Self Care

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If you’ve worked in social services, you’ve likely heard about “self-care” so many times you’ve lost count.  If not, you might be encountering this term for the first time as we all [hopefully] spend more time investing in our mental and emotional well-being while we’re distancing.

Whether you’ve heard it once or a hundred times, you might wonder why people place so much emphasis on the idea of “self-care”.  One of our Sexual Assault Counselors, Naicia, shares her thoughts:

Why do we encourage self-care?

Trauma compromises our wellbeing. Taking an active role to care for our mental, emotional, and physical health can be a challenging journey. People who have been repeatedly wounded by another person may come to understand that they lack worth  or are not deserving of having their needs met. A survivor’s world is distorted by enduring repeated crises. When the brain is trained to be on hyper-alert for safety, the idea of feeling well doesn’t make sense. Avoiding and ignoring emotions may seem safer. 

Self-care is giving space to see yourself as deserving of emotional and physical wellbeing. Activities that encourage movement like music, dance, yoga, and exercise allow the body to release intense emotions in a nonverbal way. Creative expressions of art, writing, music, and crafts also release the energy of trauma in healthy ways. Focused breathing releases stress and tension and slows heightened awareness and flashbacks that impede day to day functioning. Positive affirmations empower self-awareness and increase self-esteem.

Consistently practicing things that energize us and center us at the moment slowly rewire the brain to recognize that our present needs are important. Nurturing self-care activities can help us gain control over stressful emotions.

Whether you are the victim of abuse or enduring higher than normal stress due to our unprecedented circumstances, don’t forget that you matter.  You are valuable.  You deserve to invest in yourself.  Take the time to remind your brain, body, and spirit that you matter.

What are your favorite self-care activities?  What are the things that ground you or lift your spirits?  Share them in the comments!  You never know who you might inspire!

National Avocado Day

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Avocado…the trickiest food to prepare, the key ingredient in guacamole, and the reason millennials aren’t able to afford to buy houses.

I love avocados.  I didn’t when I was younger, but something changed in me.  I grew older.  I grew wiser.  I grew avocado-ier.  Now, I want avocados on everything.  Avocados in my smoothies.  Avocados on my toast.  Avocado on my omelettes.  Avocado everywhere.

I know avocados are pretty expensive. They are a hassle to cut and difficult to store.  They have to be shipped to Illinois from thousands of miles away, meaning they may be a green choice but they aren’t a GREEN choice.  I know older generations often look down on my generation for our avocado love.

But the thing is, I still love them.  I feel good when I eat avocados.  They make me happy.  And isn’t that what self-care is all about?  Doing things that you love that make you feel healthy?  Doing things that remind you of the good in the world?  It may seem silly, but when I’m having a bad day, I remember that I live in a world where I can eat avocados and suddenly life feels just a little bit more okay.  And that’s no small thing.

What do you love?  What brings you joy and health and peace?  What are the small things that you can do to care for your precious self?  Don’t worry if other people don’t understand.  Find your avocado and love it with all the fierceness of your powerful heart.

Love Yourself

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Happy Valentine’s Day from your friends at Safe Passage! We understand this day evokes different emotions for everyone, and that’s okay! Maybe the holiday brings sadness or anger as you’re reminded of a past relationship. Maybe you feel left out or ashamed because you don’t have a partner to celebrate the day with. Maybe you’re perfectly happy eating candy hearts and chocolates next to your loved one. Whatever you’re feeling today, it is okay to feel that way, but this Valentine’s Day and every day, let’s practice loving and caring for ourselves.

Self-care is critical in living a happy and healthy life. It can help us physically, emotionally and mentally by boosting our confidence, attitudes and perspectives on things life throws at us. Self-care doesn’t need to take a lot of time, or money. It doesn’t have to be as extravagant as a full blown spa day; it can be as simple as reading a book or going for a walk.    

This Valentine’s Day, take care of yourself, remind yourself of your accomplishments, and don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back – after all, you deserve to be complimented! Give us a call, 815.756.5228, let’s talk about what you’re doing to care for yourself.

For more ideas on how to practice self-care, click here.