For me looking after myself means needing to disengage from worldly matters as much as is possible, taking time out to just breathe, to feel the earth, be in nature, walk and pray on grass to feel the earth, to play with sand, soil and plant things – watch them grow.
Touch and hug trees – yes that’s right! Leaning on a solid tree for support has helped me feel grounded especially with a troublesome back. If I feel particularly overwhelmed I like to put my head on the floor and talk to Allah for as long as I need or feels right.
Sometimes after lots of sensory overwhelm I need to stand in the shower and feel the healing effects of water wash over me and turn off false lights and using candles or salt lamps really helps.
I like using essential oils – they are immediately sensory and effective. I like to ensure I am having the right nutrients and supplements to support my system during times of stress.
I find routine – prayers, sleep and eating patterns to be important every day not just in stressful times – ensuring these are in place mean that even when things get hard some solid structure and foundation and regularity is there despite what may feel like chaos internally or externally. This is essential for grounding.
I love being in the company/presence of a select few dear ones, not as much talking as ‘being’. I also question the need to be a particular way, systems, expectations from society, culture etc and even feelings quite a lot so on one level it can be good – I may challenge a particular negative feeling or assumption but on another it’s too much noise and thinking in my mind as I can get deeply philosophical, academic and psychoanalytic about it so it takes some work!
The best thing is the basics, being in nature, movement for me – that’s a few stretches, yoga, walking in the park and cycling when I can, being with loved ones, prayer, nutrition and working on healing whatever that might be in that moment for me.
Reminding myself that this too shall pass just like every other difficult moment, riding the waves out now knowing based on experience it will pass however stormy and learning to trust my own experience and reminding myself to value the small steps and how far I have come are really important.