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 Blog Spot  

Self Care 

Melissa Dardiz LMHC 

What would happen if you run your car on an empty tank? The usual response is things like, “The engine would blow, or it would break down”. Never is the response “It will run smoothly and effectively.” So why as humans do, we expect our bodies to operate “smoothly and effectively” on an empty tank? Basic self care for our human bodies is such an important factor that so many of us lack. I am talking about foundational level things here; sleep, hydration, physical activity, nutrition, positive social interactions with other and engaging in activities we find some pleasure in.

Sleep provides our body the ability to rebuild and recharge, not getting enough will cause us to be overly emotional and reactive, as well as affect our health over time. Hydration am I getting enough fluid in my body daily, if not I will feel weak, dizzy or lightheaded. How will this affect my daily activities. Physical activities decrease stress levels, increase positive moods, provide energy throughout the day and help us get more restful sleep at night. Physical activities can be anything you do that you are being physically active doing, not just going to a gym and lifting weights. Physical activity can be going for a walk, swimming, bike riding, dancing around your house, the list goes on and on.

Nutrition at the very minimum needs to be enough calorie intake for the amount of energy you be exerting daily. Are you eating from all the major food groups daily, do you like fruits and vegetable? Positive social interactions with others needs to be regular, think about the people that are taking care of themselves, the individuals who you care about and enjoy their company. Think about the people who will encourage motivate and inspire you. Try to avoid the toxic unhealthy interactions they can be draining and counterproductive.

 Lastly engaging in healthy activities, you find pleasure in. This doesn’t have to be something that breaks the bank or even cost money. Go to a local library, watch a self-help show, rearrange or organize something in your home, read, write, draw, color, do a puzzle, watch the sun set or rise, star gaze at night. Learn about yourself and what you like.

This task does not have to be perfect, simply step back and look at this list and ask yourself how I am doing in these areas and how can I get a little better. In working on any goals or getting through stressful situations these are imperative.

Single Parenting 101

Elena Clemente LMHC

When going through a separation or divorce, one may feel overwhelmed, lost, unsure, on how to handle daily tasks without that significant other by their side. And when children are part of this new chapter of your life, as a newly single parent, you may face challenges which not only makes it difficult to take care of your needs, but your children’s needs as well. These five easy methods can help restore balance and create a positive environment for the single parent home:

➢ Be Self-Care Aware – As a single parent, we often focus on the needs of our children and forget about our own needs. Be sure to schedule “downtime” for yourself. Have lunch with a friend. Give yourself a “’Spa Day”. Make, and keep, that doctors’ appointment you’re setting aside. Get a proper night’s rest. Trouble focusing, feeling scatter-brained? Try a yoga or Thai Chi class. While being a parent is already challenging, being a single parent can be more physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Remember, making time for you isn’t selfish, it’s self-care!

➢ Rules of Engagement – Being a single parent can sometimes cause feelings of loneliness. Thoughts which lead to expectations you’re to face this new chapter alone. Research local programs, events, groups, which are specifically for single parent families. Keep other family members involved by asking for help with childcare or preparing a meal if you’re feeling under the weather. Don’t have a close-knit family? What about a neighborhood Sunday potluck? Who knows! The children, and you, may make a new friend or two.

➢ Don’t Hesitate to Delegate – Maintaining a positive, well-balanced, structured environment as a single parent can seem impossible at times. But knowing when, what, and how to delegate responsibilities, can not only take pressure off you, but also help instill the value of teamwork and the satisfaction of helping others in your children. House needs a good cleaning? Plan a day with your kids and make it a family event. Assign tasks which are age appropriate and within achievable means. Find creative ways to make the day fun. Have a “Job Well Done” reward such as a homemade sundae or a popsicle on the patio. Children need a ride to school? Ask a neighbor you trust. Offer to share the responsibility with your neighbor by either taking or picking up their kids. Have a responsible teenager at home who can drive? Offer your teen gas money to help chauffeur their siblings around. Delegating can not only improve your overall well-being, but can create responsible, caring young adults later.

