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From Aria Strategies: Managing this Experience

Updated: May 12, 2020

Shared from member Aria Camaione-Lind, Aria Strategies

How are you? How are you handling all of this? How are you taking great care of yourself?  

As we continue to adjust to our new normal in the midst of a global pandemic, our team has reflected more and more on what it means to engage in meaningful self-care and process through ongoing trauma. Over the past few weeks, it has become ever clearer to us that the recipe includes some combination of these strategies: 

  • Engage in meaningful self-care. 

  • Focus on the positive. 

  • Show up for your community. 

  • Reach out for support. 

Engage in meaningful self-care

Meaningful self-care is a protective factor in times of crisis and as a tool for recovering from trauma. Our team divides self-care into 2 categories: Long-term and Temporary.

Temporary self-care includes a trip to the spa, a manicure, a bubble bath or a chocolate bar. It’s fun, makes us feel better in the moment but doesn’t contribute to our long-term well-being.

We count long-term self-care as the self-care that promotes consistent well-being, including great nutrition, sleep hygiene, exercise and social emotional support. We each approach these fundamentals in different ways but when we check in with each other about how we are doing, these are the first things we ask each other about. 

Focus on the positive

This situation is BANANAS!!! No one alive now has memory of any pandemic of this scale. It has totally upended our ways of being with each other, and we are figuring this out on a day-to-day basis. Our team has a regular habit of gratitude. Every week we check in on a big success from the week before, and we celebrate it together. It has been important for us to double down on celebration lately. Any win is a big win, and big wins feel astronomical to us these days. We center these wins- these positives- and celebrate them until the next one comes along. We also reflect on and celebrate what feel like small wins- our families are healthy, we have great jobs that allow us to work remotely, the grocery store had BOTH eggs and toilet paper, we got a text message from our college best friend. Centering these positive experiences help us keep our heads above water and show up for our community. 

Show up for your community

Part of centering the positive allows us to get out of our own heads. It allows us to engage in radical empathy and explore what this might be like for the folks around us. Each of us is doing this in different ways, but at the end of the day it keeps us on track to center needs greater than our own. Whether it is making sure our neighbors have paper towels, sending a birthday card to a friend’s child, driving a loved one to a doctor appointment or donating money to one of our local foodbanks, these opportunities allow us to stand- 6 feet apart- with our neighbors, loved ones and colleagues. 

Reach out for support

Some moments, this is all too much. The uncertainty, the balancing of work obligations and the needs of our kids, caring for sick loved ones, the disruption to our regular routines, worrying about paying our bills and how long this might last- it just gets to be…too much. Our team takes two approaches to this.

  • The first is proactive- how do I get in front of this? This approach goes back to centering the positive. We identify the people and stuff that bring us joy, and we get as much of that in our lives as we can to fill our buckets.

  • The second approach is responsive- I am not doing great, who can I lean on? This approach requires that when we focus on the positive, we use it to identify our support systems.

Once we have one, then it is easy to tap folks in to support us in meaningful ways as we work to put ourselves back together. 

We don’t know how long this is going to last, how hard our communities will be hit, what it’ll do long-term to our economy, families, ways of being- but what we know for sure is it is imperative we take great care of ourselves and each other. So, from our team to yours, please take great care. 

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