For this month's education piece, we wanted to bring the focus of personal self-care to our Promise Leaders since we know the inner qualities brought to this role are compassion for others, empathy for those senselessly taken in gun-related tragedies, and the strong desire to help others and 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 assisting/rescuing her helpless 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, as Promise Leaders, 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.
Here are creative intention-oriented methods to enhance physiological and mental calmness: Quiet the inner chatter; engage in deep breathing exercises to bring calm and stillness. Identify your goal or intention. An intention may be for example: "It is my intention to explore the underpinnings of my thoughts/feelings/behaviors; or gain self-awareness; or promote healing and acceptance." Allow any thoughts to trail away without holding onto them. Breathe. Use imagery to flutter in and out of your inner eye, again without holding onto them. Then enjoy the intuitive awareness that you are the instrument engaged in creating your intention and wellness.
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 loving, empathic messages to yourself.
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. 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.