The morning after Election Day, I awoke to a deluge of information on my smartphone. Most of it caused frustration and stress; some of it pricked deep grief; and the rare gem offered wisdom and comfort for which my aching heart yearned. One of the most helpful pieces was written by a wise friend. In her piece entitled “Post-Election Soul Care,” Tara Owens advised, “The practices of soul care matter deeply after a long, harrowing, and divisive campaign cycle.”
Tara is so right, and I knew it. Every day I try to be attentive and practice some form of soul care. Beauty, creativity, and community are just a few forms care can take. However, there are some days that require intensive soul care. After reading Tara’s words, I disconnected from social media and the news and began to make conscious choices to care for myself. I knew there was no way that I could rush into my day or through my day without tending to my heart and soul.
First, I adjusted the rhythm of my day. Rushing about would not serve me well when my nerves already felt frayed. I enjoyed a second cup of coffee, turned on some music, leaned back in my chair, and closed my eyes. I resisted the urge to get busy, and I let the words of a soothing song wash over me. When I finally readied myself for the workday, I drove to my favorite coffee shop to get a Chai tea for me and a hot cocoa for a friend. Sometimes soul care is offering kindness to myself; sometimes it’s offering kindness to another who is hurting. Sometimes it’s both.
I knew there was no way that I could rush into my day or through my day without tending to my heart and soul.
After work I came home and slipped into my favorite yoga pants and sweatshirt, I grabbed the softest blanket I could find, and I laid down for a nap. Understandably, I hadn’t slept well the night before, and my body was crying out for rest. I listened. When I woke, my teenage son and I went to our favorite fast food restaurant for dinner and one-on-one time. Hearing about his day reminded me to be present, to be grateful, and to be hopeful. Afterward, we returned home, and I chose to spend my evening taking a hot bath instead of folding laundry. Finally, my son and I met in the den to watch our favorite reality television show together.
It was a good day, which is a sentence I didn’t think I’d be able to utter. However, practicing intensive soul care rescued me on a day that could have been dreadful. Instead, it invited me into the present, urged me to release the past, and kept me from worrying about the future. Soul care provided nourishment when I was needy, solace when I was scared, and goodness when I was grieving. Tomorrow will be a new day, and it will certainly require soul care … maybe even another day of intensive care. I believe honoring that need is important. No, more than that, it is essential.