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Part 3: The Essentials of Developing Quality Relationships

by Mandi C. Dalicandro-Turk, MSPC

A Series of Articles: 3 of 6 – How to Increase Healthy Communication

Have you ever experienced someone in life that you connect with and enjoy talking with immensely- on all levels of communication? There are feelings of mutual understanding, it feels natural, safe, supportive, and you find that you’re able to share more and more facets of your being with another human.  It’s a wonderful experience- one of value. Someone that knows the deeper meaning to your life events and experiences, that’s there for you, that you’re there for, makes you laugh, and you’re able to give to genuinely.

The Desire to Connect

Communication stimulates and engages on a cognitive level. It’s important to consider that the desire to connect as a human is natural. Consider how many people you meet within a week, a month, and a year.  How often do you connect in a deep and meaningful level? Many times, clients indicate the level of difficulty in communicating with others and developing deep and meaningful relationships.  An individual’s innate desire to connect taps into one’s internal strength reserves to  work through fears and evoke increases in vulnerability with the goals of moving forward towards healthier communication; which brings the associated benefits of developing satisfying long-term relationships.

Appreciation and Value

In addition, it’s vital to appreciate the individuals you’ve developed strong communication with. Ask the difficult question- do you appreciate and value the relationship(s) you currently have? To assist with your decision, reflect on how each individual relationship has shifted and developed over time.  Consider what expectations you have of the relationship and whether you’re able to give back in similar manners.

Additionally, ask- are you feeling consistently frustrated? This is a difficult environment to engage in. Consider whether or not you are stuck in a cycle of unrealistic expectations. If so, honest reflection in regards to how realistic it is for the relationship to change over time and/or whether or not the relationship will be a beneficial experience long-term is vital.  At times, there is internal work an individual will benefit from in a therapeutic relationship to assist with developing realistic expectations and building awareness of the complexity and differences.

When Life Becomes Significantly Difficult- and it will

Life, at times, becomes stressful, difficult, and perplexing. Healthy communication doesn’t necessarily mean that there is void of conflict or disagreement; especially during stress, grieving, and difficult times.  Consider how individuals engage during the good times and during more difficult times.  This is where having developed a sense of value and appreciation for having strong communicative relationships is beneficial.  During difficult times, many relationships suffer and eventually break down or cease completely.  Most times, with pain, confusion, and many unanswered questions. The more time that passes without directly addressing the issues that break down the relationship, the more difficult it is to return to a sense of balance and satisfaction.  However, there are ways to minimize the damage and pain. With healthy communication, individuals will have a higher probability of increasing the strength and connection through difficult times, which develops a stronger connection, reinforces trust, and commitment.

Strong Connections

At times, a person engages in a relationship built over years with a strong connection. The relationship has deeper meaning, higher investment, and is much more difficult to cease. Moreover, if the relationship is a healthy one, it’s critical to understand the gift of this type of connection throughout life. Consider romantic relationships, family members, friends, professional connections, and/or connections on social media.  It’s important to reflect on how comprehensive and significant this list is. Ask yourself- how many individuals do you feel intimately connected with? Even with the numerous individuals you engage with, there is only a segment that encompasses what individuals innately desire- mutually healthy, strong, consistent, intimate, and beneficial relationships where growth, change, vulnerability, love, and communication are supported and desirable for each person.

Note: Article: 3 of 6 discussed the benefits of increasing healthy communication. Article: 4 of 6 will discuss ways to increase healthy communication as part of developing and reinforcing long-term relationships. Furthermore, Article 4 of 6 focuses on the messages you received in life, how others perceive your communication, proactive listening, humor, trust and safety, compromise, and the risks of being open. The two articles in the series partner with one another to encompass a wider range of elements regarding communication.

In conclusion, communication is vital to each individual experiencing the relationship and to the relationship as a whole. Communication is complex, it involves investment and work to develop a level of vulnerability through tapping into strengths and reducing fears.  Developing quality relationships with healthy communication patterns is vital to mental health, connection, enjoyment, and well-being. Communication increases the capacity for relationships to be mutually satisfying and full of support, caring, positive interactions, and veering well during difficult times. COMING SOON: Article 4 of 6 in the series.

