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Nurturing Ourselves Through Difficult Times

Nurture Yourself Through Difficult Times at Cultivating Peace and Joy

Great joys make us love the world.

Great sadnesses make us understand the world.”

~Kent Nerburn


There have certainly been many events recently in the world that invoke great sadness. The news is filled with tragedy and conflict. I have heard from many people who are feeling out of control and overwhelmed with all the violence and suffering. Often we respond to crisis by staying plugged into the constant news coverage or we unplug completely in an attempt to deny what is happening.


Unfortunately these two approaches do not usually contribute to feeling more empowered because they do not acknowledge the foundation of how we are feeling. For many of us tragedies trigger feelings of grief and fear. Understanding how these emotions impact us is an important part of caring for ourselves during these difficult times.


I have found that grief has a way of knitting itself into the texture of our days and permeating our existence, like dark ink dropping onto the fabric of our day. Grief can be a very isolating experience, as it leaves us feeling raw and vulnerable and unable to interact in normal activities.


Fear is also invasive and tends to weave itself into our thinking, undermining our peace of mind and increasing our anxious thoughts and concerns about what is going to happen next.


There is no more important time for self-nurturing than when we are experiencing grief and fear. And although it is a challenge, it is essential to find gentle ways to care for ourselves during these difficult times.


Here are five ways to begin nurturing yourself:


1. Start by looking at your self-nurturing practice to see if there are any activities you can continue. Having some connection to your normal schedule can be very grounding. If you take a walk each day, meditate or write in a journal continue doing so, even for 5-10 minutes each day.


2. Bring mindfulness to the choices you make about what to eat. Choosing healthy food filled with nutrients and energy and minimizing food and drink that deplete you is critical at this time.


3. Identify a few activities that feel deeply nurturing. Perhaps you find walking in nature, talking to a supportive friend or loved one, petting your animal, reading an inspiring book or appreciating music, art or beauty to be really nourishing.


4. Encourage yourself to engage in these activities a few times during the week and notice how you feel after. Sometimes it is incredibly difficult to motivate yourself to go out and do anything when you are overwhelmed with grief and fear, but most of us feel better for doing it.


5. Finally find some way to feel that you are making the world a better place by being kind and compassionate, spending loving time with family, volunteering, and contributing in any way that makes you feel that you are having a positive impact in the world.


As Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.


May you nurture yourself during difficult times so that you can be the light to transform the darkness and may you live authentically in truth and beauty, nurturing peace in the world from the inside out!


Please share your comments below to inspire and encourage others!

Kelley Grimes

Sending you so much peace, love and gratitude,

Kelley Grimes, M.S.W.
Counselor, Author & Speaker

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Join the discussion 21 Comments

  • Alex says:

    Great tips, Kelley

  • Thank you for a beautifully felt post, Kelley. I was surprised by how much I resonated with number 5. I think i keep my focus there, without even realizing it.

    • Thank you so much for your comment Laurie! I am deeply grateful for the areas in my life where I feel like I am making a difference as it provides meaning in a sometimes crazy feeling world. I am not surprised you focus your energy there too!

  • Leon Sickles says:

    Thank you for those wonderful words.. Harshness can only be transformed by our own willingness to be quiet, feel nurtured, be proactive in our participation with life and hold an attitude and perspective which allows you to participate in balanced positive future. Knowing the depth of your commitment to the best quality of life for yourself allows others to rise to your beliefs actions and participation.. Do you want to harp on man’s destructive picture or witness the world and be proactive in your slice of life?

    • Leon thank you so much for your thoughtful response. Indeed our willingness to connect with ourselves and our truth allows us to respond in the world no matter what the challenges are and I believe self-nurturing is the key to cultivating this connection with our authentic truth. To answer your question, I for one want to be proactive in my life. Thank you for your comment!

  • Tae Lynne says:

    Kelley, I love the quote you used by Martin Luther King, Jr. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” I use love, kindness & compassion to help others and make the world a better place, but also as a means of self-love. Giving to someone else always makes ME feel better; it’s been proven to reduce anxiety & depression.

  • Peggy says:

    Turning the news off was and is one of the best things I do in good times and difficult times. The news is no longer about informing but rather ratings. If it bleeds it leads…fact finding seems to have gone out the window these days…fear mongering is the name of the game.

  • Sally Gill says:

    Thank you for these very timely suggestions, Kelley! We need them more than ever right now, as many of us are struggling with what to do in the face of all the hate we now see on a daily basis. You’re so right – only love will overcome all the hatred. You are a bright light. Continue to shine so that we can all benefit!

    • Thank you so much Sally for your kind words and comment. I appreciate you highlighting the struggle about what to do in the face of all the hate we see on a daily basis. I truly believe that the only way to nurture peace in the world is from the inside out and look forward to continuing this conversation with you!

  • Dr. Schavi M. Ali says:

    Kelley, your messages are very calming and encouraging. As a retired university Professor who is now a Reiki Master/Teacher, Herbalist, Aroma Therapist, Meditation Teacher, and Gemstone Therapist, I have some suggestions to offer. For those who need some nurturing activities, a warm bath into which is placed 1/4 cup Epsom salt, six drops of Lavender essential oil, and 8 drops of “Rescue Remedy” homeopathic liquid by the Bach Flowers company is wonderfully relaxing. Next, a warm cup of Chamomile or Linden Flower tea is great. Wearing any one of the following gemstones daily is a further wellness support: Rose Quartz, Turquoise, Blue Lace Agate, Lapis Lazuli, Kunzite, or Lepidolite. As you know, crystals and gemstones work via their vibrational frequencies soothing us. Finally, whatever a person’s chosen spiritual path, a special verse of love and peace can be selected to carry each day and read regularly. I hope these offerings of support will help those who are steadily working on ways to self-nurture during these critical times in our world. Peace and Love to all.
    Dr. Schavi M. Ali

    • Thank you so much for the beautiful self-nurturing practices you shared! I love the variety and am grateful for your contributions to a more peaceful and loving world! Namaste.

  • I love this statement: “There is no more important time for self-nurturing than when we are experiencing grief and fear.” This is so true. I hope that your words will help this timeless wisdom access many more hearts.

  • Love your tips Kelley and the quotes are some of my all time favorites 🙂

  • I’m so glad you’re writing about this subject Kelley. I do agree with you that we need to pay more attention to how we feel after watching and reading so much negative news. Self-nurturing is the perfect way to paying attention. My message is: Doesn’t feel good watching over and over the same negative news? Well don’t. If you need to watch, just watch what you need, when you need to, enough to realize you can do something about it or can not do anything and move on.

    • Thank you so much for your comment Claudia! I agree that self-nurturing is a way to tune into ourselves and notice how we are feeling when we are watching the news or engaged in other activities. Once we have awareness about how we are effected we can make empowered and nurturing choices – but we have to remind ourselves to pay attention to how we feel. I really appreciate your wisdom!

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