I truly believe – fully, wholeheartedly – that it’s often the small things which are the most powerful. Which have the biggest impact on how we feel about ourselves, and about the world.
2020 has been… quite a year. For all of us. Personally, it’s stripped me back to my core. I’ve spent the past few years cultivating a self-care toolbox which helps me stay grounded, focused and not get overwhelmed, and when lockdown hit, a huge chunk of the things I was doing to care for my wellbeing were suddenly not available to me in the same way.
It’s taken a lot of creativity over the last few months to just care for my basic needs, and to find different practices to fill up my self-care toolbox. Now life is starting to open up again, I find myself faced with a whole new set of challenges I wasn’t prepared for.
Navigating our individual preferences around what we’re comfortable doing, and what we’re not comfortable doing yet.
Feeling exhausted after meeting up with people outside the home and trying to keep a safe distance from everyone.
Feeling edgy and mildly guilty whenever I go shopping, because there might be someone waiting in line behind me just to come in and do their shopping.
Challenging the fear that’s built up around simply ‘going out’.
It’s a lot, it can be tiring, and I know I’m not alone. I haven’t spoken to a single person who isn’t going through something incredibly challenging at the moment.
I think we’re all in need of a big dose of self-kindness.
Last weekend I took myself off for a walk alone, with the intention of exploring an area I’d never been to before. It felt like quite a novelty, as I’ve been living in Wales through lockdown and hadn’t really been outside the square few miles of the house in 4 months. It was the best thing I’d done in weeks.
I found myself alone, in the middle of a beautiful wooded valley. There was no noise except the wind in the trees, a gently bubbling brook and the birds singing. I sat by a small lake and watched a Grey Wagtail catching insects above the water. I smelled the air and took in that damp, green fresh scent you get in the countryside.
It was bliss.
As I walked back, I realised how much I’d been missing this. Just being alone, in the countryside. No other people, just me and nature. I felt truly at peace. Yet I hadn’t realised that’s what I really, truly needed.
As the ‘normal world’ opens up again, I’ve been making plans around what I’m now able to do that I couldn’t do before. I’ve been asking myself “what can I now do?”…but I think if I wanted to be truly kind to myself I would instead be asking myself “what do I really need?” or even “what do I actually want to do?”
For me, the answers to those questions are very different. What I can do now that I couldn’t? Get a coffee, go shopping, travel further, have distanced meet-ups. What I actually need? Time alone – just me and the trees.
Perhaps for you, your answers to those 3 questions are very different. Maybe they’re the same – or maybe there’s some overlap.
If you don’t ask yourself though, you’ll never know. Consider this a permission slip and ask yourself…
What do I really need right now?