There are A LOT of articles and blog posts written on self - care. I wasn't going to add to the list until I realized that I did NOT want my ENTIRE BLOG to be about emotionally difficult topics when my private practice is built on the idea that being LGBTQIQA can be a lovely way to authentically and truly identify oneself. While talking about the despair of grief or the aftermath of a mass shooting is important, so is keeping in mind the hopefulness of feeling happier once one has come to know themselves and like themselves.
Thus, this blog is about self-care.
and it is part of my own self-care as it will act as a break between my last posts on grief and loss and my next posts on racism.
BACK TO SELF - CARE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF IT:
I'm always talking about self care: in session, out of session, with friends, family, at conferences, and pretty much everywhere else.
To me, self-care means doing the activities that make one the happiest and healthiest in the short and long term. Self-care is how one supports and protects oneself on the journey o'life. It's the sunscreen to my skin, my toothpaste to my teeth, and lots of other super cheesy ways of saying that self - care is how I get through a hard day.
Here are some of my *favorite self-care techniques* that I am often recommending. Please keep in mind that these suggestions **do not** replace the advice of a medical doctor or a psychologist and that they are not to be done if they do not feel right to you.
I've gleaned these from friends and colleagues and from training programs. I am very grateful from their freely given advice and suggestions.
Please feel free to add your own examples of these 10 tips or share your favorite ideas in the comments. I can't wait to read what helps you feel good and stay / be healthy.
I like these ideas because they can be modified to the physical, mental, financial and emotional needs of individuals - how cool is that? Please do what feels comfortable to you and always seek guidance if you have any hesitations about trying these ideas out.
Your safety and health is of utmost importance
and I encourage you to say no to doing
anything that makes you feel icky.
1. Cardio Exercise
Example: Search the internet for a rock group you used to love when you were younger or search for "dance music" and find a place with room to move around in, as you are able. Set a timer for 5 minutes and, depending on your mobility, clap your hands, tap your toes, or bob your head to the music. If you really enjoy the song, feel free to dance along to it, whatever that looks like to you.
Example: Focus on gently enjoying your body and the way it moves. Check out the video below as an example of a morning yoga routine to practice.
3. Minutes of mindfulness
My friend and colleague, the wonderful Gottman therapist, Dana showed me this one and I am forever grateful. Please download the free application, "Insight Timer" and look up its 1 to 5 minute guided meditations. Try one out. Or, look to their series on beginning meditations and try one of those out. One of my favorite ones is in the "Mini moments' " section and it is called "1 Minute Meditation to Reduce Stress" by Heather Waxman. While the meditation exercise itself is one minute long, the selection is 3 minutes 28 seconds of listening to information about the meditation and then, practicing the exercise.
Please comment on this post with your favorites; I'd love to know which of them work for you.
4. Self (hand) massage
Example: I encourage grabbing your favorite lotion (if you like smelly lotion, I might recommend a lavender scented option) and practicing giving yourself a gentle hand massage for 5 minutes, as you are able. Focus on supporting your hands, wrists, fingers, and palms with tender touches. Appreciate them and how they help you type, write, draw, cook, and all the other sorts of things that hands help people do. Please look at the video below for a an example of hand massage. Please listen to your body and only do what feels comfortable to you.
Example: Go outside for 15 minutes. Take a walk in a park. Breathe in and out slowly. Take time to look at trees up close.
6. Journaling ( I was recently reminded about the awesomeness of journaling thanks to my child - expert friend and colleague, Erica. )
Example: Write down your thoughts. Give yourself prompts such as : "My favorite song is . . . . " Or check out this link for other possible prompts to get you writing.
Example: Whether you have been practicing your artistic skills forever or this will be your first time trying them out, coloring is for you. I often encourage people to download free coloring templates and use colored pencils or markers to color. It can feel so relaxing. Here is a link to some free coloring pages for adults and a link to the Huffington Post for a summary of how coloring (especially with crayons! ) can be helpful in reducing stress. Or, you can try a coloring app, like the one in the video below.
What do YOU do to practice self - care?
Please share in the comments below.
Please call Dr. Abi Weissman at (619) 403-5578, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Dr. Weissman’s web site at www.doctorabi.com to set up a free 15 minute phone call to see if therapy with Californian psychologist Dr. Abi Weissman (PSY 27497) would be helpful for you! Let’s work together to support your resilience, self - care, and health.
Dr. Abigail "Abi" Weissman, Psy.D. of Waves, A Psychological Corporation, is a feminist and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, intersex, and questioning (LGBTQIQ) - affirming, multiculturally competent, clinical psychologist in the Rancho Bernardo and Hillcrest communities of San Diego, California. More information about her and her private practice can be found at www.doctorabi.com
This article does not constitute a therapeutic relationship. Please follow the advice only as it best feels safe to you and your loved ones.