Category: Self-Care

New Year Resolutions for the Soul

New Year Resolutions have a complex history and connotation with me as person who is always looking to self-improve and also as a therapist. While it’s definitely a good thing to work towards self-improvement and self-actualization, now more than ever, I’m in the mindset of being great exactly as we are in this moment, while at the same time also working towards feeling better (note that I didn’t say, ‘being better!’). While one might think that this is contradictory, it falls under what Marsha Linehan (developer of Dialectical Behavior Therapy) two opposing truths existing in the same space. Seeing things and ourselves in this dialectical way helps us move beyond rigid rules of behavior, inflexible thinking patterns and all-or-nothing stances toward ourselves and others. Therefore, for people who have complicated relationships with New Year Resolutions due to not feeling good enough, or that something is wrong with them, I propose these 22 New Year Resolutions that are good for the soul, based off of compassion and self-care, and can help us improve the way we feel internally. As an added bonus, it helps us see improvement from a decolonized mindset since they encourage listening to your body, slowing down, resting, and setting necessary boundaries.

They are:

1. Rest. You are worthy of rest and slowing down. Listen to your body. 

2. Say to yourself a lot more, “I am worthy.” We are worthy simply because we are human. That is all. We are worthy of medical treatment, rights, justice, human dignity, simply because we are alive and breathing. Absolutely nothing makes us unworthy. Even if you did something wrong, you are worthy of self-forgiveness (since it’s the only forgiveness you can control). 

3. Delegate. The more we take on and do on our own, the more others will expect that from you. Plus, when you’re able to count on others to help you, it can increase your gratitude and sense of community triple fold.

4. Tell others “I won’t be able to ______, ” I need you to _______.” It’s a mix of boundaries, limit setting, and delegating. To add to #3, it’s a way for you to communicate what you can’t do and what you need help with. We need to give others the opportunity to step up and have our backs. This is essential in collectivistic cultures. 

5. Acknowledge your struggle. This one is rooted in self-compassion and acceptance work. We must first acknowledge our struggle or pain to be able to sit with it, listen to it, have empathy for ourselves. It helps us acknowledge our common humanity as a person who is suffering.

6. Declutter negative thoughts. Every time you notice yourself having a negative thought, try turning your mind to a more compassionate stance. You can do this by going back to #5 and acknowledging the struggle or suffering. This can help you stay in the present and prevent your brain from taking over into the negative. 

7. Accept help. This goes well with #3, except, every self-respecting “got it” person knows that it’s super hard to ask for help, and even receive it. So with this resolution, when someone genuinely offers to help, simply accept it. Let them carry something in for you, or even bring a dish to the celebration. 

8. Accept a compliment. How many times has someone complimented you and you made a “this old thing,” “it’s because I finally combed my hair” or put a compliment down because it was too hard to accept that someone said something nice to you? I can think of many times I was self-deprecating as a way to soften the compliment blow. Simply say thank you.

9. Try something new. Sometimes we’re feeling stuck in a routine or the things that used to excite us, no longer do. Perhaps the things we’re doing have an association with pain or they’re simply not helping us anymore. Experiencing new things can help your brain feel excited in a new way and the more you do this new thing, you are building mastery and getting better at it, which also makes us feel good. A dear friend of mine Violeta Huerta, LCSW (Instagram: @whimsicalhealinglcsw) felt like she wanted to try something new. One day she made the decision to make bread from scratch. She researched and got all the ingredients. She would soon find out that it would become a new passion for her and she exercised a lot of creative energy and felt an immense amount of joy and pride (not to mention how delicious it was). 

10. Try something old. Sometimes when we’re depressed, or simply due to new life circumstance we let go of doing something that used to bring us joy. Do that! I absolutely love to crochet, but since I have a small child, I’m not able to do it as often. But I miss it when I don’t. I miss the soothing rhythm and warm yarn. I also like challenging myself with new patterns and feeling a sense of accomplishment with each finished product. Try something that you used to love to do. 

