Here are some practical and indulgent recommendations this year from your friendly neighborhood therapist during these challenging, historic, unprecedented (insert your favorite adjective here) time …
Key Concept: Choose yourself
Whether you’re single, coupled, or “it’s complicated” make sure you are prioritizing your own self-care. The following are ways we love ourselves including the fundamentals like staying well fed and hydrated. They also encourage focusing more on your goals and solo activities that promote wellness.
The human body is performing just a few thousand automatic processes to keep you alive at any given moment. Even as you are reading this sentence, you’re using your eyes to read, brain to interpret, heart and lungs to breathe, all while presumably holding your bladder.
While keeping this machine running as an adult can sometimes seem like an Olympic sport, there are a few simple ways to maintain healthier living. Some of the basics are:
- Schedule and attend preventative medical appointments
- Be mindful of alcohol and substance use
- Get enough sleep (6-8 hours)
- Eat regularly
- Move your body as often as you can
Maintaining good mental and emotional health can often be deprioritized with the hustle and bustle of daily living. So much of our day consists of production-based thinking and for some, self-care might be considered a luxury or even selfish.
You likely have some small relief you find refuge in already and without these coping skills, burnout and compassion fatigue can creep up and surprise you. You might consider some of these additional recommendations helpful:
- Set boundaries to protect your self-care.
- Try using I statements “I feel (insert emotions here), when (insert situation here) happens”
- Recognize your own strengths and celebrate small victories
- Find the things that bring you comfort or make you laugh, then do that
- Remember unhealthy activities do not count as self-care like substance use or over-eating
In the last year, our social lives had a rough ride on the Corona-Coaster. Everyone’s “normal” changed. Some of us quarantined, most of us cancelled plans, and we’ve all learned to have conversations six feet apart. Maybe worst of all, seeing someone’s chin became an intimate act.
Whether you are craving the connection of others or you are enjoying the solitude, find what feels natural and supportive for you right now. Remember, everyone else is navigating all these weird changes together. You can also try:
- Check in with your own needs. Where are you on the spectrum of socializing today?
- Be honest with yourself about how you are balancing time together and apart.
- Find and practice your preferred method of communication and explain it to your loved ones. Examples: Video chat, phone calls, texts, e-mail, or taking some time off.
- Ask others for help when you need it.
- Follow up with people you haven’t heard from in a while.
Whether you are clocking in, sending out applications, or staying at home. How are you doing with your professional goals? Don’t have any? Now may be a good time to reassess. What we do with our waking hours can help provide our lives with meaning and purpose.
Staying on track with your goals and staying motivated can be difficult when you feel overwhelmed or stagnate. These suggestions are meant to guide you through:
- Practice saying “no” to excessive new responsibilities
- Volunteer to work on projects that are interesting or rewarding
- Make time to talk and build relationships with colleagues
- Take the opportunity to learn additional skills in your field of interest
- Decompress during your breaks and lunch
If you find meaning in promoting a cause, spiritual healing, or nurturing your faith, this section is for you. Slowing down to focus on your life’s purpose can restore fatigue and renew your perspective. Some good ways to reconnect to these principles are:
- Spend time in your place of healing. Examples: nature, house of worship, or demonstrations
- Participate in meditation and/or prayer
- Recognize the people, places, and things that give meaning to your life
- Set aside time for thought and reflection
- Appreciate art that is impactful to you. Examples: music, film, literature, dance
This information is based on materials provided by TherapistAid.com.
Consider meeting with a counselor or taking the Self-Care Assessment at https://www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/self-care-assessment.pdf and reviewing Self-Care Tips at https://www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/self-care-tips.pdf
For more local health and wellness information, follow Tillamook County Wellness on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or go to www.tillamookcountywellness.org.