How was week two of the self-care series? Was it challenging to focus on your psychological self-care? Did you end up having to say "no" to extra responsibilities? If so, what was it like to put yourself first? Did you notice your physical self-care start to slack, as you were giving more attention to your psychological self-care? It can be hard to find a balance in taking care of all areas of self!
This week, our focus is on emotional self-care. This can be especially challenging for people who have experienced trauma, addiction, or other challenges in living, as we tend to want to avoid uncomfortable emotions at all costs! In addition, it can be very hard for some people to identify, let alone express, what they are feeling in different situations. Many people don't learn healthy emotional expression as a child. Instead, they witness adults holding back tears in order to be perceived in a certain manner or adults overreacting to minor situations. These experiences frame the way children learn how to express their own emotional states.
Take a moment to reflect on the following questions. Have you ever told yourself to stop crying? Have you ever been so angry that you later regretted something you did or said? Have you ever told someone that you were "good" or "fine," when you were really falling apart inside? These are not uncommon experiences. So, why are we so uncomfortable expressing how we are feeling? I'll explore this idea further in a future blog post.
For now, I offer you some ideas on how to improve your emotional self-care. See the list below, borrowed from the self-care inventory published by NAMI (National Association of Mental Illness), and choose a few things to focus on this week:
1. Allow for quality time with others whose company you enjoy
2. Maintain contact with valued others
3. Give self affirmations and praise
4. Love self
5. Reread favorite book or review favorite movies
6. Identify and engage in comforting activities, objects, people, relationships and places
7. Allow for feeling expression (laugh, cry, etc...)
How often are you doing these things currently? Were you surprised by anything on this list? What would you add to the list? I noticed that this is a relatively short list, compared to the others, but there are so many ways to do the things on this list. Allow yourself to get creative! Expressing emotions can be done in many different ways -- through art, music, movement, words, etc. Find what works for you!
I look forward to seeing your progress on social media. Don't forget to use the hashtag #selfcareseries and follow me on Instagram (@uncharted_territory_counseling) or Facebook (@unchARTedTerritoryCounseling) to track my progress, too!
Ready to schedule your first session? Please contact me to discuss treatment options, fees, and insurance coverage.