Article and image contributed by Rosemary Alpert.
The calendar has turned,
a new year’s begun,
here we go 2021!
Stepping into this new year with hope and resilience, slow and steady movement forward, one day at a time. No resolutions, rather, deciding to keep it simple, focusing on daily self-care and compassion.
At least three times a week, I call a dear friend who turned 99 years old last October. She lives in an assisted living facility in Connecticut. Our conversations are brief and meaningful, for both of us. Almost guaranteed, with each call, especially during challenging days of separation and isolation, my friend, Sylvia, shares two pieces of advice: “Put your oxygen mask on first,” and, “You’re dealt a hand, play it out the best you can.” Daily wisdom from an almost centenarian.
The simplicity of this advice resonates within. “Put your oxygen mask on first,” does not mean being selfish, quite the opposite. Rather, it is true self-care. Being full of care for ourselves is vitally important, especially these days. What works for you?
Keep it Simple. Besides making sure to get enough rest, drink plenty of water, wash our hands, and wear our masks, here are a few keep-it-simple self-care thoughts: Let’s notice our breath; be gentle with ourselves; learn our limits; be our best advocate; ask and reach out; express daily gratitude; get outside; however it may be, take super-duper care! Then, we can show up for one another, with more presence and awareness.
Each day, we are gifted 86,400 seconds, a fresh start. Over these many months, when my mind started to turn into a hamster wheel, spinning out of control, I would stop whatever I was doing. Pause, focus, take a few breaths, remember what my friend Sylvia would say, “You’re dealt a hand, play it out the best you can.” One of my daily practices has become starting fresh with each new day. As with any practice, it is an ongoing learning experience. Some days, it’s not so easy. What this advice has offered is a way to appreciate, notice, and celebrate the littlest of moments within the progress of each day. Our accumulation of seconds count!
While working at the COVID-19 testing site, I asked a few coworkers how they keep it simple with self-care. Here are some of their responses…
- Relax in bed, all propped up with a bunch of pillows, surround myself with snacks and watch Hallmark movies
- Take a long hot bath
- Search for painted rocks on hikes with my son
- Call a friend
- Long walks by the river
- Learned how to quilt
- Walk my dog
- Quiet meditation
- Spend time reading and journaling
- Go for hikes
- Spend time gardening, getting my hands in the dirt, connecting to the earth
- Listen to calming music
- Make dinner with my partner, then watch a funny movie.
Simple pleasures nourish the soul, keep us in the present, and keep us moving forward. Remember my dear friend Sylvia’s advice: Don’t forget to “put your oxygen mask on first,” and each day, do the best you can with your 86,400 seconds.
Happy New Year!!!