Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I hugged a woman I didn't know outside of Starbucks for 20 minutes today & other ways to do self care today

I literally could not pull myself out of bed this morning. I am a morning person, usually at my most vibrant during the waking hours. Today, not so much.

When I finally did manage to get my life together and shlep to a place where I could get some work done (it wasn't happening at my house) I felt the crushing reality of what had just happened to us, as a nation, as a people, as my gender, as a human. It felt like hate really did win last night.

And today's rain only seemed to rub it in.

Then, while crossing the street to walk into a nearby coffee shop, my eyes met another woman's. She was my height, strawberry blond hair tied in a top knot, coffee in hand, purple umbrella up, blue eyes red and glassy with tears. She, who was so different from me, was feeling what I was feeling. I didn't know she even existed 5 minuted before, but in that moment, a moment of perfect and palatable connection on a human level, that, even in our sadness, we were one.

From that one glance, we talked for what must have been 20 full minutes where we, two women, talked it out. We spoke about exactly how we felt, about the children surrounding us, about our sheer disappointment, and then about our resolve. We hugged twice and said farewell, she off to prepare for after school pick up, me to write this to you.

Say what you want about this small encounter, but its moments like this that reassure me. Two very different women from very different backgrounds, different cultures, maybe different believe systems; both still members of this democratic family, both upset, but upset together. The divisions some set up to block us from one another only strengthened the bonds felt between each of us. And those chords really do prove that we are stronger together.

2016 has been a rough year for the collective populous, and today seems to be the pinnacle of that collective disappointment. On days like this, it is vital that we do some serious self care. Here are 6 ways that I am using to feel better today and you also can use to care for yourself today:

1. Feel what you feel
The worst thing we can do is deny how we feel. For emotional health, it is vital that you allow yourself to go through your feelings. If you are upset, be upset. If you are angry, be angry. If you need to vent, call a friend and vent together. If you want to go for a run to clear your head or sit on you couch and call out from work, do that. But absolutely feel what you feel.

2. Pray
I am a Christian. So I pray a lot, especially on days like this. Engaging in prayer allows me to definitely do the step above, but it also offers me solace. I am rebooted, reassured, and re-emboldened to face the day when I spend time with God, who at the end of the day, is surprised by nothing and is in control of everything. I have personally lived through some horrible days, but in those days, I have found out that He is a restorer and a sustainer in times like these and that even in my darkest moments, He will come and hear and heal my heart, even and especially when words escape me. I encourage you to try Him for yourself.

3. Find something to be grateful for today
Despite how out of control today and the ensuing days may feel, believe that there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Even if its the competency of mind and activity of your limbs, that you possess the ability to feel, even if all you feel is sad, those are all things to be grateful for. You are surrounded by blessings, and once you start to count them, you will begin to feel better.

4. Realize you are not alone
The simple realization that I am not alone in how I feel is reassurance for me. It helps me feel connected to others, even if it is in disillusionment. Connection is the key. Authentic interaction is essential.You aren't walking through this disappointment alone. Remember above that I said you should get with someone and vent? It really helps to have someone with you, even if its just one person who listens to you vent for 20 minutes in the rain in front of Starbucks.

5. Unplug from social
Get off of social media, like right now. Take a day or two to let all of the gloom and doom, anger and sadness to filter through. Reading through all that negativity serves no one and will only hurt you further. Just take a break from it and give yourself time to process your own feelings.

6. Do something for someone else
Selfishness is like a clenched fist. It is one of the things that keeps us separate from one another. It draws us in from one another, making us cold and callous towards each other. Selfishness also closes us off from blessings, for how can you receive when your hands aren't open to get. On the other hand, selflessness is like an opened palm. It opens us up to one another. From open hands, we can help each other. With open hands, we embrace each other. With open ears, we can really hear what each other is saying. And our open hands are wide enough to receive what God wants to bless us with, which hopefully today, for you is peace and relief.

However you choose to spend your day, please take sometime to do some self care today. Heal. Rest. and be reassured.

I love you guys.