Guest Blogger Sherry Duson, MA – “Speaking of Time”

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpgWelcome to Self-Care Month! We’re proud to present our readers with our first Saturday guest blogger, Sherry Duson, MA. Sherry holds Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist licenses in Texas and she’s also a State of Texas board-certified clinical Supervisor for both licenses. She’s about to expand her practice to include The Center for Postpartum Family Health. You can read more about Sherry at SherryDuson.com or on Facebook.

Do you ever find yourself running through your day at a pace that leaves you exhausted?  Are you frantically trying to cram in more errands or mark one more item off of your to-do list, only to find it leaves you depleted and spent?  For most women, our relationship with “time” is a complicated one. This leads me to an item of self-care which I believe is not discussed often enough, which is our conscious use of TIME.  Perhaps it is a remnant of the deeply embedded American work ethic, but many of us corrupt the quality of our days by taking on more to do than is realistic, and then carry a mantra of negative self-talk about not getting enough done.  This year might be a good time to re-think your relationship with time, and make the adjustments necessary to help you feel that you run your day instead of it running you.

I would challenge you to find a pace which is realistic for YOUR UNIQUE SELF, based on an honest assessment of your energy and stamina and a conscious decision to adjust accordingly.  If you have no idea of how much is too much, you may need to start with a little self-discovery.  Begin by taking inventory of your well-being throughout the day. Take a break every two hours and take a quick check of how you are feeling in that moment.  Just give yourself a number on a scale of 1-10. Notice how it changes throughout the day. If you start your day at a high number and then it deteriorates throughout the day, ask yourself why.  The answer is often some sort of self-judgment about your perceived lack of accomplishments.

Once you know a bit more about how you feel during your day, consider the tasks you lay out before you.  Are you asking yourself to conduct your day with a sense of nurture and self-preservation? Or is guilt driving your choices, making you feel badly about every lack of accomplishment? One way to figure this out is to ask yourself what you would say to a good friend if you saw her going through her day at a frantic, maybe even damaging pace. If you really loved your friend, you might say something like, “Wow, you are really hard on yourself! Why don’t you slow down and relax? You don’t have to do it all today. I am concerned about you, and I don’t like seeing you so stressed out!”  Now, consider being your own best friend.  Cultivate that feeling of love and nurturing towards yourself.  Chances are if you can do that, you will be more forgiving and less judgmental about what you do or don’t accomplish.

Finally, ask yourself how you would like to feel at the end of your day.  Do you want to be able to have a little patience and reserve left over for your family and loved ones? If so, it may require altering your day, so that you can do just that.  Connection with others requires some energy and patience.  If you have run yourself ragged all day, chances are nothing will be left over for those you care most about. Make the adjustments necessary to be your “best” self with those who matter most to you.

In closing, I remind us all that an important feature of self-care is to take responsibility of those aspects of our daily lives that we have control over. Your schedule is probably one of those things  Sometimes the reason we over-extend ourselves with commitments and appointments is because we are afraid to ask for help, or can’t admit we are doing too much. Once we set a realistic expectation for our day based on what we know of our personal energy capacity, we need to work to quiet any guilty feelings which accompany it, and tell ourselves that it is okay.  Perfection is not the goal.  Going through the day using a pace that works for us and those we love is a goal worth pursuing!

Preview of February Self-Care Month Events

As you may have seen, Stacey and I decided to designate February as self-care month. With Valentine’s Day not far off, it seemed that the idea of self-care and showing ourselves “a little love” was timely.

During February, we’ll be writing and having guest posts on topics pertaining to self-careself-compassionself-lovewellness, mind/body health and other POSITIVE mental health topics. If you have something to say about the importance of self-care, have an established a self-care regimen that works for you or have questions about how other women (ourselves included) make self-care work, then please contact us using the form on our post announcing Self-Care Month.