11. Thank kindness. Anytime someone is kind to you, whether it’s opening a door for you, showing you compassion, bringing your favorite snack, offering you water, or letting you know you dropped your glasses, understanding your limit or decision, genuinely thank them. Going back to #3, #7, and #8, small acts of kindness can restore our sense of goodness in the world. 

12. Give yourself TLC. This is part two of #5. After you acknowledge your struggle or suffering, be good to yourself. Go easy on yourself. Rest. Make yourself a delicious meal. Drink tea or something that is essentially good for you. This is how you show yourself tender love and care. 

13. Breathe through pain & stress. Breathing is an understated skill that we all need. Breathing into our bellies before reacting to pain or stress can help us react with wanted reactions, rather an unwanted. Think of breathing as you taking over the steering wheel, versus your emotions streering. It can be a big situation saver. 

14. Show your body love. This one is clearly tied to #12, except that we can expand it to add going to doctor appointments, exercising so that you feel less physical pain, stretching or getting a massage to help the emotional and physical pain to relieve. It can even mean eating the foods that help your stomach feel good (they’re different for everyone). It can mean drinking water instead of that 3rd caffeinated drink. Or it can mean making sure you have your coffee with plant-based milk (because dairy hurts your stomach) in silence before walking in to work. Maybe it’s a nap, or maybe it’s going for a walk. Get to know your body and be good to it. 

15. Let go for one minute at a time. This one is about acceptance of reality in the present moment. It can mean accepting that you’re struggling. It does not mean liking or approving of it, it simply means acknowledging that it’s happening. Like, “It’s raining today” versus “I hate the rain. It shouldn’t be raining. It wasn’t in the forecast. I wasn’t prepared for the rain.” When we accept and “let go” of expectations or ‘shoulds’ we suffer a lot less. (See below for a reflection journal focused on acceptance and letting go). Try this for one minute at a time. It’s a muscle that has to be worked on and nurtured. 

16. Challenge yourself. If you practiced letting go for one minute, practice for one more minute. Same goes for going on walks or holding a plank. Maybe it means challenging yourself to take the next level class, or a difficult recipe. If you put a boundary with one person, try challenging yourself and setting another boundary with someone else. We can find mastery and sense of personal achievement in new skills. 

17. Do a hard thing. This is similar to #16 except that I wanted to use the language of “do a hard thing” because it’s something we’ve all mouthed at 5 years old and above. Things just seem too hard sometimes. This might mean leaving a toxic relationship, or tolerating the urge to feel a hard emotion like loneliness, pain or boredom. Sometimes being able to tolerate something that seems hard can get us over the avoidance hump and into mastery in no time.

18. Forgive yourself. We might engaged in real or perceived wrongs, mistakes, toxicity, etc. Start by forgiving yourself. Then move toward acceptance, compassion and TLC. You only have control over your own forgiveness, and just like acceptance is a muscle we have to practice and continuously nurture, so is self-forgiveness. 

19. Be around ‘safe’ others. Try to spend your time around people that are good to you, people that celebrate your accomplishments and see your inherent worth and dignity as a person. 

20. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. When you feel the urge to chastise or scold yourself, give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Trace your steps to see if you’re operating from a place of hurt, fatigue, burnout or illness. 

21. Nurture the relationship with yourself. Sometimes loneliness or boredom can be a blessing in disguise if we start to nurture the relationship with ourselves. Get to know yourself in this age, stage, body. We’re constantly changing and evolving. Take sometime to be your own companion. New passions and sense of purpose can emerge.

