I had a minor anxiety attack yesterday. No, not a panic attack, and no, not my first one. High-functioning anxiety is a lifestyle in my home. But after a little cry, and a few breaths, I was able to drive the five minutes back home and sanitize the groceries before getting them into the fridge.
At a time of heightened social awareness, thanks to the Schrodinger’s virus everyone is breathing out around us, our mental health needs a little more care. How do we navigate the inner voices when information and patience (among a million other things) are currently in short supply?
This is going to sound so typical, but one of my coping methods after the day was done, was a long hot soak with a glittery bath bomb and a peach cocktail. There’s a fine point here where self-care actually takes place. It’s not in the drink, or the bath, or the luxury fizz. Not alone anyway.
Self-care happens in the way we relax by knowing we deserve to make time and space for ourselves; to take our eyes off the bombarding news coverage; to have a moment away from the energy-draining, crying, but absolutely adorable light-of-your-life baby who finally went to sleep but could wake up in a fit at any moment; to not think and overthink and plan and stress about literally everything right now and just be.
Conscious breathing exercises, deeply inhaling the soothing fragrances, watching the hypnotic bubbles bursting off the bath bomb and swirling around the tub, tasting the crisp cocktail in your mouth as the smooth glass hits your lips, and letting the hot water melt the tension from your muscles are wonderful ways to center yourself. Feeling everything, using all the senses, and letting your mind ease without interruption are valuable to grounding and reconnecting to yourself.
I go into my bath with no expectations. No problem-solving overthinking to manage, no time limit for getting out, no nothing but me, being. For as long as I need. Or until the baby wakes, or the second round of water gets cold, or I finally feel tired enough to sleep. Whatever. Nothing matters but me feeling all the things I need to feel, resting in sensuous bliss for those precious and necessary moments.
And when I come out, my mind is usually thinking clearly, and peacefully ready to take on the challenges of the next day.