For the past few days, I have been struggling. Nothing serious. And I know that I am not alone.
I haven't had a hug for weeks now. Initially, because I had what was probably a cold and was keeping my distance from those I was staying with, and now because I am living alone.
It's fortunate that I am an introvert and happy with my own company. But I still need human interaction. I do have chats on the phone with friends and family, and Zoom calls with people all over the world, but none of that is the same as being physically present with other people.
The theme of self-care has come up more and more often in conversations recently. We all respond to change in different ways. For some, like me, seems we are getting past the initial novelty of 'staying at home', the newness of it, the practicalities of how it works, and now we are beginning to wobble, feel overwhelmed, emotional, confused and isolated. We are adjusting to this different way of living, and the uncertainly of when things will change. (Personally, I don't believe they will ever go 'back to normal' - instead, there will find a 'new normal').
So, right now self-care has to be high on our agenda. We need to take good care of ourselves, not because we are selfish but because we care about everyone. Yes, we need to be there for others in this challenging time, but in order to sustain that we need to ensure we are getting what we need for our own well-being.
For me it's about eating well, getting enough sleep, taking time for a relaxing bath, giving myself an evening off and watching a film, taking time to write my Morning Pages and spending time outdoors every day. These are all pretty easy, they rely on me choosing to do them for myself, and mostly I do.
What I have come to realise though, in the past few days, is that I also need to reach out to others and ask for what I need. And that is hard. I am used to being strong, and independent. Asking for help feels really hard. Admitting that I am struggling makes me feel vulnerable and fearful of rejection or judgement. Yet, in the work that I do what motivates me, is giving people the gift of time and attention. Allowing them to know that they are seen and heard, and that they matter.
Given my realisation about what it is I give to others, and how this reflects what I need for myself, I'm curious to hear what is it that you give, but have not yet recognised the importance of finding, and asking for, the same support yourself?