Compassion for others, empathy for those senselessly taken in gun-related tragedies, and the strong desire to help others can set change in motion. Along with those amazing qualities, we also know that at times, we may tend to put others’ needs before our own or stretch ourselves too thin. Sound familiar? Recall the counterintuitive example of a mother on board an airplane needing to aid herself first by placing the oxygen mask on before helping her child.
As captured by Shel Silverstein in The Giving Tree, if we repeatedly sacrifice ourselves for the happiness of others, we’ll eventually have nothing left to give. So too are we responsible to care for ourselves for the betterment of those we care for and the causes we support.
The positive ripple effect provided by our own self-care is modeled and passed onto those we encounter on many levels. The well-nurtured caretaker can have more to give to themselves and others without becoming depleted. Take time for your own self-care on a regular basis. Carve out specific time slots for your self-care practice two to three times per week for one hour each time.
Create an Intention
Here are creative, intention-oriented methods to enhance calmness. First, quiet the inner chatter; breathe deeply to bring calm and stillness. Second, identify your goal or intention. For example, “it is my intention to explore my feelings; or gain self-awareness; or promote healing.” Allow any thoughts to trail away without holding onto them. Breathe. Thirdly, use imagery to flutter in and out of your inner eye, again without holding onto them. Then enjoy the awareness that you are creating your intention and wellness.
Finding Your Inspiration
Seek inspiration and knowledge through gifted leaders in your area of interest. Exposure to that which we desire to create will bring forth inspiration. Visit an art museum or sculptural exhibit. Seek out the type of environment that brings you the most calmness and contentment. Hike through the woodlands or feel the texture of the sand at your feet. Soak in your senses and draw in that natural energy. Negativity obstructs free flowing creativity. Banish negative thoughts and replace them with kind and loving messages to yourself.
Lastly, find time weekly for your own personal care regime. Let it supplement your healthy coping strategies. It will provide a platform for exploration and remediation and free your mind of worry and stress. Above all, you will gain empowerment through the creative process and also help free yourself of stress. Thank you for all that you do!
For more ideas on self-care practices, please read pages 27-28 in this PDF.