Self-preservation practices are necessary for all of us here on this Earth. Those practices grew to be essential once the COVID-19 pandemic caused stay-at-home orders for families across the nation. The stay-at-home orders were first put into place for us in March. The thought of being at home all day long and every day for the foreseeable futures filled me with an overwhelming amount of anxiety. I did not know how I was going be able to manage the new plate life had just dealt me. My plate consisted of helping my oldest son with his newly put in place virtual learning, keeping my toddler engaged and busy, working on all things associated with my blog, managing a home, and being a bomb wife to my essential worker husband.
In addition, I was scrambling around for the longest time trying to figure out how to take care of myself. Taking care of myself was necessary so that I could take care of my family. It has not been an easy road getting to the point where I am. I have had to hold myself accountable on not forgetting myself in the midst of uncertainty. After a long seven months, I can now say I have put into place some mandatory self-preservation practices. These practices have truly helped to keep anxiety at bay and reduce the snowball effect it has so often caused.
Here’s my list of those mandatory self-preservation practices to keep anxiety from creeping in.
1. Implementing Meditation & Prayer
I spend the first 15 minutes of my day and the last 30 minutes of my day meditating and praying to God! Meditation is something I try to do in silence for the first five minutes of each day. Praying is what I do for the next ten minutes of each day. I spend time doing both again before I lay down to get sleep. Meditation centers me to be present in the moment so I can feel the vibrations in my body. Through meditation, I am offered the ability to control my heart rate and breathing. My mind is clear so I can be at peace. Prayer is my time to have a conversation with God. I give the creator thanks and ask to be blessed according to his will. Both of these are daily requirements that keep me spiritually balanced.
2. Attending Therapy
I have to absolutely make sure that I put a 90-minute therapy session on my calendar every week. Sometimes life gets intense which requires a couple of sessions a week. To be honest, my therapist is my accountability partner. I have a black male therapist nowadays. I have not always had a black male therapist. (Read about my first therapy experience) He holds me to the things I say I will do and the things I don’t do. I vent to my therapist about some of everything and I do mean everything. Therapy allows me to get a number of my inner thoughts out on the table so I can prioritize them. Therapy has saved my life and gives me perspective of how there are certain things I can and cannot control.
3. Caring For My Plant Babies
I purchased my first green plant baby on my 31st birthday. I decided it was time for me to care for something other than my children, my husband, and myself. My plants hold a special place in my heart for me. They are all the things I did not nurture while I was growing in my 20’s. They are also all the things I hope to nurture in me and in the future. My plants offer me a greater sense of fulfillment as I decide how much water, fertilizer, and encouragement will help them grow tall. My plants give something back to me…time. I am encouraged to really slow down and look over them. This quiets a ton of the negative voices in my head. I’m excited to see how my plant lady journey goes!
4. Walking In The Sun
I have to get my daily dose of natural Vitamin D! You all know that exposure to sunlight is linked to an increase in a joyful mood. I try to get out of the house for at least 10 minutes to get some of God’s beams of love onto my skin! I am sure to put on sunscreen when I know I will be getting outside for a few minutes just in case I decide to stay outside longer. Even when I don’t step outside, I make sure I open the blinds in our apartment. Sunlight has been a natural source of mood improvement for me ever since I was diagnosed with PPD. Like water, I simply can’t go a day without it!
Reading has always been a way for me to preserve myself when it comes to furthering my knowledge. I have been reading ‘Stamped From The Beginning’ by Ibram X. Kendi since July. The book is a complex read, in a very informative way. I’m learning so much that was never taught in any of my history classes. It has given me those moments of relaxation for my mind. Moments where I am not concerned about what I have to do for tomorrow. During those moments, I am further researching what comes across the pages. I usually focus on reading for a minimum of 30 minutes. Most of the time, I end up reading for two hours. I love getting caught up in the story so much that I forget time exist. We all need a mental getaway in the pages of a book every single day!
6. Giving Myself Grace
I mother two energetic boys, a wife, a blogger, and myself as well. I have had to wear so many hats inside of this home while in quarantine. Due to these many hats, I may forget to do something for one of boys or both of my boys. Some nights I may not want to get all cuddly with my husband because my boys needs me or my blog still needs to be complete. Heck, I may even put off what I need to do for my blog so I can spend time with my boys and or my husband. I forget about myself sometimes to nurture my kids, cater to my husband, and or work on my purpose. Through it all I give myself grace. I know I can finish what I did not do the next day, God willingly.
With the crippling news, about black and brown communities facing both COVID-19 and racial injustice; I had to put these self-preservation practices into place. These practices were put into place to not only preserve the pieces of me but to ensure my mind doesn’t have to fight off any intrusive thoughts. I admit that sometimes I start to get those intrusive thoughts but I have different self-preservation practices in place for when those moments arise. Nonetheless, it’s been a mandatory move to preserve me. Although, I may not do these things everyday, I make sure I do them all within a weeks time. I just cannot allow my mind be overtaken with the triggers that the television blast out every single second of the day. I will ensure that my family and I maintain mental wellness through this time of voluntary quarantine.
Let us keep this discussion going! Let me know in the comments some of your essential self-preservation practices. Plus what are some of the practices you have put into place since COVID-19 reared its head on the world. I am looking forward to reading what you all share!