by Marcie Cuff
February. Following an emotionally exhausting political season, the month of love has finally arrived. Let’s welcome, with open arms, the sweet exchange of chocolates and handwritten notes. But, amidst it all, let’s not forget to regroup and take care of our own selves too. We all have silent battles. Perhaps you, during these past few months, have been through a cumulative trauma that has left you feeling a bit rattled. At some point, everyone goes through something that tests emotional fortitude. And so, amidst giving candy, roses, and cards to your true love, don’t forget to love yourself too. Below are steps to take any time it seems difficult to ignore the injustices all around. Keep the list close by to use anytime you’re feeling glum. It will make you and those around you have a little more hope and faith in humanity.
- Be Nice to Yourself
Take care. Embrace drinking chamomile tea or strawberry milkshakes, but also eat real food—food that is good for you. Watch inspirational episodes of Wonder Woman or Batman. Leave affirming messages on your own phone. Write sappy slogans to yourself and hide them inside cabinet doors. Better yet, post them proudly on your fridge—“I really am amazing!”
Take a break. Go outside. Reconnect with the natural world. Walk to a nearby playground, or head deep into the woods. Search for animal tracks, skip stones on an icy pond, go cloud watching, or start a winter journal. Learn to meditate. Sit still. Breathe.
- Connect with Others
Seek support. Reach out and strengthen connections with your family and community. Join forces. Surround yourself with inspiring people. Hug and be hugged.
- Do Something Helpful and Good
Be nice to someone else. Engage in small acts of kindness. No kind act is too small or too big—give a free ukulele lesson, hand over the best slice of pie, leave a big tip, write an apology letter. Simple, everyday gifts can provide silent strength to all parties. Be thoughtful and purposeful with your giving.
- Create a Vision
Darkness can provide a great backdrop for keen insight. Think constructively, and your brain will soon fill with electrifying ideas. Keep a positive tone and listen to your inner voice. Set short, obtainable goals to pick yourself up and make a personal plan for a day, a month, or a year. Visualize where you’re heading. Get excited about the future.
- Take Action
Roll up your sleeves, step out of your comfort zone, and do something good. Improve your world with your own actions. Just a tiny input from you is enough to get things rolling. Find your voice and use it. Pick a cause and get involved. Write a letter to someone important. Create something new and useful. Now is the time. Do what you can.
- Be Patient
Allow yourself to heal. Remember to start simple. Remember that life is a journey.
Train your mind to be grateful. Appreciate your talents, your uniqueness, and your brilliance. Acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of your surroundings and the people around you. And love it all, with all its imperfections.
Marcie Cuff lives in Irvington and is the author of the book “This Book Was a Tree”(Perigee Books). For more hands-on projects like this, look for her book at any bookstore, or visit her blog Mossy at http://mossymossy.com.