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  • Writer's pictureCoach Kat

SELF-CARE SAVIORS: Metallica Saved My Mondays

By Coach Kat, April 16, 2020, copyright Bronwyn Katdaré 2020

Do you ever forget to take care of yourself? I do. My priority is always my animals and 99% of the time, taking care of them fuels my soul. During these days of pandemic, I really need more that 1% of the care I am putting out to be focused on caring for myself.

What is “Self-Care?” Clinical psychologist, Agnes Wainman (“The Self-Care Activist”), explains self-care as “something that refuels us, rather than takes from us.” Self-care is very simple and, yet, often overlooked. It is a deliberate activity done in order to take care of our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. Caring for oneself lifts mood, reduces anxiety, and improves your relationship with yourself and with others. Self-care is NOT something we force ourselves to do, something we do not enjoy doing, or something we do because we are told we should do it. Self-care comes from a genuine desire to love yourself. It is vital for building resilience toward those stressors in life that you can't eliminate and is the key to living a balanced life.

Where do you start? The three golden rules are:

· Stick to the basics. Over time you will find your own rhythm and routine in identifying and implementing specific forms of self-care that work for you.

· Self-care needs to be something you choose and actively plan, rather than something that happens randomly. Schedule it and let others know you are doing it so you feel responsible for carrying out the act.

· What I emphasize to my clients is that if you don’t see something as self-care or you aren’t doing something as a means to care for yourself, it won’t work. Be consciously aware of what you do, why you do it, how it feels, and what the outcomes are.

Let’s look at ways to comfort yourself through self-care and not numb out with unhealthy habits. This list is solely meant to fuel your creative juices. I do not recommend that you try to do all of these, but I do recommend that you try something that appeals to you.

Promote a nutritious, healthy diet in the form of unprocessed foods and foods that you would recognize in their whole form. If the "Quarantine 15" is creeping up on you, or if you are not confident in your cooking skills, or you are at a loss for what to eat, or if you are stress-eating, it’s time to try a gentle but effective detox using ingredients you already have in your kitchen! The Quarantine Kitchen Limited Time Detox is on sale for $37 and runs April 27-May 1. Read the awesome details of the program and what you can expect:

Get enough sleep. Adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep can have a huge effect on how you feel both physically, emotionally, and mentally. Not getting enough sleep contributes to major health issues and chronic disease. Stress, distractions, hormones, and our sleep environment can wreak havoc on our sleep.

Exercise. In contrast to what many people think, exercise is as good for our emotional health as it is for our physical health. It increases serotonin levels, leading to improved mood and energy. In line with the self-care conditions, what’s important is that you choose a form of exercise that you like and will do!

Use relaxation exercises, breathing techniques, or practice meditation.

Do at least one relaxing activity (knitting, drawing, reading?) every day that brings you joy.

Look for opportunities to laugh!

Scratch unfinished business off your to-do list: is there a project that’s been nagging at you or something you know you’ll never do? Either complete it or remove it from your list.

Put on your boogie shoes and shake it in your living room.

Go outside to watch the clouds, smell the roses, or work in your yard/garden.

Throw a virtual party with your best friend.

Write out your thoughts. Check in with your emotions and write about anything bothering you, what you are thankful for, and something that lifts your spirits.

Goof off for a while. Take 5 minutes to play throughout the day.

Pet your pet. Play. Walk. Make up or learn new games with them.

Stretch out the kinks, especially if you are working from home and forgetting to get up every 2 hours to walk around.

Ask for help, whether it’s help around the house or help from a professional for your mental state. If you need help, ask for it.

Daily, try to implement one tiny self-care habit to love yourself.

Before you think I’m just breezing through this pandemic, taking Epsom salt baths, listening to my meditation music, and drinking my green smoothies, I’m going to lay some reality out there. My fear, anxiety, and depression are amped. I’m an at-risk health group. I’ve lost all sources of income. I have food insecurity. I’m applying for fully remote jobs daily. I have very few strong friendships and I feel lonely. So, the challenges are there but I’m moving forward through them.