Learn, grow, & enjoy,
Mandi

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Part 2: The Essentials of Developing Quality Relationships

by Mandi C. Dalicandro-Turk, MSPC

A Series of Articles: 2 of 6 –  How Respect & Appreciation Increase Rewarding Relationships.  

This is the second in a series of 6 articles relating to developing quality relationships.  Developing quality relationships is complex, layered, and many times, grappled with throughout life.  Respect and Appreciation are the focus of today’s article.

Respect is an important factor in each relationship throughout life. First, consider the importance of respect for yourself.  A strong presence of respect centered internally assists with understanding and valuing yourself and others; and dually, with developing quality relationships.  At times, an individual may grapple with respecting one’s self; if this occurs, it’s important to invest time and the work associated with learning ways to develop a high level of respect for one’s self. In addition, this process assists with developing capacities to give respect in each relationship and in a variety of environments.

At times, it is important to consider the differences and many similarities in regards to how each individual gives and receives affirmations of respect and appreciation.  For example, showing appreciation for a partner fixing the vehicle and/or making dinner on a busy evening is an important aspect of daily life.  Therefore, giving your loved one positive verbal affirmations assists in showing respect and appreciation; for others, physical engagement, a hug for example, or an act of encouragement supports this intention.  In each relationship, it’s important to take inventory of your thoughts, feelings, reactions, behaviors, and words; and to ask yourself where the motivation for your words and behaviors are coming from.

Consider the following:

  1. Seek out relationships with a give-give ratio: Having respect for one’s self assists in setting healthy boundaries and seeking out healthy and enjoyable relationships. Consider if you feel supported by and support the other individual. The deeper meaning here is that each person supports the other’s gifts and differences- each person has a different set of gifts in life. Respect and appreciation assist in supporting, nurturing, and balancing values, goals, and the complexities of change throughout; even positive change has the propensity to be difficult without each.
  2. The flexibility to grow as a human-being, with mutual trust, support, respect, and appreciation throughout life’s natural changes: Change is inevitable and extremely difficult for some. For many, this brings an uncomfortable awareness and vulnerability. During times when a person has difficulty with feelings of vulnerability and/or experiencing fear and the unknown, engaging in disrespectful behaviors erode the relationship.  At times, the trust and safety factors an individual desires to feel are diminished over time; which destroys the relationship. Many times, each person is left confused as to what happened. Engaging in a consistent respectful dialogue and behaviors, while showing appreciation during change and stressful times, increases feelings of trust, safety, and love, while strengthening the relationship long-term.
  3. Disappointment, Fear, & Frustration: In a relationship it’s important to refrain from engaging in critical, blameful, and harming behaviors where the probability of pain and isolation is evident. The mentioned behaviors destroy individuals and the relationship as a whole. Each person may experience loneliness, and engage in the relationship while tolerating stress and frustration. There are times however, where difficult transitions may assist in grappling with deeper issues, which has potential to increase awareness, life satisfaction, and create new opportunities moving forward.
  4. Implement a balance of strength: At times, it’s vital to express feelings and emotions even when it’s uncomfortable or difficult. In other situations, a level of graciousness and acceptance is inherently beneficial to the self, the person being engaging with, and to the relationship as a whole. With this, it’s important to ask the difficult question of what is driving the decision to share or avoid sharing. The motivation in itself has the potential to change the outcome of whether to share and in what manners.
  5. Respect and appreciation ‘look’ different for each individual and has shifts throughout the lifespan. Reflect on each relationship; if you’re in a relationship where respect and appreciation are lacking, it’s important to address the issues and move forward from there. Many times, this involves adjustments in how a person approaches her/himself, how each individual approaches the other person, and by learning healthier ways to communicate. Therapy is beneficial to assist with working through current and/or old and outdated behaviors that are void of benefit and hindering to growth and the development towards giving and receiving respect and appreciation.

