During this challenging time, I have found myself reverting back to some old habits. Old habits that include not taking care of myself the way I should.

I am a fixer so when this whole COVID-19 started, I immediately began to reach out to others to see how I could help. I opened my heart up fully and went full steam ahead to take care of everyone else and forgot momentarily that taking care of me was most important.

A week into it, I felt myself trembling, I was having difficulty breathing, my vision was blurred, my heart was palpitating, I was profusely sweating and I literally felt like I was dying. I was having a panic attack.

I sat down and began to breathe deeply, I prayed, I meditated, I acknowledged what I was feeling and before long I was feeling myself again. After, I was feeling better. I did some deep soul searching to figure out what had happened and why.

This is what I realized, I was operating out of fear and in order to feel in control I was reaching out and trying to control others because that made me feel more in control and took my mind off what I was feeling.

In the process, I forgot about my boundaries, I forgot about my self-care, and I forgot about what was best for me which took its toll and knocked me down for a few days.

I want to let you ladies know that now more than ever self-care is very essential. I’m not talking about the hair, eyelashes, or mani and pedis. All those are good, but right now even if we wanted to go do those things, we couldn’t.

I’m talking about something deeper. I’m talking about self-love and an immersed spiritual soul connection with self.

When we strengthen our connection with self it helps us to recognize our reactions and feelings so we can respond with love and care to our own needs. Focusing on your feelings helps to protect you from depression, anxiety, addiction, and a myriad of other numbing behaviors.

Of course, this doesn’t eliminate negative feelings or behaviors, but it helps you cope more healthfully when rough times arise.

5 ways to connect more deeply with yourself

Practice self-compassion

Self-compassion or self-love may be a foreign concept for some people especially for those who were raised in abusive unloving homes. Self-compassion is a way of relating to self with kindness. It’s not to be confused with arrogance or conceit.

Something I recommend is imagine yourself a small child and give yourself the very compassion that you would give a child going through what you’re going through.

Engage In solo activities

Another great way to connect with ourselves is through solitude. Walking in nature, petting your dog or cat, create art (focus on the process, not the product), listen to your favorite music, do karaoke , read a good book, cook a nice dinner, recall activities you enjoyed as a child and try those. As you do these things note how you are feeling and breathe through the experience When tough moments arise in your life, summon these feelings of serenity to help you cope.

Notice your feelings

Pay close attention to how you are feeling. If you’re feeling stressed, pause and notice where you are holding the stress in your body. Once you discover where you are storing the stress breathe into it.

Name your feelings

Naming and acknowledging your feelings can help you to process through them more quickly. As an example, say you are going to a large event by yourself and you’re experiencing several different emotions. Maybe fear because you don’t know anyone or you’re stressed about not feeling comfortable. Acknowledge those feelings by identifying and describing them. The sooner you accept and acknowledge what you are feeling the sooner you can work through them.

Give yourself permission to be imperfect

Give yourself permission to be flawed, sensitive, unproductive, and lazy, without defining yourself for those few moments. If we cultivate a true perspective we won’t lose faith in our own potential just because we acted human and took a break from life.

Self-care isn’t something you should put off until you have more time. Consider how you can integrate both basic self-care and highly personal self-care into your daily life.

How have you seen self-care bring positive outcomes to your life?