Do I want to eat a pan of brownies? You betcha! Will I? I hope not. Eating moist, chocolatey, sugary brownies is not the best way for me to manage my stress or bring comfort and, in fact, stuffing down my feelings while stuffing my face would make me feel worse overall and weaken my immune system.

Instead of eating those brownies, I started burying myself in learning opportunities. On any given day, ONE of these classes or webinars would be nourishing but I have a tendency to want to learn everything…and this brings on stress and fatigue, and eventually my mind shuts down so I don’t even hear the speaker anymore. This is numbing behavior disguised as a healthy behavior.

These days we all need ways to find hope and peace amidst the (shit) storm caused by coronavirus at large, the country’s poor response to it, the media coverage, the uncertainty about what and how the virus is spread, and the availability of treatment as well as our fear, anxiety, sense of loss, loneliness, and grief. How do we do that when we may not have immediate in-person access to everything or everyone who has been a part of our strategy for coping with stress? When I reach a place where fear (present fear and fear surrounding long-ago trauma) can surface in an instant and quickly drop me into depression, overwhelm, and indecision, I redirect my attention to routines, behaviors, and mindful thoughts that boost my energy and my immune system, rather than deplete them.

My comfort self-care strategies: 1. TV:

· Home Town on HGTV – the Deep Southern accents and sweetness of this home-renovation show hold me in a lullaby AND gets my creativity swirling! (My love goes out the communities, including the one where Home Town is filmed, and land affected across the Southern states by the recent tornadoes).

· Say Yes to the Dress – New York, Atlanta, Northern Edition, and England! I’ve never seen a wedding gown that wasn’t beautiful and, yes, it’s fun to imagine myself wearing each one of them!

· Hallmark movies and Hallmark Home & Family show – always warmhearted, happy endings, and my dream acting job (seriously!).

2. Exercise: jogging on trails, riding a stationary bike, Pilates, Kundalini yoga, weights, PiYo, or Zumba. I just make sure it’s what my body and mind want that day…everyday.

3. Cleaning around the house: The leaves have been cleared from the garden and it’s time to dig up the old and plant the new. I’m taking the time to clean out closets, rearranging furniture for better flow, organizing, and Spring cleaning.

4. Enjoying the company of my pets: brushing them, teaching the “hide the shell” game, going for walks with my dog, and tossing a paper ball for my cats to chase and fetch.

How does Metallica fit into all of this? The band has launched #MetallicaMondays where they broadcast their past concerts on Facebook. You see, my first concert was Metallica and I took my nephew to his first concert, which was also Metallica. My first concert was exhilarating: it was outdoors in the sultry summer rain – bone-drenching downpours - but I was 5 rows from center stage on the floor!!! Before you ask, we bought scattered seats from a scalper in the parking lot. Things were different back then! I had the most incredible time and still have that t-shirt. Watching the broadcast concerts take me back to being there live, that frenetic energy, knowing every single lyric, guitar riff, and drum solo. (This is why I have no room in my brain for new information! Haha). When I’m watching Metallica online, I catch myself smiling a lot, singing along, playing air drums (don’t judge), and forgetting that I am watching from my living room and most likely wearing pajamas. I feel like I’m 17 again.

(All photos are property of Metallica, Live concert Copenhagen, 2009)

(Bronwyn Katdaré is a certified Nutrition, Lifestyle, and Functional Medicine Health Coach who focuses on the prevention and reversal of chronic disease through the integrated lens of whole-food plant-based nutrition, physical activity, proper sleep, stress management, a sense of community, and the feeling of joy. She specializes in chronic conditions created by inflammation, sugar cravings and weight issues, toxic relationships, confidence creation and de-bunking limiting beliefs, and healing practices designed to compassionately balance the entire being).

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