22. If it’s worth it, try again. If you find that you tried something a long time ago, or recently that perhaps you didn’t master or it didn’t pass muster and you think it’s worth it to try to master or learn it, go for it! I consider myself a pretty good cook and was incredibly disappointed at the 6 different times I tried to make pupusas and they were not like my Tia’s! But it’s worth it to me to keep trying because the pupusa is a tradition dish of El Salvador, my mother’s homeland and it’s a way for me to feel close to the culture and my roots. Plus, I have a large bag of masa that I have to use, so here we go. Perhaps one day I’ll write a post on mastery when I’ve mastered the pupusa! 

 

You can download the free New Year Resolutions for the Soul 8.5 x 11 Pdf where you can pick and choose which you’re attempting and on the reflection page write how it went for you. You might realize that it’s harder than you first imagined, especially if you’re used to the ‘hustle and grind’ or being so busy that you don’t know how to relax or even know what you like anymore. Self-kindness can be really hard if you’re not used it to, so know that it might take some time to develop this skill. 

If you’re interested in journaling gratitude or similar reflections for well-being, I have a few journals and guides on Amazon that can help you build this muscle. (Disclaimer: These are affiliate links and I will earn a small percentage for any item purchased through these links). 

 

 

I also have two 8×10 Vision Board Undated Monthly Planners that can help you visualize your goals for your well-being. The interiors are exactly the same, just the covers are different. What I love about them is that they’ll help you brainstorm values and goals for the year, visualize them by drawing or using images in blank pages, and planning behaviors to get people closer to the life they want to live. These are great planners for the year as it’ll get you thinking about what’s important to you, short and long term goals, and focus on the next steps you can take to reach them. There are 12 undated monthly calendars for you to fill in. In the pages after, there is are blank vision board pages with a habit tracker for each month to keep you focused and reminded.  

 

Know that you are worthy and exactly where you’re supposed to be right now in this moment. You are worthy in this year and the next. 

Please let me know how you like this New Year Resolutions for your Soul Reflection Page and feel free to share with others. 

Disclaimer: This post is for ideas only. It does not replace a relationship with a medical or therapy provider. 

Valued Living Starter Kit

I’m excite to share with you all my Valued Living Starter Kit. This Valued Living Kit was inspired by my love for vision boards and desire to stay focused on all that’s important in my life. When I developed my Vision Board Workshop, focusing on values first made so much sense to me. Focusing on values allows a person to reflect with intention about what’s important to them, how much of it is present or missing in their lives, and if they want to pursue those things.

I created this Values Starter Kit because I kept talking about this topic with my clients and I’d have them create makeshift to-do lists for themselves that involved their values. Since one of my values is wisdom and creating, I decided to create this kit for myself and my clients. My goal for you is to have you explore your values and match them up with meaningful and realistic actions (small steps) that will get you closer to your values and life goals.

I always tell my clients that I’ll never have them do something I’m not willing to do myself. So this project was also for me to get back to Value Based Living. I’ve found that when I was living my life in ways that were incompatible or far away from my real values (joy, family, health), I suffered more and had a feeling of being stuck. When I focused on setting small reminders for self-compassion or tolerating being good enough, or imposter syndrome, I found myself being much nicer to myself.

I invite you to dive in and use this kit as a tool to explore these areas of importance and tips on how to motivate toward actionable steps. I used a version of this Kit when engaging people in their Vision Boards and I saw that it not only helped me, but so many others identify their values, envision goals based on those values, and set small realistic goals for themselves to carry those out. People have told me that it helped them stay focused on their goals, and check them off yearly, monthly, weekly or daily!

