These are unprecedented times. We haven’t lived through a pandemic in this lifetime. We’re making it up as we go along.

You may be very sick, financially stressed, overwhelmed with homeschooling, going completely stir-crazy, or loving the simplicity of this quarantine life. Maybe you feel all of these in one day.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve heard about many food and body struggles. Maybe going to the grocery store less often and not having what you normally eat has triggered feelings of insecurity. Maybe the fear of going to the grocery store and potentially catching COVID-19 has led you to eat to soothe and manage that anxiety. Maybe all the “get your booty in gear” messages on social media are leaving you worried about the natural body softness that comes from not being able to move around so much. And maybe the trauma of a pandemic is opening up some old wounds and traumas for you.

Whatever your food and body struggles, know that you are not alone. We often take stress and strain from our lives and place it onto our bodies. We may also feel it in our bodies. It’s so much easier to control or manage food and our bodies than it is to manage a pandemic that we can’t see the end of.

I have found this strange time to be challenging and a reset button on many levels. I’m questioning the way I’ve always done things (because I’m forced to not do them anymore) and it’s given me an opportunity to look more closely at my self-care, work/life balance, and deepest values. My introvert side has enjoyed some of the quiet introspection. My extrovert side (I’m an equal 50/50) has been struggling with less human contact. Uncertainty has brought me literally to tears. I have wanted to throw things. And… there have also been some beautiful, meaningful moments of connection with people I care about who are also slowing down and reflecting on what this all means and what is important.

Are you feeling the shake-up? If so, that’s normal. I invite you to just be how you are, even if you are wearing your pajama bottoms again because no one can see them over Zoom. Taking in a new reality on so many levels and the insecurity of a global pandemic is a whole lot. If you are more tired and overwhelmed than usual, that makes sense. If you are struggling with some default destructive thinking, that makes sense. If you can’t seem to get as much done as you want to in one day, that makes sense.

Whether you are healing from COVID-19, healing from the loss of a loved one, healing from disordered eating, or healing from the trauma of being a part of this time in history, know that you deserve radical self-care.

This self-care can take on many forms and is different for all of us. Unlike many health gurus, I’m not going to tell you how to take care of your body and mind and soul during these difficult times. Only you know how to do this. (Yes, you do, even if you aren’t used to doing it.) Practice pausing and asking your body, your mind, your Self what it needs right now. Listen. Listen some more. There is so much wisdom in asking, listening, and creating the space for even small moments of radical self-care.

We can’t begin to listen to the larger needs of the world and meet them if we don’t first listen to that clear voice of need inside. What is your body and heart asking you to attend to today?

Let that be enough.

Nutrition therapist, educator, mother inspiring whole-self-wellness and embodiment. Author of Nourish: How to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Body, & Self.