Today I was driving around…doing errands. Just getting things done. And I had that moment of realization…I was feeling more like myself…I was feeling just a little more vibrant…I was singing along to the music playing in the car and I was actually looking forward to what the day held!
Miscarriage will leave you feeling empty. You have these soul changing experiences where you give everything you have just to survive the trauma. I shared a little bit here about my decision to end survival mode, because at some point you have to engage with your life routine and start living again. You have to start pouring back into the places that have been hollowed out by grief.
And we do that with self care. Each act that we do, not matter how seemingly insignificant, creates a small deposit in our soul. So, I thought I would share the five specific ways that I leaned into self care.
1. Take a shower
There were times when I couldn’t remember the last time that I had showered. The depression had settled in and I just didn’t have the margin to make the effort. It felt like so much work. But I forced myself to to do it, one shower at a time. After a while, I eventually felt up to reengaging in my skin care routine again. Taking a shower is probably one of the most basic self care rhythms, but felt like the hardest first step. And it took some time but it started with one shower.
2. Eat Well
There is something about grief that makes me eat all the things. I want all the comfort food possible. I didn’t have the energy to do the mental gymnastics of calculating my calories or figuring out my macros, so nutrition is generally the thing that gets chucked out the window. And also, fast food or eating out is also an easy go to during that survival process…which is fine. But in the long run, highly processed food and sugar just feed my depression and anxiety, which doesn’t help in the grief cycle. So, I slowly started changing things out for healthier options as I ran out. And I meal planned…which was so exhausting, but helpful. Small steps towards nourishing our bodies will help us even though our bodies are craving sugar and comfort food.
This was ridiculously hard for me. I was so emotionally weary and that also made me physically exhausted too. It seemed counterintuitive to go work out when what it felt like I needed was to rest on the sofa. And I cried on my way to the workout class, but I showed up. And it felt like I was starting over again, but I did it. And it wasn’t pretty. But I made myself go back. So, do whatever it takes to move your body. Go for a walk, get outside, do anything that helps release the endorphins in your body.
4. Less Social Media
Social media is tricky because I found it to be initially helpful during my grief process because I felt less isolated. It helped me feel connected in a time when seeing my friends in person was hard. But I also recognized that endless scrolling was a distraction from real healing and wasn’t actually giving my mind and soul the rest that it needed. You get to decide what that looks like for you, but especially if you are triggered by things you see on social media or if you just find yourself aimlessly taking in content, then I would step away. Very rarely, does social media nourish your soul.
5. Engage in something you love
I had no desire whatsoever to engage in an old hobby. It just felt like more work in a time when I had no margin to give to anything extracurricular. But, reconnecting with something that brings you life, is really important as you pour back into your soul. I started reading again. It was the perfect escape from reality, but also it forced my mind to focus on other things apart from grief. It has been sweet to start small and read a couple of pages and then read a couple of chapters, and then read a couple of books.
Truthfully, one shower isn’t going to solve everything. But, over time, choosing to tend to our lives and our souls will help us create the margin that we need. Until one day, you are driving around and you realize that you are feeling a little bit more like yourself.