In a Time of Crisis, Self Care is Not a Luxury, It’s a Must

Often in life, things do not turn out as we planned.  A loved one dies way too soon, a job is lost, we get divorced.  These are things that no one plans on, no one wants, but unfortunately, they happen more often than we are aware.

What happens when our lives get turned upside down in this way?  Actually, “turned upside down” does not do it justice—it is like we are suddenly living a completely different life; one that we certainly didn’t anticipate or ask for.  And we are left to figure it out.

How in the world do you cope, in the seeming blink of an eye being faced with a new and scary reality?  The biggest thing I want to stress—don’t dismiss yourself.

In a time of crisis, a common reaction is to throw all effort into dealing with the situation, whatever it might be, giving no thought to your own well-being.  But when life has taken a totally unknown turn, taking care of ourselves is not a luxury, it’s a must.

The first place to start?  The food you are ingesting, or not ingesting.

I have seen with myself, and many others, two common reactions—to either stop eating, or to eat mindlessly without care.

Either scenario, I believe, represents something deeper—a silent non-acceptance of ourselves; a nod to the voice in our head that says we aren’t worth it.

When my mom died very suddenly and unexpectedly fifteen years ago, I was devastated, and I was also quite overweight.  In the wake of this sudden life changing experience, instead of nurturing and taking care of myself, I launched into yet another weight loss campaign, after being so mortified going through the wake and funeral feeling like I had “failed” as a daughter because of my weight, wondering the whole time what old friends must think of me.

The result?  I didn’t grieve properly, letting this complete not acceptance of myself cloud the whole experience.  Since I was feeding my body very little, all of it processed diet “food”, I wasn’t getting the nutrients I needed.  On top of that I was drinking a lot of coffee and smoking cigarettes to stave off the hunger.  This all took a toll on my nervous system resulting in panic attacks, making the already bad situation 100 times worse.

With any life changing event, whether it be a death or divorce, being human we often think, this happened because something is wrong with me.

Please let me tell you, and this is not some airy-fairy, woo-woo sentiment, there is nothing wrong with you.

Circumstances are simply circumstances–what matters is our reaction to the circumstances.  And no matter how badFruit things might seem, the answer is never to consciously or unconsciously punish yourself for it.

So, if you are in the middle of a life changing event, please realize that it is the time to nurture yourself.  Do what it takes to nourish your body with whole nutrient dense food.  And if you feel like eating something that perhaps falls outside of that category, fully experience eating and enjoying it, and then let it go.

You deserve to be taken care of, and the only person you can really count on to do that, is you.

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