I'm a clinical social worker with 15 years of experience helping veterans and civilians overcome the impacts of trauma and severe stress. I'm also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at USC and have been teaching my students mindfulness skills to manage stress and overwhelm. As a busy working mom I've been practicing my own mindful self-care for the last 11 years. When I'm not working I'm at Krav Maga practice or adventuring with my husband and our two vivacious children!
*Please note: the information presented on this blog is not meant to replace professional healthcare. Always consult with a healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns regarding your health. The views expressed here are solely my opinions and suggestions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the mental health or educational facilities in which I work.
Self care is a topic we don’t hear too much about. We hear about service to others and the importance of being good caretakers in our various life roles. We hear about being a good parent or spouse, employee or daughter, citizen or friend. How often do we hear about being good to ourselves? How does it make you feel when you hear that question? The first time I heard about self care I thought that practicing it meant I was being selfish. I quickly learned that self care is the best gift you can give to your loved ones. Here’s why:
1. Practicing self care on a daily basis helps prevent burn out so you can have energy to take care of your family
2. It prepares you to handle stressful life events by being healthy and strong
3. Giving yourself time, kindness and attention increases your joy and satisfaction in relationships with others
4. It makes life more manageable so you have more time for fun
5. Practicing self care during stress free times increases your perseverance and stamina to better handle stressful life events (which are inevitable)
Why do you think self care is important? Is there anything about it that makes you uncomfortable?
Today, give yourself permission to care about self care. If you don’t, who will?
The purpose of this blog is to create a community where I can share strategies for managing busy schedules, hectic days, and sleepless nights through the practice of self care. I have been practicing psychotherapy in the mental health field for the past seven years and specialize in treating anxiety, mood and other stress disorders. When stress is ignored it can become unmanageable and lead to depression, anxiety, physical health issues (headaches, GI issues, insomnia, and fatigue) and other problems that can impact your quality of life. Activities that were once enjoyable become tiresome chores, responsibilities start to feel unmanageable, and shared time with others whose company you used to enjoy becomes a burden. These are just some of the signs that you might be heading towards burn out. There is a remedy and this site is devoted to just that. This site is also an opportunity for you to share your innate and acquired wisdom with others. In community we can overcome any challenges that come our way. It’s also important for you to know that what works for one might not work for another. I invite you to try the techniques offered here to find your own repertoire of self care activities that you find healing, soothing and comforting.
I took the picture featured above of the walking labyrinth at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA last year. During the weekend long retreat for mental health service providers hosted by the Coming Home Project I was able to enjoy the use of this serene labyrinth and want to share the purpose of it with you. A labyrinth dates back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians and was created for various uses according to their mythologies. Today the labyrinth is designed as a simple linear walking path leading to a center, which can include anything from a rock, to a statue or another meaningful item to represent the art of grounding oneself to feel “centered.” While walking the labyrinth, you are invited to focus on the here and now by paying attention to what you are seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, & experiencing moment to moment as you ponder a challenging situation or experience. As you walk the simple path, your goal is to stay focused. One way to do that is to pay attention to the soothing rhythm of your breath as it goes in and out. As you move towards the center you will discover clarity into the situation you are pondering. The hustle and bustle of the outside world can often interfere with accessing your inner knowing. Each of us has the amazing capacity to find the answer we are looking for by tuning out the noise of the outside world and tuning in to ourselves. The walking labyrinth is one tool that you can use to assist you with this process.