In conclusion, developing respect and appreciation are part of a complex process of behaviors that work towards increasing the quality of intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships, mutual understanding, support (including during difficult times), and enjoyment.  When coupled with communication, a relationship has the capacity to be mutually satisfying and full of support, caring, and positive interactions. COMING SOON: article 3 of 6 in the series: How to Increase Healthy Communication

Learn, grow, & enjoy,
Mandi

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The Essentials of Developing Quality Relationships

A Series of Articles: 1 of 6 – The Reality of Being Human

This is the first in a series of 6 articles relating to developing quality relationships and the associated, at times, painstaking issues to consider along the way. An individual has choices as to who s/he has a relationship with, to what degree, and in what manners to engage. This includes the degree to which an individual engages with family, friends, romantic partners, and within the community.

It’s important to consider that those an individual chooses to have a relationship with will engage in different roles at different times. First, it is important to consider meeting a level of your own needs. At times, individuals have difficulty developing the skills it takes to nurture one’s self. A combination of a quality relationship with one’s self and different types of mutual relationships to assist one whole human (you) and give the opportunities to work towards relationships where two or more humans help enhance, nurture, strengthen, and balance each other in healthy ways. In today’s society, life has the propensity to become busy. A great way to stay connected is by taking time to call, text, check in on one another, and/or set up a lunch date; each are important factors in maintaining a relationship. Relationships take work, which increases commitment, investment, and value.  Relationships benefit from being nurtured and having the opportunities for growth, change (this is an important facet), mutual support, laughter, increase listening skills and being heard, and the numerous psychological and physiological benefits associated with each.

At times, humans appear to sacrifice the opportunities to have higher quality relationships- one’s that are mutual, positive, nurturing, fun, supportive, and giving from each person in the relationship. Many times, this brings a person into therapy seeking out support, healing, and learning ways to build strong, positive, and supportive relationships.

Consider the following and how each applies to your current relationships:

  1. Who do you have relationships with & who do you avoid relationships with? What are your motivations for each?
  2. Do you take the opportunities to build relationships with family, friends, and within community?
  3. Does fear and/or anxiety contribute to limiting the opportunities to create mutually caring relationships; if so, in what ways?
  4. What type of relationship(s) do you desire in your life? How will each enhance your growth as a person?

The Realities of Being Human

At times, a person experiences neglect and/or trauma throughout childhood and/or in an adult relationship (this includes romantic partners), and the immense amount of pain associated with interpersonal relationships containing the above mentioned behaviors. Many times, clients feel a level of obligation to have a relationship with a person even after what happened throughout the relationship or is currently a part of an individual’s daily environment; which obstructs growth, development, and contributes to physiological and psychological issues over time. Seeking out therapy assists an individual in processing what happened and is happening internally, contributes to healing the immense pain, and moving forward from, many times, decades of harm.

An individual will then have the opportunity to choose to continue the relationship as it is and find ways to cope with the trauma, stress, and/or anxiety, to minimize interactions while benefiting from a shift to lighter subjects that are void of a deeper connection (which many times exist only from one person), or to cease the relationship entirely.  Each are associated with a psychological process and a high level of pain that benefits from long-term therapy. Many clients experience the memories and contend with the pain and/or rumination of a harmful relationship; many times, as if it was happening currently.  For many, even thoughts of healthier relationships evoke fear, anxiety, and cognitive dissonance. During the therapeutic process, internal healing begins and assists clients with allowing one’s self to move towards a healthier set of relationships in the future.

Consider the following:

  1. Do you give yourself permission to love, miss, or have a level of affection for a person knowing the relationship is best kept as part of a past learning experience- even if it was a difficult one or would benefit from change moving forward?

    Many times, this is where realistic expectations and healing begin.  The thoughts and feelings associated with any significant relationship take time to decrease in intensity, whether a family member, close friend, or romantic partner.