The Kit includes the following 20 pages:

Pages 1-2 Introduction
Pages 3-4 Identifying Values
Page 5 Blank Values Pages
Page 6 Turning Values into Action
Page 7 Valuing Relationships
Page 8 Valuing Life
Page 9 Valuing Tolerating
Page 10 Valuing Myself
Page 11 Valued Living To Do List – Monthly
Page 12 Valued Living To Do List – Weekly
Page 13 Valued Living To Do List – Daily
Page 14 Valued Living To Do List – Yearly
Page 15 Valued Living Daily Reminders to tell myself
Page 16 Valued Living Reflections – Joy
Page 17 Valued Living Reflections – Barriers
Page 18 Valued Living Reflections – Visualizing
Page 19 Valued Living Reflections – Accountability
Page 20 Valued Living Reflections – Self-Compassion

***To purchase the 20 page Valued Living Starter Kit, please visit the MendingRootsShop page on Etsy. For the rest of March 2019 you can save 50% by using the code: MENDINGROOTS50

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Self-Compassion on Valentine’s Day

Self-compassion on Valentine’s Day (and everyday, multiple times a day) is going to be important for people who might have some pain associated with relationships and find themselves triggered on this day (pretty much everyone). While the commercialization of the day is widespread, we can’t help but see all messages about love, coupledom, and gifts galore. Which in and of itself, can be triggering. While this day is associatedwith intimate relationships (at least here in the U.S., in Latin America it’s deemed Day of Love and Friendship), I’d like to invite you all to examine the relationship with yourself and practice self-compassion on Valentine’s Day, regardless of your relationship status, plans for the day, and even beyond that. Self-Compassion expert, Dr. Kristin Neff defines self-compassion as encompassing three main parts: self-kindness, the commonality of suffering among all, and mindfulness of emotions without judgment (www.selfcompassion.org). Easy-pleasy, right?

Practicing self-compassion can be really hard especially for people who grew up hearing constant criticism about the things they do or about who they are. Self-compassion might also be hard for those who tend to use rigid thinking, aka black-and-white and all-or-nothing thinking. “Shoulding” on yourselves and others also makes it hard to practice compassion because there is frustrated judgment/expectations.

The way you do self-compassion is by: 1) acknowledge the suffering, which can sound like, “I’m feeling really lonely right now.” 2) Explore with value is being targeted, “connection/love is really important to me. I like being with people who love me and who I feel safe around.” 3) Be kind to yourself (Tip: ifthis is hard to do, think of what you would tell your 5 year old self who is feeling lonely). You can do this by engaging in healthy relationships (key: must be healthy and safe) or by nurturing the relationship with yourself by engaging in things you like to do, being creative, treating yourself with a healthy activity, listening to your body (rest, eat, sleep, exercise, stretch, take prescribed medications, etc.), 4) Lastly, connect with the commonality of suffering and how kind you’ve been to others. Then turn that compassion toward yourself: “Suffering is a normal part of life. If my best friend was suffering, I’d hold her and tell her, ‘I got you.'” Get you. Hold you. Be good to you. Say these nice things to yourself. 

Self-care and self-validation are also crucial any time of the year. Self-care is when you do things that are simply good for you. Whether it’s saying no to others, feeding yourself, resting, taking a long bath, or prioritizing paying your bills, all those things are good for you. Self-validation is when you acknowledge your struggle for what it is and can link how feeling a certain way makes sense for you given your experience. It can sound like, “Yes, it makes sense to feel this.” It’s not praise, it’s more of telling yourself that your emotions are are true and they matter. 

Want to get yourself or a loved one something wellness related? Check out these gift ideas (Disclosure: I am a part of the Amazon Affiliate Program where I earn a small commission from items purchased from these links. Which I in turn use, to buy new books to review and recommend): 

  1. A weighted blanket which is said to help with sleep for people who suffer from anxiety disorders, sensory issues and many other sensitivities. 

2. Gratitude journal 

3. Passion Planner to help focus on goal setting.

4. Journal Focused on Affirming and Self-Care

 

5. “Read me when” Cards: I created these cards for people to use as coping cards or reminders for when times are tough and it’s hard to remember the balanced thoughts you came up with. They are wallet sized and on matted card stock paper. Sometimes it can make all the difference in coping. To order some, feel free to email me at info@sofiamendozalcsw.com. Mention this blog and get 20 for $10. 

