Professional Self Care
For YourselfIdeally, you will have found yourself on a career path where you have been able to cultivate an opportunity to ‘Love what you do, and do what you love’. True, working in an environment or a field that doesn’t fit your personality and your goals can cause burnout, depression, and anxiety. However this is not always the case, and we are not always so lucky. While you may need to contemplate a career change, take the time to first think about what you are putting into your current situation. In any given day, identify the aspects of the job that you find most exciting or are most passionate about. Use these as rewards for completing more menial tasks. Best practice suggests setting manageable goals each day and giving yourself 2-3 prioritized tasks to focus on. When you feel overwhelmed, remember that it is often all in our mindset. When we procrastinate, the magnitude of what we need to accomplish appears to only grow until it seems impossible. However, remind yourself that you are capable and it is possible. Divide it up into smaller tasks, and complete the smallest bit until you work up your confidence to achieve more.
Your WorkspaceTake pride in the space that you work in. Whether that means a minimalist and organized work station, or one filled with motivational quotes and mantras; remember that where you spend your time affects the way that you feel about yourself and your work. Perhaps taking the time to clean up an overflowing mail pile seems tedious, however, it might be that this is the task needed to truly clear your mind. Maybe it’s bringing in a new set of sticky notes or your favorite pens; incorporate things into your work life that bring excitement and rejuvenate your spirit. Arrange your workspace so that it is comfortable and inviting, and don’t be afraid to mix it up, especially if yours is the type of job where you are able to do work from home or at a coffee shop a couple of hours or days a week.
Throughout Your DayRemember that a balanced day is the key to a balanced life. Give yourself permission to schedule in “white space”, or time to decompress. Take regular breaks, especially after completing difficult tasks, whether this looks like chatting with your colleagues, a walk to the coffee shop, having lunch outside and away from your desk, or taking a walk around the block to ‘get your steps in’. In all these ways, self-care is vital for individuals that are prone to feeling burnout, especially when other areas of life are suffering. The steps to alleviating this are simple: first, identify when you are starting to feel overwhelmed and tempted to resort to procrastination. Start small, build on existing routines and good habits you already have in place, and remember that self-care is a practice rather than a quick fix. Our physical, mental and social health are often threatened by a world that prioritizes productivity over the needs of individuals. To counter this phenomenon and achieve an overall state of wellness, it is therefore important to structure your life in ways that suggest the importance of self-care through developing habits that improve your physical, intellectual (psychological, emotional and spiritual) and social well-being (relational and professional). At Riviera Recovery, we are dedicated to helping you develop the habits that you need to succeed in life. Give us a call today to find out more!
Spiritual Self Care
Spiritual WellnessSpiritual self-care corresponds to maintaining contact with your values and what really matters to you. This type of self-care allows you to have long-term goals in life and to develop a sense of belonging to a noble and important cause. Here are the main tips to increase attention towards your spiritual self-care:
Engage in Regular Reflection.Whether it is through meditation or prayer, take the time to think about the ultimate goal of your existence, and what you are seeking out of life.
Be open to inspirationAllow yourself to be inspired. Seek out inspirational videos or Ted Talks, read inspirational literature or quotes, or even listen to that podcast of that famous person you admire. Find ways to lean into your optimism and hope for the future, and allow that to inform your daily identity.
Be open to not knowingTry at times not to not have to be in charge or to be the expert. Allow yourself to learn from others, ask questions, and admit that you don’t have it all figured out. Find the courage to ask for help, and embrace your own vulnerability.
Be open to creativityBe creative, whether through art, music, writing or anything else. Sing your heart out, or pour yourself fully into the art of making.
Engage in Meaning-Making.Lean into the nonmaterial aspects of life: spend time in thought about what you are passionate about, whether it is a relationship, person, or project. Identify what is means to you and notice its place in your life, whether that is spending time with children, nurturing a connection to a spiritual community, or contributing to causes in which you believe. Give of yourself, and volunteer as often as possible.
Engage in Thoughtful Thinking.If you believe in a specific religion, find out more about the roots of your beliefs and perhaps even explore the shared beliefs and nuances of other religions as well. Read poetry from similar time periods or track philosophical thought throughout the ages. And while it’s important to take time to think critically about religion, also allow yourself to get lost in its message. Spend time in nature, and allow yourself to get swept up into experiences of awe and wonder. If you missed it, check out Self Care: An Introduction; The importance of Physical Self Care; Psychological Self Care and Emotional Self Care. Next Up: Relational Self-Care
Relational Self Care
Relational HealthOur well-being depends very closely on the quality of our relationships. Thus, when subject to a life absent of healthy relationships, we lose our sense of self-esteem, our capacity for empathy and compassion, and our mutual support. This often leaves room for a focus on individualism that encourages isolation and creates conflicts. Under our current economic system, we are often rewarded for these behaviors as well, but more on that in our next segment. Here are some tips for improving the quality of your relationships:
Smile More.The easiest and most effective advice to follow to improve your relationships with others is to smile. Smiling reduces aggressiveness, hacks your brain’s reward system to release dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin, and tends to help others’ have more positive perceptions of you.
