Hello Wonder Friends!
I talk a lot about self-care and work/life balance in my Healing the Healer trainings. For this blog, I asked my wonderful husband and training partner, Rocky, to share his perspective on this topic. Take it away Rocky. (And thanks!)
We all want balance in our lives, don’t we? But how often do we get there? And what is work/life balance, anyway? Is it even possible?
I can become very stressed if I have loads of work to do and worry that I do not have enough time to get it all done. So what do I tend to do? I don’t take breaks to go to the gym for a workout. I cancel plans with a friend to squeeze in a few more hours of work. I forego that healthy salad and instead order a greasy burger. Or, sometimes, I don’t eat at all.
Then I find myself overwhelmed. And I distract myself by scrolling through puppy pix.
This makes me very happy 🙂
Although humor and puppies do create happiness and relieve stress (for me anyway), I know I have to do more tangible self-care techniques. These are the techniques that we talk about in Healing the Healer that work for me:
The first thing I do is figure out what’s going on (#awareness)… am I stressed and, if so, what are the symptoms I’m experiencing?
If I’m getting stuck about what’s going on for me, I look at this list of common symptoms that can result from stress and overwhelm::
• Survival Coping
• Social Withdrawal
• Anger & Cynicism
• Insensitivity to Violence
• Chronic Exhaustion
• Physical Ailments
• Poor Boundaries
• Loss of Creativity
• Inability to embrace complexity
• Inability to listen or avoidance of clients
• Diminished Self-Care
When I go through this list, I realize I experience many symptoms such as avoidance, survival coping, social withdrawal, diminished self-care, and others. But one of the things that really jumps out for me is: guilt.
Guilt is one of the big ones that keeps me from taking care of myself when I have so much to do. I feel like I just can’t make the time to take care of myself or I’ll become more overwhelmed. I have a hard time concentrating or feeling good. It affects my relationships, as I feel like I’m letting friends and family –or Rachel–down when there are still items on my to-do list.
And we hear that same thing from many helping professionals during our
Knowing this about myself, I realized I needed to weave self-care into my to-do list, to make it as important as the other to-dos. (As important as brushing my teeth!)
So instead of eliminating the activities and commitments that bring joy and balance to my life, I honor them for what they truly do for me. I’ve been reading books that inspire me. I put gym workouts into the calendar and stick to it. I have been incorporating more veggies and water into my diet. I take breaks during the day and get outside for walks to get a little sun and fresh air. And Rachel and I support each other to do this when one of us (Rachel) is nestled comfortably in (yes, in) our couch office beneath cozy (very warm) blankets and is reluctant to rise (Rachel).
I also incorporate fun things that bring humor and lightness to pull us out of it. Puppies anyone?
Or art. (Rachel paints her rocks for training participants while I read or watch
Need some help and ideas for your own self-care? You can learn more about your own individual self-care needs–and spark ideas for self-care strategies– by completing a self-care assessment. This is an effective tool we use during Healing the Healer sessions for assessing each of the following realms: Physical, Psychological, Emotional, and Spiritual, Workplace or Professional Self-Care and Balance.
Download the self-care assessment worksheet and learn where you may need a little more love and attention.
(Self-care assessment adapted from: Transforming the Pain: A Workbook on Vicarious Traumatization. Saakvitne, Pearlman & Staff of TSI/CAAP (Norton, 1996). Thank you!)
You can use the assessment as a touchstone and an ongoing self-care practice. For example, you can review this each week or month and take note of any improvements in each of the realms and track your progress over the course of a year.
And if you want to create a creative self-care plan using mindfulness, painting, and journaling practices, you can check out Rachel’s free video here: Self-Care Portrait: Nourishing Your Mind, Body, Spirit & Heart
Self-Care & Stress Relief Corner:
One of our favorite podcasts we listen to during our road trips is the TED Radio Hour. A recent episode really struck a chord with us. The episode is titled Approaching With Kindness and we really found it engaging and relevant to our Healing the Healer mission and values, specifically with gratitude and appreciation at the workplace.
Here is a link to listen or download the podcast, and links to the TED talks referenced during the podcast: Approaching With Kindness – Ted Radio Hour
What’s Up With Rachel & Rocky Corner:
In January and February 2019, we had a wonderful time teaching Healing the Healer workshops and
In Mendocino County, we taught a Healing the Healer training for staff along with a renewing staff retreat for managers (our third year in a row!). In addition to individual paintings, they captured their shared vision for the department in a beautiful Wisdom Tree:
In mid-February, we drove to Southern California with our workshop supplies filled to the brim in our car, Black Beauty, to teach creativity workshops for foster youth at the Orangewood Children and Family Center and Healing the Healer to group counselors. We are always inspired after teaching there and this time we got to attend a fantastic celebration of Black History month put on by some of the amazing staff members. This is a cool painting created for the event by one of the youth we met:
And just last week we delivered two half-day Healing the Healer
Here are some room setups from some recent
What’s coming in March: Although we do enjoy our long drives to Southern California from our home in Portland, with our love of podcasts, trail mix and spotting cute farm animals from the highway, we decided to book flights for our upcoming Healing the Healer trainings for Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties in Southern California in March 25-April 5th, 2019. We’ll resume our road trips for the late spring and summer when there isn’t a snowpocalypse to drive through.
Additional Resources Corner:
At the end of 2018, we bought a copy of this wonderful book written for social workers and helping professionals to support self-care. We found this invaluable resource easy to read and it includes lots of supportive evidence for the self-care techniques presented in the book. We love it so much that we now make it available during the Healing the Healer
Book & Video: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo
If you already know author and organizing consultant Marie Kondo is, then you have probably already seen (or at least heard of) her Netflix show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. We really love her organizational and decluttering philosophy because it emphasizes being mindful, introspective and forward-looking. We’ve been decluttering our space, too, using her principles and trying to keep only those things that “spark joy” for us. (Full disclosure: the process is a lot easier for Rocky than it is for Rachel.) Take a look HERE.
Free Resources Corner:
FREE APP ::: MyFitnessPal to document meals, calories, exercise and water consumption
Full transparency here, folks!
Since we travel so much for work it has been hard to consistently track what and how much we eat. We’ve been using this app for a few weeks now and find it very easy to track calories (love scanning the bar codes!) and log all food, exercise
Global Social Welfare Digital Summit
In the January newsletter, we mentioned that Rachel will be presenting during the 2nd Annual Global Social Welfare Digital Summit March 19th – March 22nd. This is an all online digital conference so you can attend the conference from any place in the world with an internet connection. The conference themes will focus on advocacy, trauma-informed care, self-care and healing, and solutions. Also, you may be eligible for up to 10 continuing education credits (CEUs) to those who attend the entire summit. If you haven’t visited the summit website yet please go take a look. My presentation is on the morning of March 22nd and will be centered on creating a self-care plan for work/life balance. We hope to see you there! Please take a look HERE.
We thank you for visiting the Wonder Blog.
May you have a wonderful month!
– Rachel (& Rocky)