It’s definitely not been the best of starts to 2022 for me. It wasn’t anything huge, like I was not deathly ill- I was sick, but it was little things- a slight cold here, an infection there, reaction to antibiotics follows. I mentioned life changes, which affected my mood, plus winter itself- SAD has begun to sink in more. The global climate which has been iffy for a while, and has now turned worse with the war in Ukraine. As an empath, these things can start to weigh in on even the most experienced of spiritual practitioners.
So what can we do? How does one go about their daily life with what feels like a wet, weighted blanket of emotions and problems thrown on top of you? What do you do when you feel disconnected from sacredness and divinity, or even humanity?
The truth is that the only thing we can do is take care of ourselves. Self-care should be a priority for all people (and I acknowledge that self-care is not always possible), particularly during these times, and particularly to those of us sensitive to such energies.
I always try to give suggestions for self-care, but in the end, there’s no universal solution. Self-care is how you define it, and what appeals to you: reading, writing, journaling, meditation, prayer, art, dancing, singing- a hot bath, rest, a homemade meal, or a night out. Spending time in your garden, playing video games, cleaning (yes, for some people, cleaning and organizing their space is self-care- I recently painted both my space and my living room and you know? I felt so much better after.) and even retail therapy are great ideas.
You might need something more unique to you- a phone call or get together with your closest friend, a retreat somewhere, a vacation, a two night movie watching marathon. Exercise, changing your diet- these are also self-care ideas. Saying No. Maybe you just have too much on your plate, and people want to pile on more. Saying no is not wrong, and sometimes, one of the greatest forms of self-care you can do. Setting limitations and boundaries, prioritizing your needs is not selfish, but necessary to your mental health.
Disconnecting from the world a little or a lot is also a form of self-care. If social media is making your feelings worse, get off it. Step away from the news- it’s a bombardment. I remember in 2001, when the news of 9-11 was everywhere. Over the last week, I've been very focused on the news coming out of Kyiv and the rest of the Ukraine. And unlike the past, we see these events unfolding live. At some point, you had to turn it off. There’s only so much we can handle, particularly if there is nothing we can do about a situation. It’s not that you don’t care- it’s that you care too much. So turn off the news, and go meditate, or say a prayer if you need to. Light a candle. But get away from the endless images, live streams and reports.
The same can be said of social media. Maybe you don’t need to get off social media- I particularly love connecting with others- but it can be toxic. Unfollow or hide toxic pages and parties. You know the “friend” who constantly complains, and turns all bad things to be personal against them? The weather is ruining their day off? Hide ‘em for a month. See if you note how your energy changes, if you notice their absence from your feed, and when their posts return to your feed, note the difference again. Are you suddenly feeling exhausted, irritated, or irrational? Maybe it's a coincidence, maybe it’s an unintentional energy surge…
It also goes for different social media posts. If somewhere is constantly posting stories to rile you up, stories of violence, rejection, racism, homophobia, discrimination, harassment, etc. Some of these stories are important- do not misunderstand me. Giving voice to things such as racism, homophobia and discrimination show how these horrible events are still prevalent in our society is a good thing. But in a way, we need to funnel the flood that the internet provides. Nowadays, not only do we see what’s going on in our own community, we see what’s going on globally, non-stop. While I fully believe in being present in our connected, global world- there is such a thing as too much. Avoid being spread too thin.
You can only take one day at a time. You can only control the things you can control. And those things are yourself- in the form of stepping away, and taking care of yourself. Go and read my blog post on Disconnection (and how to reconnect to your spirituality.) Find a friend and talk to them. Find a priest/priestess and talk to them. Pagan priesthood can be a good thing, particularly in turbulent times. I don't think anyone would be surprised to know that being overwhelmed and stressed out is frequent theme I see with my spiritual care clients. Talking helps. You can always click here for an appointment with me.
And most importantly, let go of any guilt you have. As I told a fellow priestess today- I'm having a lot of days lately where I only have two spoons. And one of them is literally getting out of bed. We are all humans, and times are troubled. Many people are exhausted, some on multiple levels. So instead of wasting energy feeling guilty and frustrated, let it go. Accept your humanity, and your imperfection. Then go, find your favorite hot or cold drink, and take time for the form of self-care that you need.