If you live in St. Louis,we’ll be hosting several self-care classes at my office, Midwest Mind Body Health Center which are:

Mindful Stress Reduction: Saturday, February 8th 10am-noon

Join Dr. Sanford for this 2-hour class to learn clinically proven techniques to reduce anxiety, depression & stress, and improve health & well-being. Mindfulness skills include: breathing exercises, meditation, relaxation training, mind-body movement, thought-releasing techniques & self-compassion.

Mindful Moms: Mondays 9:30-10:45am

Start your week off in a calm, peaceful way with Mindful Moms. Practice basic mindfulness skills with other moms. Learn meditation, breathing exercises, mind-body movement, thought-releasing techniques and self-compassion to stress less & live better.

Women’s Self-Care: Wednesdays 7-8:15pm *Preview 1.28

Is it time for Code Lavender? Time to reduce stress and increase overall health and well-being. An intentional self-care map will make 2014 a year of transformative personal & professional growth!

Mommy 411: Thursdays 9:30-10:45am

Join Jamie Bodily, PLPC, for this on-going 4-session class and support group. Topics include mom & newborn physical care; coping with postpartum emotional adjustment; dealing with relationship changes & developing healthy sleep habits and schedules.

 

February is Self-Care Month! Help Us Celebrate!

Buddha

We’ve deemed February as Self-Care Month! It’s a great time to do special things for YOU! Valentine’s Day focuses on relationships, but our February focuses on love for the Self.

We’re looking for a few good women to be guest bloggers on Saturdays during February. Have you got something to say about the importance of self-care? Have you established a self-care regimen that works for you? Do you have questions and would like to hear feedback from our readers? Have you made a video about self-care or wellness that you’d like to share? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then please contact us using the form below!

Guidelines:

You may re-post things from your own blog or site (and we’ll put a link in your post to direct readers to your site), write something original or post something that someone else wrote along with your reaction to it (make sure to include any relevant links to the original article/author). Basically, our website is your canvas to paint whatever you’d like as long as it pertains to self-care, self-compassion, self-love, wellness, mind/body health or any other POSITIVE mental health topic.

We look forward to hearing from you, ladies! Let’s share the love in February!

The Bare Necessities

This month, we are writing about specific techniques to reduce stress based on Diane’s Top Ten Tips Plus Two. Today, I’d like to concentrate on, “Nourish your body with food, sleep, activity and rest.” It sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? But when we chop this tip into pieces, we can see where we’re lacking.

1. Nourish Your Body With Food: I’m fairly sure that everyone that’s reading this eats every once in a while. But with busy days, sometimes we don’t take the time to make or buy something healthy. We end up going through the drive thru or getting a bag of chips out of the vending machine. This kind of diet will make you gain weight, raise your cholesterol, and increase your chances to develop Diabetes and heart disease. Think about it – how can you make time for eating healthy foods when you’re on the run? Many fast food chains offer some healthier choices, but cooking at home is the best because you’ll know everything that’s in your meal and can control its caloric content.

2. Nourish Your Body With Sleep: Raise your hand if you get 7 – 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. Since I don’t see any hands up, I’m assuming you’re trying to live on 4 – 6 hours per night. Some of you may be operating on even less, especially if you just had a baby. The trick is to get at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. You may need to get your partner or family member involved so you can sleep while the other person tends to the baby. All of you other women who are not sleeping enough: find a way to go to bed earlier! Lack of sleep can also increase your risk for heart disease, stroke and depression.

3. Nourish Your Body With Activity and Rest: So many jobs involve sitting behind a desk or in front of a computer. This creates a very sedentary day! If your workplace has stairs, use them! Take a walk on your lunch break. Do stretches at your desk. Most experts agree that getting aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week will help you lose fat, gain muscle and make you feel great! Exercise releases endorphins, which are the same neurotransmitters that are released during orgasm! On the other side of the spectrum, we also need to take time out to rest. Not sleep – rest. Lie on your couch and breathe. Let the stresses of the day evaporate and let yourself slowly transition from work to home (or from homemaker to peace and relaxation).

Which tips are you already using? Which ones would you like to use? If you give these tips a try, let us know how it goes and you will be entered into our May Self-Care Challenge! Good luck!