As a holistic health coach and body awareness teacher, for the last 20-odd years, the focus of my coaching has been on uncovering the limiting beliefs and disruptive emotions that cause stress in the body, which in turn negatively affect our immune system and make us prone to all kinds of illnesses and diseases. And, with so many people being completely disconnected and therefore unable to listen to their bodies, the second pillar of my coaching has been on helping people reconnect to their body through movement and dance so they can learn to listen to and understand the messages their body is constantly sending them. This approach came from my own experience of living in excruciating pain for 8 years and then discovering the interconnectedness between the body, mind, and emotions.
Even though I am still using the same techniques and principles to create change, my focus has shifted to an area that, at first glance, has little to do with health and well-being, and that is self-love and self-care. However, in all my years working one-on-one with clients or in group settings, one of the things that came up again and again as an underlying factor of any kind of illness/disease, is the lack of self-love, which by the way was independent of age, gender, or race. In countless conversations I heard the same story over and over again: “No one taught me how to love myself; I don’t know who I am on a core level; I don’t even know what I need or what my desires are; I feel I am not good enough; I am not as smart as my siblings; I hate my body, look how fat I am; loving myself and taking care of me is selfish.” A direct result of thoughts like these is self-neglect.
Right now, in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic, particularly women feel they have to be strong, take care of the needs of everyone else around them (partners, parents, children) first, before they can take care of themselves. They try to balance the nearly impossible task of working (if they are still allowed), taking care of the children who will be out of school for at least a month, worrying about how long they will still have a job, how to entertain the children for so long, and trying to keep everyone in good spirits. But deep inside they are probably already exhausted, depleted of energy, fearful for their own health (what will happen to my family if I get sick?) and the health of their loved ones, and in many cases, there are financial worries on top of all of that.
Are you in survival mode?
It seems as if nearly everyone is in survival mode, some more than others, which is normal in a situation like that. However, and this is one of the greatest truths we all need to understand right now: the moment we are in survival mode, our body’s immune system is compromised or shuts off completely. This is fine for a few hours when we are faced with an actual threat to our lives (like when someone attacks us on the street), but in the current situation we are looking at days, weeks, maybe months that we may be surrounded by an invisible threat to our health.
The good thing is, every single one of us can do something about this and snap out of this survival mode and the fear, if we really want to. There is no point in joining in the doom and gloom that’s already showing up everywhere, particularly in the news and social media. If we want to stay strong and healthy so we can keep looking after our families, I am urging all of us right now, me included, to look after ourselves first. It’s like being on a plane – they always tell you to put on your oxygen mask first before helping your children or the person next to you.
Ask yourself every day: What do I need
Now, during these unprecedented times, let’s ask ourselves every single day what we personally need in order to increase our energy, lift our spirits, and in general, take care of our body, mind, emotions, and spirit. And this will differ every day, maybe even every hour. Putting ourselves first without guilt will go a long way to keep us all strong and the virus at bay.
Love yourself enough and do whatever it takes to stay healthy.
Please also read my most recent post, Take Care of Yourself First – Part 2, where I have included a video on what to do when feelings of fear, anxiety, worry or overwhelm are causing havoc in your system.