 

Want to listen to amazing podcasts that inspire healing, growth, creativity and self-love? Check out these that I’ve been personally obsessed with in the last month: 

Hey, Girl by Alex Elle 

The Art of Money by Bari Tessler 

First Gen Journey by Dr. Elisa Hernandez 

Latinx Therapy Podcast by Adriana Alejandra Alejandre, LMFT 

Rad and Happy Podcast by Tara Nearents

In closing, I wish you all a great day whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not. I wish you all moments of peace from your suffering. Ultimately, I wish for you to find the right words and actions that contribute to your well-being. 

For more updates on the blog, giveaways, and sources of inspiration, follow me on instagram at @mendingrootstherapy. 

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‘First Gen’ Compassion To-Say List

The term “First Gen” has become both a compassionate term of endearment and a resounding validation of experience. First Gen refers to First Generation – being the first in the family become a naturally born citizen in the United States. In my office, it also means First generation to take A.P. classes in high school, go to college, and/or become a professional. The experience of First Gens is a unique one that many can’t relate to which can leave First Gens feeling alone, misunderstood, with an incredible pressure to succeed in every life domain, and an underlying fear of being an imposter through it all. Today, I’m focusing on the themes that have come up in my First Gen therapy sessions, clinical supervision, and heart-to-hearts with the comadres and how compassion heals.

I take a radically open approach that incorporates acceptance and self-compassion. In my opinion, these are the hardest skills and concepts to continually practice, and yet, they’re the best ones for ultimate healing. The concept of the to-say list came from my First Gen clients. First Gen Professionals love them their To-Do lists. It’s what got them through high school AP classes, college and thriving in their professions. I #jokenotjoke that Self-Compassion and Acceptance skills need to be permanent items on the Daily To-Do list, and to add a dramatic flare, in the morning, noon, and night rows!

Acceptance as a skill is super important because one is accepting reality (whether current or in the past) as it is, “tal y como es.” This might mean accepting the emotion or struggle you’re experiencing. Acceptance helps in reducing our suffering because once we accept and let go of the struggle, we remove the internal tension and effort it takes to deny, avoid, or fight against it.

Self-compassion is the right hand to Acceptance in that, when used, it will save the day in a way that provides genuine self-comfort and validation. It should not be confused with praise or affirmations stating you’re “Amazing and gorgeous, strong beyond measure who can rock any hurdle that comes along.” It is a genuine effort to remind yourself of everything you’ve been through while taking it easy on yourself. It’s acknowledging that what’s hard is hard and you’re worthy of love and healing. I tell my clients that self-compassion is like giving yourself the same gentle care that you would to a hurt child, kitty or puppy who is scared, hurt and tattered. You would likely (if you’re a child or animal lover) clean the injuries up very gently, speak in a kind and low tone, and walk them through exactly what’s going to help heal them (putting this medication/ bandaid on you, taking you to the doctor, I know it hurts. I know you’re scared. Let’s feed you some food and help heal you).

Check out the First Gen Compassion To-Say List below and see if any resonate or are useful to you. I started with a validation statement. Threw our parents’ struggle in there, along with a little something on Love Languages. There’s a nod to the other side of “being independent” and asking for help. Imposter syndrome also makes an appearance, along with helping behavior being a compensatory strategy, and being enough exactly how you are. And it ends with self-care and healing as an individual and also as a community.

 

 

If you find yourself being intrigued by Acceptance and Self-Compassion Topics, I strongly urge you to check out my most favorite authors and books on the topic (the links below are Amazon affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from books purchased with these links):

Your loved one is depressed. How to tell them about therapy

 

You’re sitting with your BFF (best friend forever) as she’s depressed, in tears and describing her extremely painful situation(s). You feel so much for her and also feel frozen. You don’t know what to do or say to make her feel better. All you know is you want her pain to end and don’t know how. 

This is an all too common scenario among those with close relationships. For us empaths (“How to know if you’re an empath“), it can be incredibly hard to sit with challenging emotions or a problem that we can’t “fix” (even if we are 1000% certain we know how to fix it).