  1. Are there behavioral health or mental health issues that make it difficult to maintain a healthy relationship for either individual or for each person involved?

    It’s important to seek individual therapy, couples therapy, and/or family therapy to learn how work together in positive manners and communicate well- including difficult times.

Most individuals, engaging in relationships consider the differences of being human, while working towards developing relationships that encompass respect, appreciation, a level of graciousness, communication, support, acceptance and adaptation during change, and growth. Each will be discussed throughout the 6 part series. COMING SOON: article 2 of 6 in the series: How Respect & Appreciation Increase Rewarding Relationships.

Learn, grow, & enjoy,
Mandi

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Experiencing Winter in Healthy Ways 

By Mandi C. Dalicandro-Turk, MSPC

For some, winter evokes the visualization of a warm cozy fire, and the sight of a freshly fallen snow. For others, it’s contending with months of the rigid cold, darkness in the early hours of the evening, months of long nights, and the occasional icy conditions. Many experience each in combination. The winter season keeps many from engaging in activities that are enjoyable for most times of the year, brings people indoors, and at times, isolated and with minimal supports, more time to think, and lowered frequency of social interactions.

The following considerations will give a combination of factors that many contend with throughout the winter season, and examples of ways to cope with and experience winter in an array of healthy ways.

1. Distraction-the healthy kind: It’s essential to consider how an individual’s temperament, personality, emotional lability, mental health, and/or behavioral health impacts day to day functioning; especially during the winter season.  For example, an individual with a negative affect has potential to increased vulnerability to depression, anxiety, and mood disorder.  For many individuals, the months of early evenings and dark nights contribute to isolation and increased frequency of a negative internal dialogue, which may contribute to isolation, less social supports and positive interactions. Each of these factors impact an individual’s quality of life greatly. It is important to find ways to increase positive interactions, and lower negative and self-defeating thought processes.

This type of distraction is a great coping mechanism for contending with the winter seasons. For example, the presence of a negative internal dialogue, anxious and/or depressive behaviors and symptoms are difficult for individuals to experience; this becomes more difficult during times where increased isolation, less options for activities, and the potential for less supports is present.  Learning the discipline to distract from negative thoughts more readily will increase mood, positive thought processes, and decrease depressive and anxious symptoms, while allowing negative thoughts to minimize.  It is important to note that at times, negative thought patterns, and anxious and depressive symptoms are part of a long-term cognitive process and more difficult to distract from.  When this happens, a person does have the option to allow, for example, ten to fifteen minutes to focus on the negative thoughts, journal those thoughts and feelings, and then begin engaging in distracting behaviors. Additionally, if the negative thoughts and/or feelings return, it is natural to feel frustrated.  However, if this does happen, it is important to remember that with practice, it will be easier to distract from the negative thoughts and feelings. Practicing distraction in this manner has the potential to decrease the intensity and duration of negative internal dialogues, and assist with symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Examples of Distraction are found below in Change the Environment.

  1. Change the Environment: Consider what is enjoyable; especially during the warmer weather when the opportunities for activities seem more available and with a more extensive variety of choice present. Now get creative. Take one or more of those activities and consider what could replace it during the winter months. For example, replace the adventure of hiking with snow tubing or take a brisk walk when the weather conditions permit. If spending time in the elements feels a bit overwhelming, volunteer, spend time with pets, or possibly volunteer at an animal shelter; if that feels enjoyable and seems to be a good cause. In addition, take time away from social media, and carve out time to have conversations with friends or family. This is beneficial over the phone and definitely in person. It is common to feel a shift in mood, increased levels of relaxation, and overall feelings of wellness after visiting with family or friends. Spend time laughing and engaging in humor, have a game night, or watch a funny movie.  It is enjoyable and brings a healthy and light-hearted fun to daily life. Lastly, take time to meditate, listen to music, and/or dance.

