The news has felt particularly hard the last few weeks. Orlando. Baghdad. Turkey. Nice. Dallas, Baton Rouge, and St. Paul, to name a few.
Sometimes, the cycle of tragic current events can feel like too much, as we bounce from one terrible event to the next. For sensitive souls, bearing this news can make you feel like a raw nerve. Throw in a vicious election cycle and you've got a pretty toxic brew. These times, they are heavy.
It is important to be conscious. We can't ignore what's going on in the world. But what happens when the news simply breaks your heart? Healing self-care practices can help us make it to the other side.
Self-care isn't about being selfish or numbing out. It doesn't make you uncaring to need a break. Sometimes, for the sake of your well-being, it's necessary. Here are six self-care practices that will help you to heal in times of tragedy so that you can continue to be your wholehearted self:
When you're in a period of grief, sometimes the best thing you can do is unplug for a while. Instead of watching the constant loop of videos that depict violence, unplug for a little while. Get off of your computer, phone, and social media.
Give yourself time to absorb what you've already taken in rather than consuming endless commentary or rehashing of the event. Just take a little time away from the onslaught.
2. Try grounding.
Reconnect with yourself, the present moment, and your body. Get in touch with the earth, whether that's by practicing yoga or going for a walk in the woods.
Place your hands on the earth or against a tree, and allow the earth to absorb the intensity of what you are experiencing. Notice the feeling of your soles against the floor or the ground. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Give yourself the gift of grounding, connecting with the earth, physically and metaphorically.
3. Find solitude.
Offer yourself the space to process your feelings without additional input. Intentionally spending some time alone can be healing. Especially if you're an introvert, don't force yourself to process these tragedies out loud. Give yourself full permission to spend some quality time with yourself—try journaling, meditation, or cleaning up your space—with no one to impress or entertain.
While you shouldn't be afraid to reach out, some time to yourself can be a healing experience, especially in the face of tragedy.
4. Focus on sensations.
Taste, touch, smell, see, hear. Bring your attention to your senses and follow your intuition for what might feel really good. Maybe it's a hot shower and lighting a candle. Maybe it's eating a nourishing food and listening to your favorite music. Choose what feels pleasurable, even luxurious. Trust your wise intuition and relish being in your body.
While the news feels unbearable, punishing yourself is never the answer. Slow down and savor each of the sensations you experience, even if they are not fully pleasant. Take some time to be fully in your body, and in the moment, with empathy.
5. Surround yourself with loved ones.
When you're ready for it, reach out to people in your life who love and support you. Make a date to hang out with some of your most beloved people, even if it's just over the phone. Connecting with people who might be sharing your experience can be powerful. Take turns listening attentively, and take on the role of witness for one another.
It's not frivolous to enjoy life, even in the midst of tragedy. A potluck, afternoon tea, or a walk around the neighborhood might actually help the whole group to process emotions related to the news.
6. Set healing boundaries.
Moving forward, set good boundaries. Maybe you need a break from movies with loud explosions. Maybe you'll limit the social media channels you engage with. Maybe you need some extra alone time. Whatever boundaries you need to look after yourself, speak up and let your needs be known.
Even if a particular event is no longer in the news cycle, that doesn't mean that we're finished processing it. Be respectful of yourself and your needs. Good boundaries are a wonderful healing ally.