So, what the heck do you say to someone who has a lot of pain and several problems that need solving? By now you all know that this is a therapist’s blog and I’m going to recommend that you encourage them to seek professional help with a therapist. You also know that your loved one would benefit from therapy (whether or not you’ve gone to therapy yourself). You know that these problems are obviously too big for you and he to carry alone. And perhaps you can feel the toll it’s taken on your relationship or even your own well-being as a loved one.

“So how do I tell my loved ones to get therapy for depression (or any other mental illness), without stigmatizing or offending them?”

I get this question by clients, other friends, family members and and even fellow therapists ALL. THE. TIME.

Below is my list of things to remember and ways to tell a loved one that they’re in need of professional help.

  1. Start with validating their emotions. Validation is a little like stating the obvious – which is why a lot of people skip it, but people who are depressed really need to feel like their voice is heard or struggle is being seen. This is where you can say things like:
    • You are in so much pain right now.
    • I know this is really hard for you.
    • “You went through something really traumatic. It makes sense that you’re in pain.”
    • “I’m so sorry you’re suffering like this.”
  2. Introducing the idea of a therapist.
    • “You deserve to have someone who is unbiased, non-judgmental and in your corner – on your side.”
    • “A therapist doesn’t have all the history you and I do.”
    • “A therapist has a lot more tools and training than I do to help you.”
    • (For my fellow therapists) “Even though I’m a therapist, I can’t be your therapist. I’m your sister/brother/friend/partner/wife/husband. My love is not professional. Ethically, I can’t be your therapist. My advice is biased — all full of love for you.”
    • If they say they’ve tried therapy before and it didn’t work, encourage them to try with another therapist. Not all therapists will be helpful or the right fit. They can definitely shop around until finding “the one” for this situation, in this moment (sometimes different issues require different expertise).
  3. Why it all matters. We all deserve unconditional compassion.
    • “You deserve to heal appropriately.”
    • “You deserve to feel free to express yourself.”
    • “You deserve to be free of your depression.”
    • “You deserve to work through this issue without fear of judgment or that people will get offended.”
    • “You deserve to self-care. You take care of so many other people. You need someone just for you.”
    • “You don’t have to be alone in your suffering. A therapist can help you hold it appropriately.”
  4. How to seek referrals
    • If your loved one has insurance, there is a ‘member services’ phone number on it (most are on the back). Ask for their mental health services department. I recommend talking to a live person to have them email a list of their providers that are close to the home or work (or the city the person wants to seek services in). They can then cross reference that list online by searching the therapist and a website.
    • You can also type in the search engine of your choice, “Therapist in (city)” or by zipcode.
    • psychologytoday.com is an online therapist directory that you can filter by location and insurance.
    • If your loved one is an adult you won’t be able to call a therapist for them. The person seeking services has to make the call and schedule their appointment
  5. Resources and gifts that inspire healing. I have a Resources page with a variety of books on different issues to heal from. I also wrote an article focused on Mental Health Gifts that inspire healing.
  6. What about you? Yes, YOU! As a friend or family member, it can be difficult to hold all this pain and responsibility alone. If you’re finding yourself in a lot of emotional crises with family or friends, it’s critical for you to get your own support too. You might be having a lot of guilt feelings or a high degree of expectation for how you help them. It’s hard sitting with uncertainty and pain. Feelings and core beliefs of helplessness contribute to burnout, stress and your own ideas of what it means to be a true friend/family member. Sort it out with someone who is trained to work with burnout, self-care, and families afflicted by mental illness. Family Connections is a great source of support for loved ones of Borderline Personality Disorder or Emotion Dysregulation in general. I was trained by them and have implemented this support group in Spanish at Harbor UCLA. It made all the difference in loved ones being able to place appropriate boundaries, self-care and understanding for their family members. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is another great resource to anyone who has been impacted by mental illness (individuals and friends/family members). Check out these posts I wrote about convincing ourselves to self-care and basic self-care practices. They were written for parents, but the message applies to anyone shouldering the responsibility of helping in general. Implement the #meforwe or self(care)ish message if it helps.

