A few days ago, I came across a post on social media that hit one of my deepest nerves.
A well-known clothing company was promoting their workout gear using phrases like “excuses have run out”, “start establishing new habits” and “you now have all the time”. The photo that accompanied the post was of a fit, solitary, well-groomed female. She was exercising in her clean, fashionable living room in front of her laptop. How do I even begin to unpack everything that is wrong with this message?
Perhaps I can start by asking you to imagine a different type of post. A post that more accurately represents reality. A post that doesn’t push the worn out buttons of individuals who live in a society geared towards obsessive productivity and perfection. The photo that would accompany THIS post would be of a modest, messy home. Laundry, dishes and toys are scattered all over. There is a child snarling at the questions on his laptop because his parent, who has suddenly become his unwilling teacher, doesn’t understand the math. Another child is having a tantrum because no one has the time to play with her. The adults in the photo look weary. They need haircuts – because don’t we all? They are doing many things at once… cooking, cleaning, working, disinfecting groceries, sitting on hold with the bank for hours, checking in on loved ones and trying to fight off the guilt and shame of not doing or being enough. The message of THIS post would read: “You’re doing GREAT”.
Reality check – we are living through a global pandemic. Everything is harder. Simple tasks have become mountainous. We are anxious, sad, frustrated, scared and overwhelmed. Most of all, we are triggered. We are experiencing collective trauma and we are so very tired. We do not need extra pressure and expectation.
So what DO we need? Mindful self-care. Self-care that is kind, soft, gentle and forgiving. The kind of self-care that wraps you in a fuzzy blanket, tells you to rest and gives you a warm drink. Self-care that reminds you that whatever you’re doing is enough. Maybe tonight you will enjoy buttery popcorn for dinner and a cuddle on the couch with a movie. Perhaps tomorrow you will enjoy a beautiful walk in the fresh air and a family dinner around the table. Set aside the external and internal pressures and allow yourself to simply be intuitive in both desire and action. Seek comfort in the simple things: a good cup of coffee, a nice stretch, a cuddle with a loved one, a rest with a fur baby, a good book, some fresh air, a nap or a piece of chocolate. Focus on the things that make you smile. And when you need to cry, cry until you’ve spent all your tears.
And when you need to talk, we at Synergy are here for you. No judgments, no expectations. Just understanding, kindness, a shared reality and a desire to be a helpful part of your journey. Together, we’ll get through this.