***

  1. Therapy: When difficulties with mood exist, it’s essential to talk with your therapists. The process of therapy assists with issues with mood, symptoms of depression, anxiety, and an array of behavioral health and mental health issues. For example, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is present in approximately 5% of the population and occurs approximately 40% of the year (Kirlansik & Ibay, 2013, p. 607).  Most times, SAD begins during the fall or winter months and starts to subside during the spring. However, this pattern has the potential to be present in the summer months (American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p. 187).  In this occurrence, the individual feels much better during winter months (American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p. 187).  Symptoms of SAD may be mild, moderate or severe. It is vital to seek out a therapist at the onset of difficult and distressing symptoms; especially when symptoms become unmanageable and begin to interfere with daily activities. At times, an individual may feel restless, have difficulty concentrating or starting a task, feel anxious, experience high levels of stress, and/or have a lessened desire for things enjoyable at other times of the year.  It’s imperative to seek out support before emotional difficulties during the winter season manifest into SAD; especially if a biological predisposition exists and/or environmental factors are present. A therapist will be able to utilize a variety of methods, treatments, and techniques to assist with managing and lowering symptoms and restoring overall behavioral health and mental health.

***

  1. Natural Light: Exposure to natural light daily is essential. It assists with elevated mood and increased vitamin D levels. Therefore, open the blinds and take time outside when weather conditions permit. The winter season lasts for many months and taking this opportunity as often as possible is important for experiencing a healthy winter. On warmer days, it may be in the form of a walk or taking time out for a hot cup of tea on the porch. Give as many opportunities for sunlight and fresh air as possible. On the days the temperature is high enough to crack a few windows without increasing heating bills, take time to enjoy the rare opportunity. Take time to enjoy the natural sunlight while commuting to and from work each day. I enjoy the opportunities for fresh air and sunlight from opening all the windows in my vehicle. I find it relaxing.  Lastly, if natural sunlight is difficult to get exposure to, for any reason, there are light therapy lamps available as an alternative. I have known therapists and clients that use light therapy during the winter months.

***

  1. Start a Project: Projects are a great way to enjoy the winter months. It’s a time to enjoy accomplishing things indoors; in the warmth of home. At times, there is opportunity to tackle larger projects in the home during the winter. This could be working with wood, painting a room, or refinishing an entire section the house (yes, this has potential to be enjoyable for some). However, if this feels overwhelming, start small and tackle cleaning out a few drawers or reorganizing a small area. With any project, it is important to feel a sense of accomplishment once the project is completed. I occasionally take time to build something small out of wood. It’s something I learned many years ago from my father and continue to enjoy currently.  Additionally, many individuals enjoy working in the arts, which has potential to feel therapeutic as well. Winter is a great time to take a class in something enjoyable. For example, my neighbor takes a painting class and has mentioned many times how much she enjoys the creative and social aspects of the class. Lastly, if there are children roaming around, take time to spend time in their space doing an art or science project, or simply carve out time to read a book or series of books together.

***

6. Exercise: Physical health has power to improve overall health, balance cortisol levels and stress hormones, and support mental health and wellness. For example, for those with a passion for running, spending time outside in the elements and nature is quite familiar and comfortable. When winter conditions bring individuals inside, for many runners, getting on a treadmill has the tendency to feel restricting and well, frustrating. Yet, many individuals understand the importance of the safety factors involved with ice, slick outdoors conditions, and unsafe sidewalks and trails during this time of the year.  Running is one example of adjusting physical activity in the winter, many types of physical activity and sports are limited to being indoors. This is where having numerous activities to engage in is beneficial.  At times, individuals will start a gym membership that lasts only through the difficult winter months and when the conditions are too harsh to be outside, exercise is indoors.  Exercise is something extremely personal and individual. It is important to find the right environments and educated trainers to assist with safety and personal goals. At times, individuals feel uncomfortable and/or insecure in regards to personal abilities or performance when starting an exercise regimen. Working through this difficult process builds discipline, confidence, and increases goal setting behaviors.  It’s important to stay physically active consistently, to adapt activities during the winter months, and to have fun in the process. Lastly, eating healthy and well balanced each day is important for mental clarity, focus, mood, energy, and keeping away unnecessary inflammation. Treat the self well, be kind on days of struggle, set mini-goals, give time to adjust and readjust to new behaviors if necessary, and value the importance of maintaining a balance between physical health, behavioral health, and mental health.

