Caring Too Much: How to Practice Self-care Amidst Tragedy
You can care too much. This is a truth that I’ve learned in the midst of the devastation caused by the bushfires here in Australia. I understand my statement may seem cold and crass, but I assure you, when I say you can care too much, I’m saying it from a place of immense feeling.
Stay with me...
The Emotional Flood Caused by the Australian Bushfires
Brought on by a long drought, hundreds of bushfires have been raging in Queensland and New South Wales since mid-2019 and also began in Victoria late 2019 where they've caused absolute devastation.
In addition to almost 30 reported human deaths, roughly 20 million acres along the southeast coast have been scorched, killing billions of flora, fauna, and animals.
This loss of life would be tragic anywhere, but considering Australia is one of the most crucially biodiverse places on the earth, the tragedy feels compounded. Almost 244 species are found only in Australia and the fires have been a crushing blow to their numbers.
Seeing the pictures, watching the news and reading the stories of the people in the thick of the destruction is so overwhelming, it makes it feel impossible to function. I know I have felt even at times depressed over it all, especially seeing all the burnt and dead animals!
This guy was one of the lucky ones!
So how on earth do you process this level of devastation?
What can you do and will it really make a difference?
These are questions I asked myself, and while I didn’t arrive at any concrete answers, I did discover this: I knew had to do something, even if it was just a drop in the bucket. It started with my decision to donate money to several wildlife organizations. Still, I felt I could do more.
Perfect Supplements Australia Donates Purchase Proceeds to Red Cross
For the month of January, Perfect Supplements will be donating $1 from every purchase to Red Cross Australia. Even this will not be enough to stop the fires, but with enough drops in the bucket, you have a lot of water. And we could really use a lot of water right now.
When Your Best Doesn't Feel Good Enough
I'm not going to lie: I expected to feel a lot better after making these decisions. I felt a little better, but I'm still worried--and this constant worrying is leaving me emotionally and physically drained and distracted.
It's been difficult for me to focus on daily tasks and be there for the people who need me. I know I'm not alone in feeling this bone-deep depletion, so I wanted to speak out and share with you all some thoughts on how we might all replenish our systems through a bit of apologetic self-care.
After all, you can't drink from an empty cup, and we certainly won't have the resources to help the people and planet is we've made ourselves sick with worry.
With the aim to refuel in mind, here are my tips for practising self-care in tragedy.
3 Tips for Practicing Selfcare Amidst Tragedy
Turn off. Don't watch the news. Or check for updates on your phone. Not forever, but just for a bit. By turning off, you're not denying the problems exist, but you are giving yourself a break from them so that you can rest.
My preferred method of turning off involves going for an evening walk and then settling in for the night with a good book and a cup of herbal tea to help refocus my mind and cleanse my body. I try to avoid anything that may be too stimulating or cause anxiety (like action movies or TV shows--and screens in general) and recharge my system with a genuine connection to nature and myself.
Eat well. Nourishing your body with as many whole, clean foods as you can is an excellent way to reboot your system. Alcohol, sugary food, refined carbs, and fried foods will simply trigger inflammation throughout your body, which will make you feel worse.
Catch some Zzzzs. The importance of sleep to revitalizing your mind and body cannot be undersold. When you sleep, your body rebalances hormones and heals on a cellular level.
No pill or powder or potion can take the place of sleep. We all simply need to make it rest a priority, which means taking measures to support proper sleep.
Avoiding or limiting alcohol before bed, which disrupts your sleep cycle. (It may make you fall asleep faster, but you won't stay asleep as long.)
Avoid coffee after midday Coffee has many benefits, but helping you get to sleep is not one of them.
Sleep in a pitch-dark room. You shouldn't even be able to see your hand in front of your face. That's how dark it should be. From an evolutionary standpoint, before the advent of electricity, people slept in complete darkness. This is how our bodies are designed to sleep, and it's how we sleep best.
Sleep in a cool room. The ideal temperature for sleep is between 15c - 19c. Your body temperature naturally decreases to facilitate restful sleep and when you keep your room cool, you support this process.
Lavish yourself in lavender. Whether you use a lavender-infused lotion, add a drop of pure lavender essential oil to a cup of herbal tea, add a few drops to a bath or diffuser for some relaxing aromatherapy, lavender is one of the most powerful essential oils to help you sleep.
You know I am interested in what you have to say too. Share how you're trying to prioritize self-care right now. I know it can be hard, and it can even feel like you're being selfish, but remember that you can't take care of anyone if you don't care for yourself.