By Lynn M. Acquafondata


In the midst of family turmoil this fall, I had an instant of clarity about how to stay personally grounded: self-care moments. At that point I didn’t have time for hours of meditation, pages of journal writing and extensive therapy sessions. I just had ten minutes. But those few minutes could be enough to bring me back to my best self and connect me to inner and outer resources.

I’ve identified a few tips to make self–care moments valuable and to ensure I find what I need quickly in future times of emotional turbulence. Feel free to use these guidelines if they help you to ground yourself when you only have a few moments available.

 Time alone:

  • Find a quiet corner to be alone. This can be as simple as stepping into a quiet hallway, taking a short walk outside, shutting the office door, sitting in the car or putting on relaxing music. I look for a place that feels safe and cozy, where I know I won’t be interrupted. All of this allows me to turn inward even if only for a minute.
  • Let the feelings emerge. Acknowledge them. Allow them to be what they are.
  • If feelings aren’t there, I don’t force them, but just sit in the silence and hold the stillness.

Connecting to others:

Sometimes it helps to have a conversation with someone supportive. I reach out to someone that meets these criteria:

  • The person knows me well.
  • I trust the person to hold my confidence.
  • I know the person will listen deeply and lovingly.
  • I am able to share my rawest self and know the relationship will only strengthen.

Very important: Don’t compromise on the standards. If no one is available who fits this criteria, it’s better to be alone (or with a furry companion).  That’s when I pull out a journal or take a walk or pat the dog or listen to music.

Long Term Care

The longer periods of self-care are crucial. I can’t access my sources of strength in the shorter, fleeting moments unless I’ve done deeper self-care at other times. That’s why I fit in the more time consuming aspects of self-care on a regular basis especially when life is not in crisis. These strategies include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Eating a healthy diet (the majority of the time)
  • Daily prayer and mindfulness practices
  • Rest and relaxation
  • Positive social interaction
  • Personal and professional support such as therapy or spiritual direction

Following self-care moment guidelines can make it possible to access one’s inner resources and personal strength in times of need.