot bath or shower
I would have killedddd for a hot bath to soak in last week, but since that wasn’t an option I spent a couple of extra minutes in the shower. There is something about water that is incredibly calming and healing. So if you don’t have a bath, opt for a longer shower.
- Talk to the people you love and trust
This was a big one. I needed to lean on the people I love and trust. I needed them to support me and that’s ok. It’s ok to reach out to loved ones during difficult times. That’s what they’re there for! Sometimes it can be hard and we don’t want to burden people with our problems, but the people you love and trust will definitely want to be there for you. I made sure to hug my husband A LOT last week. Just feeling his arms around me made me feel safe, loved and comforted.
- Learn to self-soothe
A lot of us have not so great self-soothing habits. We reach for the wine, ice cream, cigarette, television, sex, anything to distract us from feeling our feelings. Feelings are not good or bad. They just are. Learning to self-soothe is so important in breaking the pattern of reaching for the thing that distracts you from your feelings. This could be listening to your favorite music, cuddling with a stuffed animal, breathing, tapping or taking your fingers and lightly touching your arms back and forth. Find the one that works best for you and keep it in your back pocket for the next time you find yourself reaching for the carton of Ben & Jerry’s.