Facing the discomfort of 2017 with Self-care and Resilience


Here we are in the third week and of January and under “normal” circumstances, this would be the time when I would put on my self-care hat and throw out the question, “Hey, how are your 2017 resolutions coming along? Do you need a little pep talk? Some suggestions for tweaking your resolutions to turn them into something that you could actually feel good about and experience success with?”

I tried writing the "Don't give up on your 2017 resolutions just yet!" post a few times, a few different way. But none of them felt quite right. Because asking people about their new year’s resolutions while so many  of us are focused on much “bigger” issues right now felt trite,  maybe even offensive.

Our country presently is in a bit of a cluster-**** (excuse my French) and I don't know anyone who is unscathed.  Whether you are outraged, frustrated, scared, devastated, annoyed, or possibly even validated, I think it is safe to say that we all feel pretty darn uncomfortable.

For me, the most devastating aspect in all of this is the resurgent of hate. Hate has gone viral. It is the new normal. And it is not just hate between known adversaries. It is hate between friends, couples, neighbors, classmates, co-workers—hate where there was once love, acceptance, and understanding.

Maybe you recently returned from the women’s march in DC or maybe you are an overt or convert supporter of the new administration, but, my friends, there is a thread that unites us all. Something each one of us desperately needs right now. And that something—you guessed it—is self-care.

I must be honest with you. My body hurts. My neck is impinged and sometimes I have numbness in my hand when I wake up. I know this stems from spending too much time working on my laptop ( I just ordered a stand-up desk converter=self-care) but there is more underneath my bodily pain and discomfort.

For as long as I can remember, I have operated like a human barometric pressure reader, picking up the feelings of those around me  and storing them in my body.

Too much tension in the house, I would get sick.

Too much tension in society, I can hardly move my neck.

I don’t claim to have the answer as to how we are going to get unstuck from our predicament. But I do know that the hated I feel around me is something I have never experienced in my life. And it is overwhelmingly sad. 

As I take note of how people around me are fairing, whether it is my friends, family members, members of the Twin Cities Writing Studio, or my high school creative writing students I teach at the Minneapolis Jewish Community Center, where the building was evacuated and evening classes were were cancelled (mine included) last Wednesday because of a bomb threat, I know that I am not the only one experiencing pain in one form or another.

So what do we do about this pain? What do we do with these negative emotions that have so many of us reeling with fear and anger? How 

Now, more than ever, we need extra large doses of self-care.

So, while most of us feel that we have bigger fish to fry than worrying about (or even trying to remember) our 2017 New Year’s resolutions, this would be a good time to think about  how you are going to take care of yourself this year, given that the barometric pressure is  highly elevated in our country, and within many of us right now.

This week, the third week of my "Seventeen Weeks of Sustainable Self-Care "series,  will  focus on resilience, which could not be more appropriate for what we need right now. Individually and collectively, we need to find a way to work through this time period and move forward without causing any more unnecessary pain to ourselves or each other.  

As you move through this week, remind yourself of everything you have been through in your life to get to this point—all of your difficulties and failures, times of outrage and defeat, as well as your victories and successes. Trust yourself that you have the power to keep moving forward, and show compassion toward yourself and your neighbor who, like you, is fighting her own fight (the details and origins of which you may not be able to understand). 

Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving; we get stronger and more resilient.
— Dr. Steve Maraboli