Tag Archives: self-care

A Mid-Year Check In

 

Believe it or not, we are more than halfway through 2020. “How are you doing?” may seem like a loaded question right now, to say the very least. However, experiencing times of uncertainty or tenuousness make it all the more important to ask ourselves this question. How are you doing, really

If you are unsure how to even begin answering this question, consider some of the prompts below to guide your self-reflection.

    • How are you different than you were a year ago? Instead of focusing on the acquisition or loss of tangible things, try to identify things you have learned and ways in which your perspective and mindset evolved.

 

    • What things have grown to appreciate over the past seven months? Reflect on ways you can incorporate those things into your daily life going forward.

 

    • What area of your life needs more attention? Consider how much time you currently dedicate to the following domains: physical exercise, learning, fun, spiritual growth, creative expression and fostering social connections.

 

    • How did you cope when thing got bad? Think about a specific bad day or experience that happened this year—how did you survive it? Is there anything you could have done, realistically speaking, to make it easier on yourself? 

 

    • What are your top priorities right now? A good way to clarify the answer to this to ask yourself what your life would look like if you could wake up tomorrow morning and have everything be exactly the way you want it to be. 


Taking a “white knuckle” approach to struggle only leads to more struggle. Self-care and compassion fosters resilience, which will be the more effective tool to achieving emotional well-being.

The key to this is being intentional about what you hope to accomplish when you engage in this self-reflection. It is easy to get distracted when you do not “buy into” the importance of recognizing where your focus needs to be. Hold yourself accountable by making small, concrete changes to your life right away (for example, taking walks or utilizing a specific coping skill more often).  With practice, you will feel increased levels of control, focus and confidence as you square up to face the second have of the year. 

– Carolyn Moriarty, LPC

4 Tips to Help You Transition Home This Summer

By: Abigail Yeomans LPC

You may remember how you felt when you left or school in the Fall. There may have been a bit of uncertainty, excitement and anxiety and that makes total sense! Transitioning to college is a big adjustment and one that is only fully realized when you find yourself putting all your belongings into a tiny dorm room with a complete stranger!

After some time, maybe that uncertainty started to dwindle, and the development of a life independent from parents began to settle in. Fast forward nine months and you are headed back home, to all that was so familiar. It may bring up some of the same feelings you had when you left last Fall, but this transition can be even harder. There is a delicate balance between demonstrating respect at home and maintaining freedom, the freedom of identifying as an adult. Therefore, I have come up with a few helpful tips to help out during this time of transition.

1. Communication

A key component of that balancing act is respectful and consistent communication. Communication is essential. The “rule makers” of the house need to communicate with you and vice-versa. Even though at first it may feel frustrating to have to talk more often and check in, but putting the time in sooner rather than later will help you and the entire family adjust more quickly to each other’s expectations for the summer.  In conclusion, it can be difficult for others to know how we feel unless we remain open and honest. So it is an excellent opportunity to assert your needs and wants as you move toward more independence.

2. Routine

It is natural to feel uncertain about how to spend the extra time you have over the summer. Some students describe feelings of anxiety and say things like “I should be doing more” while others describe emotions related to boredom and depression. One way to counteract the worry and rumination associated with anxiety and depression during times of transition is to establish a routine. Routine development and maintenance may help you gain a sense of control and is something that has been proven to assist individuals diagnosed with depression in their recovery. Therefore, why not give it a shot? I would recommend Google Calendar or getting a new planner that you update weekly.

3. Self-Care

Developing a routine is part of taking care of yourself, but self-care is defined a littler more broadly. According to Psychology Today, “Self-care means choosing behaviors that balance the effects of emotional and physical stressors: exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, practicing yoga or meditation or relaxation techniques, abstaining from substance abuse, pursuing creative outlets, engaging in psychotherapy.”

One way to start practicing self-care right now is to ask yourself how well you have been keeping up with hygiene and keeping your space clean and organized. If you want to be doing laundry once a week and notice it is evening out to doing laundry more like every two to three weeks, I have a suggestion for you. Reward yourself for completing your goal of doing laundry every week. Rewards can be anything that motivates you, and they don’t have to cost any money.

4. Balanced social life

You and your old friends are now back in the same place! There is nothing better than being reunited with people you care about, and it is equally as exciting to hear from new friends made at school this past year! However, some people report feeling overwhelmed with social responsibilities and anxiety about whether they are doing enough to maintain new and old connections. Balancing time is critical so that the transition home doesn’t quickly feel like a typhoon of social responsibility. Find some time for yourself and time for your family throughout the week for consistency and let your friends know the days and times that work best for you to prevent potential distress.

If you or someone you know starts to feel like the level of pain and emotion experienced during this transition is too much to handle alone, please reach out for support. As I noted in the communication section of this article, time put in now can reduce the long-term impact of mental health concerns you are noticing and that are disruptive to your daily functioning. There is no shame in getting some additional help, and it is never too late or too early to put yourself first!

Why Not? 21 Self-Care Ideas You Can Try Today!

By: Abigail Yeomans LPC

There are so many articles out there that describe how to take care of yourself. That must mean something, and you guessed it! This constant conversation suggests that self-care is not only important but entirely necessary to lead a satisfying and healthy life.

The first step to practicing self-care is to acknowledge that you deserve to take care of yourself. Practice saying “I deserve this time for myself” and pay attention to the effect that has on your mood! Sometimes we just need to give ourselves permission to take a few minutes to decompress.

Here a few other ideas:

  1. Allow yourself two mindful minutes before, during or aself-care and wellnessfter work/ school today
  2. Look up mindfulness apps on your phone and try one of the exercises
  3. Follow through on plans today even if you’re tired!
  4. Take a bath
  5. Light a candle
  6. Dance to your favorite song
  7. Take the scenic route home
  8. Play a game with your friends, kids, partner
  9. Try a new hobby
  10. Cook your favorite recipe
  11. Start an inspirational Pinterest board
  12. Re-read your favorite book
  13. Call someone who you care about
  14. Exercise, even if it is only for 5 minutes
  15. Go to bed early
  16. Write in a journal- try to focus on all the things you did well today
  17. If you have the tendency to be hard on yourself, try saying “I notice I am having the thought that____.” (for more tips like this try reading The Happiness Trap by Dr. Russ Harris)
  18. Take a minute to hold the door for someone when you are out and about today
  19. Look up positive affirmations and try saying one to yourself in the mirror
  20. Instead of dwelling on the past, look out the window and observe what is happening right now
  21. Create a self-soothe kit- put items in a box that help ease anxiety during times of high stress. Focus on the five senses and include items in the kit for sight, sounds, touch, taste and smell.

These are only a handful of ideas that are helpful for folks I have worked with when they want to practice self-care. Even though it may seem like there is absolutely no time to do any of the things listed above, it is so important to give yourself just one to five minutes to simply be! Have any self-care ideas you want to share? Go to our Facebook or Twitter pages to share what works for you!