   

7. Crises. If you feel that your loved one is a danger to themselves or others, I strongly urge you to call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency room. In Los Angeles County you can also call Department of Mental Health’s Access Hotline at (800) 854-7771 where you can speak to a mental health staff member and who can help with sending out the Psychiatric Mobile Response Team (PMRT) to your home to evaluate someone (wait times vary). Lots of police departments also have Mental Health Evaluations Teams that go out and conduct welfare checks to someone’s home and can also evaluate for a psychiatric hospitalization. Check with your local police station about this resource.

Lastly, I’d like to make myself available as a resource. After being trained in various family support models, I appreciate the love, struggle and compassion of family members. Feel free to contact me at info@sofiamendozalcsw.com to schedule a 15 minute consult to determine if you would benefit from therapy and support of your own.

15 Statements to Convince Yourself to Self-Care: A love letter to all parents

 

“What to say” Series:

Last week I wrote a blog post on 20 easy 5-minute self-care ideas for parents. Today, I continue the conversation in the guest post, “15 Statements to Convince Yourself to Self-Care: A love letter to all Parents” on The Productive Parent website. I provide 15 statements and quotes that parents can say to themselves when our guilt, shame or other unpleasant emotions get in the way of taking care for ourselves. I practice saying those statements to myself on a daily basis when I notice feeling overwhelmed and just not feeling well as I attempt to juggle all my roles.

Many parents are notorious for putting their needs last, and these 15 statements help to remind us of focusing on our well-being for our children and to model self-care for them too.

Since I don’t want to mislead you, I’ll continue the list and add 16 – 30 self-care quotes here.

16. You can’t collect water from an empty well.

17. Self-care allows me to reduce my stress little by little.

18. Self-care will help me calm down.

19. I make the wisest decisions when I’m calm.

20. A car stops running when it’s out of gas.

21. If I don’t take care of myself now, I run the risk of becoming sick later.

22. My children need to see me being good to myself.

23. Self-care = self-compassion.

24. I deserve care and compassion, just like my children do.

25. If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. – Jack Kornfield

26. Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths. – Etty Hillesum

27. “If I am not good to myself, how can I expect others to be good to me?” – Maya Angelou

28. “Setting boundaries is a way of caring for myself. It doesn’t make me mean, selfish, or uncaring because I don’t do things your way. I care about me too.” ― Christine Morgan

29. “When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”– Jean Shinoda Bolen

30.If you want to do your best for future generations of humanity, for your friends and family, you must begin by taking good care of yourself.”― Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche

I’m curious to know, what are your favorite self-care quotes? I’d love to make a list of 100 self-care statements for everyone to reference.

How to be a better parent by being Self(care)ish: 20 easy 5-minute ideas to nourish yourself

 

How to be a better parent by being Self(care)ish: 20 easy 5-minute ideas to nourish yourself

Sofia Mendoza, LCSW

Have you ever felt guilty or even selfish for indulging in some down time while your littles are in daycare, with grandparents or friends? If you have, you’re not alone. Every time I ask a parent about how they self-care, there’s a hesitation, then a laugh, and then a “well….” In my experience, not only is it hard for parents to talk about how they self-care, but for many, it brings up a lot of guilt about being selfish for doing pleasurable things for themselves without their kids. The good news is that for you to be the parent you want to be, who’s fun to be around, consistent in your discipline and loving, and present you must practice self-care daily. Self-care nourishes us, it helps ward off stress and illness, and it helps to clear our mind. If you’re like most parents I know, you’re probably feeling all kinds of depleted and in survival mode.

