My Favorite Small Habits
Things that have helped me deal with my grief, trauma and anxiety during these unprecedented times.
I recently re-read the piece I wrote a week after my dad passed away. I’m glad that I wrote that essay because I feel like I have grown a lot in these past few months, and it is a direct result of the small things I’ve done every day. I still have a long way to go, and there are still days where I feel like absolute crap, but I would like to elaborate on some of the small things I do everyday that have kept me grounded and motivated. I would also like to say that I could not have done any of these things without the support of my friends, family and grief counselor.
Sipping my coffee
I don’t know if this has actually helped me, but this is the one thing I’ve done every morning for the past 6 months and it gives me some semblance of normalcy. I like to sip on my coffee and write in my journal.
Writing in my journal
Every morning, the first thing I do is write a small journal entry for the day before. I allow myself to write anything from a random sentence to paragraphs depending on how I’m feeling. For me, it feels like a good way to get out all the thoughts I’ve had and start the day on a fresh page.
Drinking lots of water
I try to drink 64oz of water every day and it keeps me feeling good throughout the day. I don’t have headaches and find myself having more energy and less cramps when I workout!
Strangely, driving is a very relaxing thing for me. Especially with the leaves changing color, it is a very meditative task. I love driving alone, especially in my dad’s car. I get to focus on the road and observe my surroundings, which is a surprisingly mindful task!
Reading a few pages every day of a book has been one of the most motivating things in my life at the moment. It reminds me that there is a world out there that is not just depressing news cycles.
Practicing grounding exercises
There are still moments when I have intrusive thoughts and flashbacks from the hike and I like to practice the grounding exercises I’ve learned in the past few months. One of my favorites is finding three things that are my favorite color — yellow. This is a really great grounding exercise no matter what you are dealing with. It brings me back to the present moment and stops me from spiraling into a series of negative thoughts.
Letting those tears flow
Grief does not run on any sort of schedule, and I’ve learned to just let it happen. There are moments when I am so overcome with grief that I just let myself feel it — usually this involves me letting myself cry. This is something that has actually taken me a long time to learn how to do, because I am very good at suppressing my emotions. Crying feels so good sometimes!
I’ve realized that meditation doesn’t need to be anything fancy — just allowing myself to take deep breaths before I go to sleep is usually sufficient. I practice focusing on my breath and nothing else. Meditation is one of the only things other than exercise that makes me extremely self aware and I can genuinely listen to my body.
Self care can come in so many shapes and forms, and I’ve really loved learning about all of them. This year has flipped my world upside down, but I’m starting to believe that if I can get through this year — I can probably get through anything. 2020 has been hard, and I think we should be nice to ourselves, and practicing daily self care habits can be a great way to do that!