Welcome back to 2023’s self-care intention journey! This is designed to be self-led, you create your own intentions, and any thought or action taken toward that action is beneficial! Self care however is never very effective when only focusing on “the self” though, we need to expand our horizons. This month we are caring for the Earth as we focus on Reducing.
Spring Cleaning- Reduce your Stuff
Does anyone else feel moments of panic or an intense need to throw away/recycle/give away/burn significant amounts of stuff that is in your living space? Or is that just me?! Some spaces feel so chaotic and cluttered it feels impossible to find anything, much less be productive. So channel the old adage “Clean space, clear mind” and make yourself some space!
Select one area in your space that is stressing you out. If you easily get overwhelmed then the smaller the space the better (maybe don’t start with organizing the whole kitchen but focus on one drawer!)
Notice any feelings that arise as you de-clutter. There might be a lot of relief, or nostalgia. There might also be some sadness or anxiety. Don’t judge your feelings, just acknowledge them. Thank the item for what it has done for you or how it has made you feel, and then say goodbye.
Mental Spring Cleaning- Reduce your Mental Stuff
Are you feeling anxious about a conversation you need to have? Angry with someone, hurt, confused? How much energy is this taking from you? Clear some mind clutter by addressing these issues head on!
Here is a little therapy secret- closure does not have to come from other people. We often get stuck in this trap that we need one more conversation, an apology, an acknowledgment of wrongdoing etc. from someone else in order to heal. However, there is a lot we cannot control in that situation. You may not get the apology or acknowledgment you crave. If the other person is not in a healing space this could be damaging to both of you. So, ask yourself, are you looking for something from them or are you looking to say your truth?
I’m a big fan of the unsent letter. Write a letter to this person, say your truth, and then do not send it. The goal is not a response, it’s your own catharsis. Write down every angry, uncomfortable, vulnerable, desperate statement, use emotion words to correctly acknowledge how your feel. This isn’t being graded, you are not a bad person for having these thoughts. Release your words and your honesty to bring about your own healing.
Earth Day- Reduce your Carbon Footprint
Happy Earth Day! What is one thing you can do to help the environment? It can be small; it can be large. Do you switch to LED lightbulbs? Do you make an effort to stop using single serving plastics? Eat less meat? Get your company to start making more sustainable policies? Maybe this is the year I finally learn how to compost! But do something.
Some of us want to help the earth, and a small few of us are warriors fighting for the Earth’s survival (which is our survival too I might add). So, to the warriors, thank you, and take care of yourself. Trauma symptoms for those working within the scientific communities studying climate change are very common. It’s easy to get burnt out, defeated, depressed etc. We need you, and we need you to take care of yourself. Keep fighting the good fight.
Resource- Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky with Connie Burk
Mother Earth- Reduce Trauma Inflicted upon Mother Earth
I recently learned the concept that Earth is a living, breathing organism, and that when we hurt the earth we are causing trauma to something that is alive, that feels pain. This truth is something many indigenous cultures have known for eons, but my white privilege was pretty shocked by this. “Huh, so the earth is not some static rock just made for me to take things from, but an entity that I can try to live in harmony with?” What can this reciprocal relationship look like?
Placing the Earth in a Mother role also helps that mindset shift. Mothers should be nurturing and provide. However, we all know moms are not endless giving machines (no good comes from depleted Mom’s, ever hear of Mom Rage?) Moms need some love and care and space and time in order to fuel back up, to continue nurturing. How can we give Mother Earth that care? After all, think of everything she does for us.
When did you last touch nature? Put your hands in dirt, walk barefoot, feel wind on your face, stand in running water? As a therapist we often use the term “grounding” as a reference for centering yourself, finding stability, but perhaps it is more than that? Perhaps we can be centered by returning to our relationship with Mother Earth?
So, feel nature. Be gentle with nature. Talk to nature, say “good morning” and “you look so pretty” and “thank you”. While it sounds silly I am loving my houseplants much more now that I talk to them and touch their leaves. It’s relational as opposed to me moving around inanimate objects.
Resource- author Kaitlin B. Curtice speaks on We Can Do Hard Things podcast
5 Ways to Be More Present: Indigenous Wisdom
Let’s all work to reduce our mental, physical, and emotional waste, and give back to Mother Earth. Happy De-Cluttering, Happy April and Happy Earth Day!