by Ejuma Adoga
In the past couple of weeks or even months of the year, to say that the news has been heartbreaking is an understatement. From the shooting in Squirrel Hill to the one in Thousand Oaks to the wildfires in Northern California and everything in between, it has been exhausting. Even personally, in our own lives with work and midterms and tests, it can be hard to get into the holiday spirit. We may feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders and that the future looks bleak. When I am feeling overwhelmed by the weight of the world, I find that spiritual self-care really pulls me through and here are some things that help me.
First, reflection is something that I find grounds me because it allows me to have a space to just be. I do not worry about assignments or papers, I just spend quiet time with God and think about my day, what I am worried about or what is currently on my mind. At a school where we are constantly going from place to place and consumed by our phones and social media, it can be weeks or months before we check in with ourselves. When I find time to reflect, it calms me down and allows me to center myself.
Second, prayer is a key part of my day. Prayer allows for a deep spiritual connection with God and when I have questions for God, I find that prayer gives me the space to converse with Him in a deeply intimate and personal way. Prayer is versatile and does not have to be eloquent or regimented, rather I find that offering what is authentic and right for each person works best. Prayer can be helpful for when you feel hopeless, alone or just need to be recharged. It does not have to be long or short, it can be what feels best for you in the moment. A quick prayer can go a very long way.
Third, support systems in terms of family, friends, and loved ones can be uplifting for the holiday spirit. Spending time with loved ones helps me feel God’s love whether it be a hug from a friend that I’ve not seen in a long time, a text from my mom letting me know that she was thinking of me, or a spontaneous conversation with a friend about what is going on in our lives. Support systems can make us feel affirmed and loved and can soothe the soul during difficult times. I believe that sometimes God can send other people to lift us up when we are feeling down or just need to be reminded of His love.
During this time of the year it is important to take care of ourselves, especially as we are in the midst of a busy time of the semester. It can be easy to go on auto-pilot and forget to take care of ourselves, but we have to take time to stop and breathe. Reflection, prayer, and support systems are only a few ways to soothe our souls, but they can help us make sure that this really is the most wonderful time of the year.