Flight attendants know this well and they remind us that in the event of an emergency aboard, to ensure that we put on our own oxygen mask on before helping others or children. I like to remind myself that I can’t pour from an empty cup. Audrey Lorde, a mother, warrior, civil rights activist and poet, describes the need for self-care as “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Self-care is crucial as we’re at the intersection of all our roles, responsibilities, and our own (unfair) expectations for ourselves.

Before you start engaging in self-care, start with changing the way your think about self-care. If you have thoughts that self-care is selfish, try swapping it for “self(care)ish.” I think it’s important to acknowledge when “selfish” comes up and I’m not asking you to abandon it, simply swap it. You can also try hashtagging or swapping it for the phrase #meforwe. You’re taking care of yourself now, for the benefit of your important “we” later.

Finding the time or money can be a barrier for self-care, that’s why I asked family, friends, and clients about their favorite 5-minute crucial self-care ideas. The response was great and we all agreed that these 5-minutes of self-care would not solve our biggest problems, but they definitely contribute to having a clear mind to be able to tackle the big ticket-heavy duty problems throughout our day.

Take a look at these easy and (mostly) free 20 5-minute Self-Care Ideas that anyone can do to help fill up their cup:

  1. A 5 minute bathroom break alone.
  2. Drinking your morning coffee/tea warm and alone before the children wake up (extra points if you sit down or put your feet up).
  3. Set out a few outfits at night so that you’re not scrambling in the AM.
  4. Sitting in the car and closing your eyes for 5 minutes.
  5. Put on your favorite dancing song and go at it.
  6. Singing or listening to THE song. The one that provides you with clarity, good memories, energy.
  7. Looking through pictures of your loved ones.
  8. Calling a friend who makes you laugh and “gets you.” You might say to them, “I need you to make me laugh right now. I only have 5 minutes.”
  9. Gratitude journaling. Take stock of the good in your life and write it down.
  10. Belly breathing. Good quality breathing is great for managing anxiety and resetting the system.
  11. I’m a big fan of 5 minutes of skimming or even reading bits of an article or book.
  12. Listening to books on tape or audible. A friend of mine loves listening to podcasts or Ted Talks on youtube. This can be done while driving, washing dishes, or even making dinner.
  13. You can color with your children or take it a step further and use an adult coloring book.
  14. Come up with a term of endearment for yourself. “My dear;” “My love;” “Amorcito;”
  15. See free apps like Headspace, Mindfulness, Simple Habit Meditation, Relax Meditation, Calm Meditation, 5 minute escapes – Guided Meditations.
  16. Drinking water – it’s important to stay hydrated.
  17. Taking medications, vitamins or supplements. After taking my emergenC, I usually feel like a champ and every time I get sick, I realize I haven’t been keeping up with my vitamin regimen.
  18. Self-compassion. It’s incredibly important and can sound like this:
    • Replace “selfish” with “self(care)ish to remind yourself that you need some you time to be well for everyone else
    • Tell yourself that you can’t pour from an empty cup and that’s why you are choosing to be kind to yourself
    • You’re doing the best you can right now
    • Parenting is hard. My love [or whichever term of endearment you came up with], you’re doing a very hard thing right now. Be easy on yourself.
    • It’s ok to feel [insert emotion]. My dear, you’ve been through a lot
  19. Watch funny or heartwarming videos (the ones with the dressed-up dogs or baby hedgehogs)
  20. Engage any of your five senses and observe (taste, touch, smell, see, hear)

I had a really hard time limiting this list to 20 self-care activities. I bet there are lots of things you all are already doing. Feel free to share your favorite ideas in the comments. My goal is to provide a 100-idea list in the future.

Coming up with self-care ideas can be hard, especially if you’re dealing with a lot of stress, depression or anxiety. Remind yourself to get help if you need it. Therapy can be a great way for you to be able to self-care, be kind to yourself, and focus on your well-being. You deserve it. You are the most important person in your child’s life.

 

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