In closing, it is important to venture out and try new things. An individual has the opportunities to try many things- ultimately it comes down to what works for each individual.  It’s important to be open to trying new things consistently throughout life; even when it’s frustrating. Consistent reminders to take one behavior that isn’t working and to replace it with another behavior that may be beneficial to overall health and wellness is vital to experiencing a healthy winter (applicable with most behaviors). In a situation where an individual has tried different things, is still struggling, and having difficulty figuring out what works, or doesn’t know where to begin, seek out professional assistance from a therapist. Lastly, it is imperative to treat the self with kindness, to experience laughter and humor each day, to give time to adapt to new habits and behaviors, and to stay positive in trying new activities. Be realistic in regards to what each individual contends with and carries each day, as well as, individual starting points, and the time and dedication it takes to work towards uncovering each of the facets involved in reaching long-term goals towards a healthier life.

Feel free to share some of the ways you’ve implemented new habits and behaviors to experience winter in healthy ways.  Leave a comment with any questions or curiosity you may have for more information regarding this or other subjects.

Until next time – learn, grow & enjoy,
Mandi

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Kurlansik Stuart L, Ibay Annamarie D. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Indian Journal of Clinical Practice. 2013 Dec; 24(7): 607-610.

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Self Care (part 2)

In the last blog Self-Care (Part-1), meditation, mindfulness, and self-hypnosis were discussed as part of self-care and relaxation techniques in areas such as anxiety, grief, life transitions, as part of therapy, as positive daily coping mechanisms, and to assist in sleep. Part-2 of the segment discusses more active and physical aspects of self-care, the importance during life transitions, and touches on a few other areas.

Self-care is an important component of life-one that many grapple with.  Most times, implementing and allowing self-care improves overall quality of life and dually allows an individual to step outside of one’s ‘self’, which in turn, promotes a healthier outlook on daily life and increases capacities to give to one’s self, family, community and society as a whole.

Self-care, at times, is difficult even for those that practice with consistency. This is where having an array of self-care behaviors that are easily implemented into different environments and situations is beneficial to building lifelong adaptable habits and behaviors.

I was at the park with my child recently and began speaking with a female that was there with her grandchildren.  She began discussing how she had two grown children and a number of grandchildren. Each of her grown children, their partners, and her grandchildren were in the process of moving; one family was moving a few hours away and one family was moving out of state.  The reality of little time with each family; especially her young grandchildren became difficult for her to contend with emotionally.

She began telling me how she is retired and that she is hoping that her husband will retire soon, yet, isn’t certain that he is ready.  This is a significant part of transitioning into retirement for those partnered in a long-term relationship.  She mentioned that she has been struggling greatly with this transition and isn’t certain what to do.  During the conversation, we discussed things she enjoys doing and how to begin implementing things she enjoys back into her life.  I noticed her discussing the past and the difficulty in transitioning forward.  This is a process that many encounter when grappling with difficult transition periods throughout a person’s life span.  In part, she was contending with transitioning to retirement and was anticipating her husband’s retirement, which he may not be ready to transition towards at this point in his life.  A main source of difficulty was struggling with finding a major aspect of her identity without the opportunity to nurture and be a caregiver for her grandchildren.  There is loss and opportunity dually in this transition period.

