If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know I’m kind of a self-care nut. It is so incredibly important to take the time to focus on yourself if you are in recovery from trauma, addiction, or mental health issues. This is truly how sustained recovery is maintained. I, as much as each one of you, would love if there was a “quick fix” or “miracle pill” to take away addiction, trauma history, or mental health concerns. But, this is just not the case. Like any disease, an addiction, trauma history, or mental health issue is something that needs to be managed throughout life. There may be times where a relapse (to addictive behavior, intrusive trauma symptoms, or an episode of depression or anxiety) is more likely and it is important to constantly be working on improving your own self-care to build your resilience and have tools on hand so you’re ready to strike back, if and when a high risk situation presents itself.
Yes, I’m a therapist. But, I’m also a human. I’m a trauma survivor myself. And, like you, I struggle with maintaining a regular self-care routine. That being said, I try to keep myself accountable to practicing simple self-care strategies at least once a month. I’ve found some things that have really helped me and I plan to share a new strategy with you each month to, hopefully, help you too! Some of these strategies may feel like a good fit and some may not, so I encourage you to take what works for you and leave the rest. No hard feelings! If you have any ideas or feedback on things you’ve found that work for you, please feel free to shoot me an e-mail and let me know! I’m happy to feature any self-care strategies that you guys have found to be helpful.
So, here we are. January 2018. One of my favorite self-care strategies to start the New Year on a positive foot is to participate in one of Adriene Mishler’s 30 day yoga challenges.
Flashback to 2015: While working as a therapist in Illinois, a highly anxious client of mine shared that they were starting a free, 30 day yoga challenge on YouTube. As I saw the mental transformation with this particular client, I had to learn more, so I did some research. I found the Yoga with Adriene (YWA) YouTube channel and started watching some of her free yoga videos. When January 2016 rolled around, I participated in Yoga Camp (the second annual New Year yoga journey). Despite being unable able to complete the whole 30 consecutive days (did I mention that I’ve struggled with finding the time for self-care?), I did notice a transformation.
One thing I loved about this challenge, and all of the subsequent YWA’s yoga journeys, is that they not only focus on physical fitness and working on the body, but they also address the mind. Adriene talks about those unhelpful thought patterns that keep us stuck in unhealthy habits. She encourages you to acknowledge those thoughts and challenge the unhelpful self-talk that comes up. She lovingly embraces you where you are at, both on and off your mat, and encourages you to practice the same commitment to unconditional self-love. I was hooked and continued to practice Yoga with Adriene throughout the year. In January 2017, I participated in and completed Yoga Revolution and today, I am 14 days into TRUE: 30 Day Yoga Journey.
In addition to free yoga videos every day, Adriene sends a little love note to your e-mail every day (I know, more e-mail?). This is the first year I’ve really taken the time to read through the messages associated with the daily practice as well and, let me tell you, it’s totally worth the influx of e-mail in your inbox. The first quote I received in my mailbox was this: “The word motive comes from the Latin words motivus, meaning moving, and movere, meaning to move. Think of motive as the thing that moves you to act.” Given that my word of the year for 2018 is movement, this felt so perfect and reinforced that this 30 day yoga journey is a great way to start my year.
One more awesome thing about Yoga with Adriene? It’s totally free. No strings attached. All of her 30-day yoga challenge videos are available for free on YouTube. If you are craving more YWA, you can sign up to be a member of her Find What Feels Good community for exclusive content. However, I find that what she offers for free is plenty to keep me busy and enough to focus on my self-care (among the other things I’m doing - more on those later). So, what are you waiting for? Check out YWA here and see if it’s a good fit. You truly have nothing to lose.
Want to learn more about self-care or need some guidance on how to manage your addiction, trauma history, or mental health concerns? Contact me to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to see if therapy might be a good fit.