Compliment People More Often & Be Sincere.Keep track and notice the positive changes or the progress made by the people around you. Sharing with someone the ways that they have made a positive impact on your life, or even that you admired the way they handled a situation, can be a powerful gift, for you and for them. Taking the time to expand your focus onto others can have a huge ripple effect in your relationships.
Meet New People.There is nothing quite like the intoxicating feeling of getting to know someone new, and connecting over a shared interest. C.S. Lewis’ famous quote reads, “Friendship is born at the moment where one man says to another, ‘What, you too? I thought I was the only one…’”
Nurture Important Relationships.Spend time with people that you like, or time connecting with them via phone or writing and sharing updates. Check in with family members as well, and nurture your ability to ask for help. This also includes being the one to take initiative in organizing activities with these people to increase the quality of time spent with them.
Complete a Digital Detox.Digital detox refers to a period of time during which a person abstains from using electronic connecting devices such as smartphones and computers. Regardless of the length of the detox, it is considered an opportunity to reduce stress or to increase focus on social interactions in the physical world. Benefits include increased awareness, decreased anxiety, a better appreciation of one’s environment, and approaching the world in a more person-centered way.
In Close Relationships:
Spend Alone Time with Your Romantic Partner.Firstly, see ‘digital detox’ above. More than just spending alone time together, engage one another in stimulating conversations, continue to seek understanding of the complex inner world of the other. Try not to spend all of your time together “doing” and cultivate a practice of just “being” together.
Develop Your Listening Skills.It is absolutely impossible to achieve good long-term relationships when you are unable to listen. Embrace the fundamental idea that ‘you do not need to agree with what is being said to listen to what is being said’. Try to stay out of fixing the problem, invalidating feelings, or stealing the focus of the conversation.
Admit Your Wrongs.One surefire way to make sure that you avoid happiness is to “be right, always right. Be the only one who is always right and be rigid in your rightness.” On the other hand, willingness to admit your shortcomings tends to go a long way in creating authentic and lasting relationships. While by no means is this an exhaustive list for how to have a good relationship, shifting focus to some of these practices will certainly help to increase relational wellbeing and overall life satisfaction. Next up: Professional Self Care.
Emotional Self Care
Emotional Well-beingEmotional well-being can be defined as the overall state of one’s emotions, as well as their sense of purpose, and ability to pursue meaningful goals. However, emotional well-being is not the absence of emotions, but rather, the ability to understand the value of your emotions as signals of what is happening internally, and to use them to propel your life forward. Becoming an emotionally mature adult involves first taking responsibility for the way that we feel, and the way that we communicate those messages to others. It involves ridding our vocabulary of the phrasing, “you made me angry! (frustrated, sad, violent, etc.)” or in essence, “you made me react that way!” In this process, it is imperative that we remember that emotions are not “good” or “bad”, and it is truly only our attitude and reactions that matter. Often considered as a taboo subject in today’s culture, this aspect of our person is an intimate constituent of our happiness as indeed, taking care of your emotions is a delicate process. However, it remains a necessary process, and involves the following considerations:
Love Yourself.Practice giving yourself affirmations and praising yourself for a job well done. Set yourself up for success by planning out several small tasks throughout the day which you know that you can accomplish, this will help to boost your self-esteem and help to feel good about yourself. Start with making your bed.
Listen To Your Needs.Pay attention to what might be going on in your emotional world, and seek out healing activities to bring comfort to the storm raging inside of you. Reconnect with your inner child by reading your favorite books again, or re-watch your favorite movies and leave space for yourself to connect with any and all feelings that arise.
Identify with Your Feelings.In her book, Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown speaks of her practice of writing permission slips to herself as she goes about her daily life. This advice is useful for those of us who have a hard time expressing emotions. Give yourself permission:
- To be sad
- To be excited
- To Cry
- To act goofy
- To laugh boldly
- To have fun
- To express your political or social outrage
Create a Healthy Support SystemMake an effort to stay in contact with important people in your life, and balance your schedule to make time to be with friends or family members who really understand you. Devote time and energy to these and other relationships that bring you joy.
Embrace VulnerabilityAlthough many people aren’t comfortable talking about their feelings, or what’s going on in their emotional worlds, we know that it is through our ability to have an honest connection with others that we are able to find true healing. Opening up about personal issues is never easy but can have huge effects. Whether in a community support group or with a therapist, talking it out and processing through your emotions can reduce your sense of helplessness and provide relief in the shared burden of your struggles. Stay Tuned for the next installment in the Self-Care Series: Spiritual Self-Care.
Psychological Self Care
Make time for Reflection.