➢ Some Assembly Required – Staying connected with our kids is hard. Between cell phones, computers, gaming, and social media, getting and keeping your child’s attention is a real struggle. Start by involving your children in creating a daily routine. Set a time for the family to communicate and connect with one another. Have guidelines to create an environment for open, honest, non-judgmental conversation. Always acknowledge your child’s feelings while making sure your feelings are acknowledged too. Use kind, supportive words and avoid playing “The Blame Game”. When your kids share their feelings, be an “active” listener but also patient if they struggle expressing themselves. Have small children? Set aside time to play with them on their level. A bedtime routine can create connections by reading a bedtime story together.Just spending time together, even in small measures, will benefit everyone!

➢ What’s Eating You? – For the single parent, when trying to manage home life, work, children, social activities, practice schedules, and numerous other obligations, what to have for family meals is often settled by drive-thru’s, take-out, or a delivery service. While proper nutrition is important for the entire family, what is also important is the time spent having family meal time together. This includes letting the children help with prep work, setting the table, and even cooking if your child is old enough.

In addition, having a meal plan in place will help remove the guess work of what to make. Still don’t feel there’s enough hours in your day? Long work days have you feeling wiped-out? Set aside time on the weekend to make quick, ease meals which can be stored in the fridge or freezer, then popped in the oven or microwave. By planning ahead, you’ll find it easier to have healthy, nutritious meals, and snacks, for not only your children, but yourself too. Going through a divorce, or separation, is a life changing event for each family member. While there is no “One Size Fits All” solution for those dealing with the changes such an event can bring, remember it’s okay to seek out and ask for help if needed. Join a support group, enlist the services of a therapist or life coach, read self-improvement books. The key to recovery is to keep moving forward!

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Journal Writing

Elena Clemente LMHC

Therapists often assign daily journal writing as a way to teach clients to gain insight and discover their authentic self. If you are curious about the benefits of keeping a daily journal than try this activity: Set a timer for fifteen minutes and write free style without judgement. If it's difficult to write than ask yourself: What are my negative/positive thoughts?  What am I thankful for?  What did I do well today? What could I have done better?  What action do I need to take to resolve a conflict? Self reflection through writing is an ideal way to process your emotions and develop self awareness.

For me, writing is especially helpful when I'm worried about what the future may bring or I notice I'm stuck in a negative thought pattern. When I write in my journal it helps me to stay centered. It's like taking anxiety off my chest and putting it on paper.  I then no longer carry that burden and can let the struggle go.

For the next thirty days consider writing in a journal daily.  Write down whatever comes to mind and see after this process what a difference writing has made in your life. 

Stop Caring What People Think

Fear of Being Judged

 Kara James Lifecoach

We often spend too much time caring about what others think of us. Everyone wants to feel liked and accepted but conforming to other people’s standards and wants for your life can lead you to feel trapped, unhappy and it stops you from being free and your true self. Always listen to your inner voice, have faith in yourself and do what is right for you. Stop asking for approval.

It is easy to allow negative thoughts to take over and to behave like these thoughts are facts, causing you to feel hurt, angry or distressed. You may be jumping to conclusions or only seeing the bad in situations. Question every negative thought you have, you may find your mind is creating conflict or version of events that don’t exist.

Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and who you can be your true authentic self around. Distance or remove yourself from anyone that tries to bring you down and don’t pay attention to the opinions of people that you don’t get you. It is important to remember that not everyone will like you and that is fine. However, you don’t need to put up with unnecessary drama or negative remarks. We are often conditioned by those closest to us and our environments - make sure you choose to be surrounded by positivity.

At the end of the day everyone gets judged, we all judge. Your opinion of yourself is all that matters. Passing judgment is a fact of life, learn to accept and embrace it.