You've heard of a full moon, a new moon, and a honeymoon, right? So what on earth is a painmoon?! It is a trendy word for a vacation that you take to care for yourself during times of difficulty and challenge. Spa's and retreat centers sometimes offer packages filled with self-care and healing treatments like geothermal baths and aroma therapy massages paired with a beautiful location to spend some time in as you reflect or grieve. Coming from someone who has a fair amount of airline miles under my belt, this sounds AMAZING right now and so very welcomed. However, that is not currently an option in light of the COVID pandemic.
"But I could take one while inside my house? How exactly would I go about that?"; you may be asking. Just like any vacation, honeymoon, or painmoon, it will be different for each person depending on their tastes and circumstances. Read on for some of my suggestions and then use them to tailor your own experience around your preferences and resources.
Choose and Create Your Destination
Many of our homes have recently been converted into a home office for multiple co-workers with varying schedules and levels of responsibility, a full time school house/playground, and 24 hour diner all at the same time. But if you can make those changes, you can also find a space for some serenity. It may be a temporary set-up, or you may be fortunate enough to have enough space to designate a "quiet area" somewhere on your property or in your house, but the first step is to identify the location. What you are looking for is a place where you can either close the door or at the very least have a visual barrier from the rest of what is happening in your house for a period of time. Something as simple as a sheet tacked to the ceiling to create a division within a room could work. It could be a guest bathroom or your own bedroom, or even a closet, depending on the size and what is in it.
Now, what makes this space feel like a vacation? Do you play music there or burn candles? Do you have a window that you can open and feel closer to nature for a few minutes? Do you fill it with photographs or artwork that make you happy and feel peaceful? Is it dark and quiet?
Allocate Your Time and Communication Protocol
How do your housemates know when you are spending time in your getaway destination and what is the protocol for when or why you should be interrupted? For some, you may need to time your visits along with other scheduled activities such as at the same time as your child’s online music lesson or when your partner has ability to care for your dependents. It may even need to be before everyone else wakes up or after everyone goes to sleep.
The most important thing is that you intentionally prioritize some time in your day for rest, recovery, and/or reflection.
Foster and Nurture Life, Including Your Own
Our physical practices have accompanying mental/emotional, and energetic alignments. For instance, when we clean or tidy our physical space, we are also cleaning up our mental space and clearing stuck or stale energy from our systems.
Currently, our days are bombarded with statistics and growing levels of anxiety and concern for our health and our loved ones. When we allow ourselves to become consumed by this information and emotional overload, we unknowingly align our physical and energetic bodies and can easily become depressed, ill, or grossly fatigued.
Can you limit your information intake (not just news stations and newspapers, but our social media feeds and even emails from our favorite stores and restaurants are constant intake of information surrounding the current global situation) and consciously spend some time focused on creating or nurturing life?
This could come in the form of planting a garden, cultivating clippings from an existing house plant, or fostering or adopting a new pet. You will want to choose something that you can reasonably care for still after your schedule shifts again and you are not home as regularly. The point of doing this is to focus energy, mind, and body on creating and nurturing life. This will help balance out some of the intake you are receiving that is centered around illness, death, fear, and worry.
If plants and animals are not your thing, or you don’t have the resources for them, you could give yourself a new healthy challenge to build upon. This could be to do an increasing number of push ups each day, walk outside for 15 minutes every day, or learn tai chi.
While there are various ways that we may be able to help the situation through vocations, skills, or finances, one way that everyone can help is to stay of healthy mind, body, and spirit.
Expand Beyond Your Regular Self-Care Practices
A regular self-care routine is important for optimal health at all times, and if you are doing these things regularly, great job! We are not currently in a regular kind of lifestyle though. Whether or not we want to admit it, and whether or not we have a strong toolkit and support system for dealing with it, we are all facing challenges of some sort right now outside of what we face on a regular basis.
We are dealing with grief. Grief comes in all shapes and sizes. We may be grieving loved ones, strangers, public figures, our lost routines, or our freedom to go and do what we please.
We are dealing with fear. Fear for our loved ones safety and health. Fear of job loss or income reduction. Fear of uncertainty.
We are dealing with strained mental and physical capacities. We are juggling multiple roles and responsibilities and new health and safety protocols. We are constantly processing and filtering and re-sharing information. We have little or no break from the household responsibilities that we may or may not otherwise have help with, but generally have ability to pause, delay, or defer.
We’ve likely increased our screen time massively because it’s one of the few ways we can stay connected with our loved ones, maintain our jobs and education, stay engaged in our workouts, receive the latest news and updates, order groceries, and pretty much everything else that we are doing daily.
A full blown painmoon to a serene far off location is not in the cards at the moment; true. But be gentle with yourself right now and allow some time for pause. Treat yourself to a luxurious bath bomb (this is one of my favs by Little Buddha by Daisy!), or one song worth of dancing in your living room wearing headphones in between your back to back meetings. Whatever it is that feels like a mini vacation and is solely for the purpose of refueling your soul can become your own stay-at-home-painmoon.