Maxie McCoy

4 Ways to Take Care of Yourself During Challenging Times

The past few months haven’t been easy for anyone. And no one here needs me to remind them why. Our day-to-day has been turned upside down. There’s a reckoning happening. Vulnerabilities and injustices that have gone on for too long, often without the attention and wide-spread support needed in order to change them, are being exposed. Many of us are also confronting our role in that. The magnifying glass is here. It hasn’t been easy to see what we’ve seen.

Whether it’s the impossible wait times for those trying to get unemployment, the failures of small business loans, the systemic racial injustices, police brutality, the impacts of the economy on underrepresented communities…it goes on, and on, and on. It can hurt to take it all in. It’s also the same hurting that will hopefully lead to healing. To change. To an army of previously comfortable people seeing the struggles and plights of those who never had the choice to sit so comfortably to begin with, no matter how hard they worked.

Look, if we’re doing things right…we’re going to be in this discomfort for a while. It’s how we will bring upon change. Sitting in our shit here is really important. In discomfort, in heartbreak, in anger, in despair. The point isn’t to immediately escape, or to numb out, or to forget. The pain can point us. AND, on an individual level, we all have to take care of ourselves. You have to give compassion and intention to how you spend your days, when those days feel trying as hell.

Here’s a few things I’ve been leaning on…

Human Connection: There’s a lot we need to learn and process right now. Other humans can help us do that. They can also provide the social connection you need to feel less alone in whatever thoughts, feelings, or hardships you’re going through. I know we’ve spent a long time isolated, but find the low-risk ways to connect, however that looks right now for you.

Distraction Free Moments: We miss out on the enjoyment of our own lives when we’re always on our phones. Notifications come through that break your workout high, calls come through that break your creative flow, news comes through that breaks the intimate moment with your family. So find ways to boundary it. Put the phone away. Turn the notifications off. And just be present with who or whatever you’re present with.

Creating Something, Anything: There’s a lot of consumption happening right now: of news, of information, of ideas, of opinions, of lessons. There’s a time to consume but there’s also a time to create. Especially when we’re feeling like shit. Whether that means writing a chapter of the short story no one is ever going to read, or picking up those long lost markers for a doodle, or cleaning the crap out of your house. Create moments for yourself that allow you to create.

Action > Performance: I hope that I’ll be on the right side of history with my actions, and that you will be with yours – whether that means staying home instead of going to an indoor party, or educating yourself on systemic racism instead of acting like it’s not your problem. Not every “good action” needs a performance. Meaning, you don’t have to tell everyone about the “right” thing you did. You don’t have to broadcast. You don’t have to prove yourself. You just need to do it. My Dad always challenged me to give generously without having to write home about it. The most important thing right now isn’t a performance. It’s an action. Don’t show off. Show up. Those are the same actions that make us feel positive, hopeful, and valuable in the history-making times that we’re experiencing right now.

Hardship doesn’t feel good. Change doesn’t always feel good. Uncertainty rarely feels good. Confronting injustice isn’t meant to feel good. But I’m hopeful that everything we’re experiencing is calling us forward, to a brighter future, one that is more equitable and healthy for all of us. While we go through this journey, we can still take care of ourselves. I hope you do. Tweet: While we go through this journey, we can still take care of ourselves. I hope you do. @maxiemccoy

Woman on xx

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