Ways to Stay Grounded When Times Get Tough

3 min read
Abigail Zamir, Citizen Café Hebrew teacher
Abigail Zamir, Citizen Café Hebrew teacher

It’s been a month since the war מלחמה (meel-chah-mah) broke out in Israel. What started as a wave of absolute shock that stopped our lives in their tracks, made way to a sad and difficult routine שגרה(sheeg-rah) that we are all trying to navigate in, in Israel and all over the world. The force of human life, of life חיים(chah-yeem) itself, is stronger than anything else. And fortunately (or unfortunately, since at times it feels like a horrible contradiction between the outside world and the world within) even when times are hard we still have a need to eat, to sleep, to love, and even – to laugh. Our sense of stability and security ביטחון (bee-tah-chon) has been deeply fractured, but in the sea of chaos and uncertainty, we can still find small islands of dry land to stand on.

Start with the basics

The first step you can take towards feeling grounded is: start eating well. Food אוכל (oh-chehl) is and always has been a source of comfort, and once your body is nurtured your mind can start healing too. Sometimes we may feel like we don’t even have an appetite תאבון(teh-ah-vohn), but our bodies still require nourishment. Fill your fridge with fruit פירות(peh-roht) and vegetables ירקות(yeh-rah-koht), try eating soups and stews, hearty dishes that will fill your body with warmth. Sweets can also be a sort of comfort (shoutout to Sarit Hadad) but they can’t sustain you for long. Even the act of cooking: cutting, dicing, steering and frying can have a therapeutic effect. Especially cooking for a loved one, being it your child, parent, friend or neighbor.

Which brings me to the second step: spending time together ביחד (be-yah-chad) with other people. Being alone לבד(leh-vahd) in your room\house when times are hard may feel safer, but over time you may find yourself sinking and being unable to leave your cocoon. Being in the company of others – friends, family, colleagues – will give you a physical reminder that you are, in fact, not alone. That many people around you are going through the same things, feeling similar emotions. Even sharing the same space without speaking, just hanging out or watching a series סדרה(seed-rah) on television can help relieve stress.

Take it step by step

The third way to feel more grounded, one which has personally helped me a lot during these past couple weeks, is completing small tasks משימות (meh-see-moht). It might sound silly but completing day-to-day tasks, the smallest you can think of, can help you feel more in control and connect you to the present moment. Tasks like doing laundry, cleaning your house, going to the grocery store, reorganizing your calendar, giving your dog that long overdue bath, folding clothes and bedsheets, and any other errand you can think of. The key here is doing actions that are technical, mechanical, and through them achieving something greater than the tasks themselves.

It’s ok not to be ok

Times are not normal right now. Everything is confusing, and it’s okay to feel sad and angry and numb. It’s okay to feel like you don’t want to do anything, like you can’t go back to the same routine you’ve had before. But it’s important to remember that there are ways to cope with this new reality, whether it’s through nourishment, or spending time with loved ones, or completing small tasks; Doing physical exercise like running or Yoga or going for a walk. Talking about how you feel. It’s an everyday struggle I know, but there is so much power within, you wouldn’t believe it if I told you so. As my brilliant Yoga teacher says: “let’s open the door to possibility”. And my response is, let’s at least try.

 

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