Adults envying children—carefree lives are real.
Your closest cute-as-a-button child lives an existence where imagined evil cartoon characters are their closest encounter with the serious, dark, and ugly problems of the world.
In turn, we, adults, must eat triple-decker stress sandwiches when real-world problems bite us hard. Then we’d do anything to switch places with tiny tots and children and feel free once again.
Yet, vastly more troubled than the common Joe and Mary Smith of anywhere, are the men and women who fight on the front lines of difficult causes. From social workers, hospice workers, first responders, activists, animal handlers, environmentalists, to nonprofit workers, these angel-hearted can have a unique chain of depressed thinking continually pulling at their hearts.
They can get lost dwelling in dense and dark thoughts simply because they are dealing with the biggest problems ever faced by people anywhere, and it’s a career choice—a permanent prospect of emotional disturbance.
A sense of hopelessness often sources their emotionally “lost” moments, as their career continues to toss them into problems and situations where all their experiences seem to matter nothing. The cause they’re fighting seems bleak and pointless when so much that is outstandingly precious in their hearts and minds is at stake. Think of the fireman’s feeling when all of California has unstopping fires. Or, of an animal fending off the extinction of its species. Still yet, the men and women monitoring the ecocide of global warming.
Although many of these truly compassion-hearted of society turn to therapy, their families, and coworkers for help, what can we do to help these beloved agents of society find emotional relief for themselves outside of their families? How can we better empathize with them so that they feel renewed in their hearts and minds to continue fighting for the cause?
Embracing a habit of self-care is like hugging ourselves repeatedly—it breathes life into our spirit. But when we’re down in the doldrums, advice to practice self-love typically goes in one ear and out the other because we’re too steeped in dark thoughts. This applies to ourselves and the crisis worker we want to help. Yet, self-love activities are absolutely the best release from a stale, spiritless life or the moody, depression straitjacket.
For our friend, the crisis worker, a diverse routine built on self-care habits causes strength and resilience to gush forth from their spirit, and solutions to thorny crisis problems spring easier to their mind. But, be there for yourself as well. Practice habits of self-love yourself so that you can be in the best shape possible in spirit to rescue your crisis worker friend.
Suffering from a spiritless routine? No problem. First, spend a day or two identifying the small to mid to longtime consuming activities that make your soul essence deeply smile every time. Make a list of them. They can range from watching a two-minute panda video to bicycling to taking a challenging class to reciting a poem to yourself that gives you mantra power.
For a life where we can call our self-love muscle well-flexed, embrace a minimum of six such activities daily to uplift your spirits. The key is to sprinkle your day with light mini-activities that enliven the heart while, every once in a while, taking a major time-out for a longer activity that requires more dedication. (Don’t forget to tell yourself, “I love myself deeply,” at the end of the activity. By hearing the words spoken out loud, it sinks in that you actually do love yourself deeply.)
As for your crisis worker friend, check in with them from time to time on how they’re keeping up with their self-care activities. Be involved. Join in on some of their self-care activities; make it fun. But add to the love by telling them repeatedly that you love and admire them. Or better yet, write them one or more heartfelt letters or poems expressing just that.
When they’re cracking due to work stress, have them read a letter or poem again out loud, and then have them give themselves a treat. The idea is that they don’t feel so engulfed by the crisis of their cause to not feel the love and support they have from those in their circle.
This is how it will work: the more we stick to our self-love routine, the more our creativity sparks fly—enough to kindle real inspiration. This is when our self-care activities truly hit pay dirt, we find ourselves emboldened to shake off staleness in our life to find new inspiring creative outlets that celebrate our spirit.
Think about it, the newness of what we do makes us feel more alive and nurtured. When we feel especially alive and nurtured, the more we can extend the same to the crisis worker who needs empathy. After marinating in our own deep self-love routine, we’ll naturally embrace creatively inspired tasks that empathically connect to the crisis worker. And boy, do they need the love.
Mix it Up
This is key: mix up how you deliver empathy when you especially want to connect strongly to your fellow crisis worker. Think writing and sending a card instead of texting yet another heart emoji. Creating lively sung voice notes. Sharing a powerful mantra. Or, particularly since we’re still in social distancing times, staging a virtual happy hour that features one-on-one games. A spate of such activities will soon have our crisis worker friends feel blessed to have us in their circle.
It’s not a job; it’s a small mission: tell yourself that you can make them smile frequently. By mentally making it a goal and ambition to hear the thanks continually fall from their lips, we’ll walk around with a more blessed heart.