As we step into December, we get ready to end the Gregorian New Year, wrap up work with our clients and their families, and prepare for the holidays. We keep in mind ways to hold our clients and their families through the winter break. We often put ourselves on the back burner as we tend to others. We play multiple roles in our families (chosen or biological and sometimes both). We are the nurturers. We are the “listening ear.” We are the ones who hold compassion. We are the “understanding ones.” We are the givers. We can be challenged to give to ourselves what we generously offer to others – compassion, love, kindness and grace.
In Audre Lorde’s collection of essays, “A Burst of Light,” she reclaims self-care as self-preservation and “an act of political warfare.” She invites us to tend to our hearts and soul – as means to heal. That is the essence of radical self-care. Inviting us to say “no” and re-prioritizing ourselves, which is crucial in order to continue doing our work. We’ve all been bombarded with “self-care activities” such as getting our “me time.” While that is a start, we must step further into the act of radical self-care in order to heal ourselves, those who were unable to heal in past generations and our seeds, so they carry a little less than we do in this lifetime. For example, for many first generation folx like myself, we tend to over-work and often hear family members telling us “Not be lazy” and not to take time off when we are really “not that sick.” Value is placed on working and taking a day off is considered a luxury. I invite folx to reclaim their time and deconstruct how this has shown up in their personal lives. As Audre Lorde reminds us, “it’s self-preservation.” I invite readers to deconstruct and challenge the narratives that have been passed down through generations and become societal norms.
- Be intentional – what does your heart and soul need?
- Practice self-compassion – don't measure your “productivity” on “how much” you get done. Be gentle with yourself. Maybe your body needed to just binge watch and not necessarily get “anything” done.
- Tap into your joy. What makes you laugh? What makes you smile? Find one thing that taps into your joy and do it. Then do more of it.
- Play music that makes your soul smile.
- Tap into your creativity whether it’s drawing, painting, coloring mandalas, writing, acting etc.
- Move. Stretch. Dance. Spend time connecting with your body.
- Set time aside to unplug to tend to your soul.
- Connect with nature. Walk barefoot on grass, sit outside and let the sun kiss your face. Feel the breeze. Breathe.
- Eat food that helps bring balance. Remember that foods like hummus, grapes, nuts and oranges help when feeling stressed.
- Increase serotonin by practicing gratitude at the beginning and end of your day.
Helpful tips on “how boundaries can sound like during the holidays” from @selfloverainbow:
- Asking questions
- Not being available at all times.
- Vocalizing your needs
- Outgrowing a place or situation.
- Your accomplishments
- Not looking “presentable”
- Doing things that make you happy.
- Having boundaries.
- @selfloverainbow – will give you reminders on how to take care of your body, soul and heart.
- @thetappingsolution – it's a great resource on using tapping for anxiety and helping you sleep.
- Set up a monthly calendar of acts of self-care. Check out the calendar on Light the Change’s (LTC) monthly newsletter, “In the Kitchen."
“It can be scary to rest. To slow down can feel terrifying. Also liberating. Be in your body. Intuit more. Breathe more. Tap on your energy centers more. Consciously & constantly clear your space. You are building a Growth map. One that leads to your best Self. This is magic too.” - @DrJennyJennM (Decolonizing Therapy)
Blog Post Written By: Karina Gonzalez, Clinical Supervisor