Self care in uncertain times 20

It was a beautiful day of walking across the hot, high plains of Spain. Perfect in every way—except that I was out of water, running a low-grade fever, and feeling homesick on this endless, shadeless stretch of trail.

It wasn’t perfect at all. In fact, it was unsettling and unnerving to be so out of my element, alone. Trying to be brave was exhausting. Even with a map, I wasn’t sure how long it would take to the next town.

This is where we are as a country right now. We’re uncomfortable. We’re disoriented, even as we soldier on.


When I finally arrived in town, I took a long drink of cool water at the plaza fountain. When I told my host I was ill, the kind man said, “Come with me…” and led me to a quiet, empty bunk room.

He pointed to my bed as he opened a window. “The air is good here, and you can rest.” After three hours of fully-clothed, dreamless sleep, I found the energy to visit a pharmacy. The gift in this was not only that I asked for help, and the gentle hospitalero funneled away other pilgrims so I could rest. What kindness.


Here’s the thing: when you’re on a long journey, it can’t be all push. The human heart needs balance—between effort and rest, between moving forward and stopping. This balance keeps weariness and exhaustion at bay.

Like my nap and long drink of water, sleep, food, and connecting with community gives up energy and nourishment. These are especially important when the destination and distance are uncertain.


Some say self care is selfish. I say it’s vital to the path ahead. What are you doing to care for yourself as you journey?


20 thoughts on “Self care in uncertain times

  • Jim Farris

    Excellent advice- this is a marathon – not a sprint. Pacing, self-care, much needed for the long course.

  • Susan Dooley

    I took a long silent walk in the sunshine. Not on a desert plain, but up and down the hills of Raymore. The mental benefits kicked in at around the three-mile point. I am pleasantly sweaty, happily weary, and my mind feels clear and calm.
    Thank you for your good words.

    • Jennifer Hofmann Post author

      Yay, Susan! That is wonderful. Being in nature soothes the soul. I applaud taking the time and care for yourself.

  • Joan

    I can’t agree more. It is impossible to truly “give” from an empty bucket!!! –or “no spoons” (if that resonates!) From a place of emptiness our “giving”, “marching”, “standing up” comes out often from a place of anger or resentment, or with strings attached. Women of my generation (75 years) have been raised as caregivers and that are of self is “selfish”. No! It is essential!

    • Jennifer Hofmann Post author

      I coudn’t agree more, Joan! We younglings need to be listening to the wise women in our circle who understand what the arc of change looks like. Thank you for the reminder. <3

  • Laurel Leaves

    This has been on my mind over these months since the election, and it’s an important topic especially for women as we tend to stay in go-go mode, trying to do it all and then some, especially under stress.

    I spend down time reading. I write when I can’t sleep. I write when the nagging thing in my mind won’t go away. I write even when I know no-one is listening.

    I also go outside and put my feet or my hands on Mother Earth every day. That’s the only peace I know.

    Thank you for this important piece.

    • Jennifer Hofmann Post author

      How great. It’s an act of courage to trust ourselves and take time to nourish… and it’s also vital.

  • Naomi Anderson

    Did you walk the Camino de Santiago? I have walked the Camino Frances and Portuguese! Such a wonderful post and reminder. Thank you.

    • Jennifer Hofmann Post author

      Hola, peregrina sister! I walked the frances in 2013 and did it backwards in 2016. It changed my life! <3

      • Naomi Anderson

        Yes-a life changing experience both times. So cool to meet a fellow peregrina! I hope I get the chance to go again one day. Thank you for the work you are doing with this blog.

  • Jenn Beard

    I’ve been calling a Senator to manage the helpless moments I feel. I have been bolstered by like-minded and inspiring friends and family, walking along beside me. Today I started to consider finding a therapist to talk to as I have never experienced the range of intense emotions this presidency has brought out in me. In the meantime, I practice yoga, enjoy perfect cups of coffee and try to limit my social media consumption.

    Thank you for providing tangible ways for us to make a difference – your scripts are so welcome as I intensely dislike calling strangers. Although, if I keep up my daily calls, I may venture out and say something extra every now and again. 🙂

    • Jennifer Hofmann Post author

      That is so great, Jenn. Just having things to focus on makes such a difference.

      We’re doing this. <3

      • Joan

        I will be visiting Lindsey Graham’s (R Sen SC) in the am to thank him for opposing Trump’s immigration policy along with J McCain. I will also voice my grave concern about other issues related to Trump. I marched in DC. I attended a Dem meeting here in my small SC town where we made plans of what to do next. I make calls…I am 75, live in SC and work for justice as a Democrat!! We are Democracy in action!!! This keeps the hopelessness from taking over!

  • Trish Mortimer

    I work sitting at a cubicle desk in front of two computers and often find myself so deeply engrossed in what I am doing I won’t move for hours. So lately my self-care regime involves getting up and stretching every hour or so and then every couple of hours moving away from my work space completely checking in with colleagues or just taking a short walk.

    I have been making sure I eat healthy foods brought from home instead of cafe` food. It never ceases to amaze me how much better I feel when I eat right, cutting out processed foods from sources I don’t know.

    The most recent change I have added to my self-care regime is cutting down on political news. Since Trump won the republican nomination to run for president I have been consuming news at a voracious level. Now I am scaling back and choosing to read articles that are unrelated or reading a book in my down time.

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