In daily life, self-care is essential, and vital to mental health and wellness during the process of transition periods, that are most times, filled dually with positive and difficult life changes and adjustments. Self-care becomes key to minimize depression, isolation, and the onset of an array of behavioral health and mental health issues. During our conversation, I asked her about things she enjoys.  She discussed the possibility of joining a group, becoming more active by taking a fitness class, finding projects at home that would bring a sense of accomplishment, and rediscovering her passion for painting. Each self-care item appeared to bring focus to the present, and towards finding new ways to enjoy life moving forward. Presently, she is grappling with many significant areas in her life. Seeking out the assistance of a professional therapeutic relationship may be most beneficial in finding positive coping strategies, stress reduction techniques, and committing to where she currently is in life, while preparing for upcoming life transitions; as well as, in finding new ways she will be able to nurture and give in manners she finds rewarding.

Being engaged in activities including physical fitness is beneficial to a mental health and well-being. Physical activity has the potential to assist in increasing energy, improving mood, reducing anxiety, and alleviating depressive symptoms. This can be in the form of a walk outside in nature, a run, biking, cross-fit, weights, or an array of other fitness activities. It’s getting out there and starting.  Whether it’s a ten-minute walk or a half marathon, there is a sense of accomplishment in working towards and finishing a set goal.  For example, I enjoy running as part of self-care.  It is one of my favorite forms of self-care.  I am not the fastest runner- quite honestly, I pace slower currently than I did in the past. I had taken a break from running and looked forward to returning!  I could feel a difference when running was missing as part of my self-care practices.  I used to run by myself and more recently, I run in a group environment. For me, running challenges me, it’s a lot of fun, and is a great form of stress release. Plus, I enjoy consistently working to increase my pace and endurance levels. I recall running my first 5K.  I had run the distance of a 5K in the past, yet, in returning, I was working towards having my feet on the pavement for the distance I experienced in past runs.  I did decide to formally signup for a 5K.  My pace was slow and crossing the finish line was a challenge; however, the entire experience was exhilarating and beneficial to me as a human-being.  I continue to run and push myself in these areas.  I am also looking forward to my next 5K experience.

I have met numerous individuals that tell me they don’t enjoy exercise. If you’re one of these individuals ask yourself these few questions:

  1. What have you attempted?
  2. How were you feeling before engaging in the self-care activity?
  3. What were your feelings when reflecting on what you experienced during the activity?
  4. How did you feel after?
  5. What messages were you given throughout your life about physical activity, your body?
  6. What messages do you carry with you currently that hold you back from physical activity and healthy self-care habits?
  7. Which items are part of an outed cycle of thought processes that do not relate to who you are and how you see yourself as a human currently?
  8. What are you open to trying?
  9. What do you feel comfortable about when considering implementing new self-care habits?
  10. What is your discomfort in the self-care activities you’re considering?
  11. How will you overcome your discomforts? Note: you are able to engage in activities with the discomforts present; over time, the discomforts with decrease, and you’ll feel an internal sense of accomplishment that will carry with you as you tackle new activities and exposure to new environments.
  12. If you took a pause, what were your reasons? Note: if the break was due to an injury, working with the proper medical professionals towards a full recovery and being cleared to seek out a safe replacement, whether temporary or long-term has the potential to be a beneficial option for those that function better with consistent activity as part of daily self-care habits.

Each of the above questions is a starting point for you to begin exploring your personal experiences and feelings regarding self-care.  If you need further assistance, you’re able to talk with your therapist regarding the process of overcoming personal obstacles to improving overall mental health, behavioral health, wellness, and consistency with self-care.

This segment discussed physical ways to engage in self-care and touched on life transitions.  Clients and friends mention the level of guilt in taking time for self-care.  It is important to work towards utilizing energies for positive daily self-care practices that work for you and your family, which was touched on in Self-Care (Part-1), and to move away from guilt and shaming.  Treat yourself with kindness and allow yourself to engage in activities that you may feel a level of uncertainty and discomfort with at first.  Give yourself the time and practice to improve, while enjoying the benefits of creating life-long self-care practices.

Lastly, surround yourself with positive people that bring out your natural energy, and create a sense of pleasure and laughter in your life.  Self-care increases capacities to function in more desirable manners.  It is healthy for brain function and it is immensely beneficial for human-beings to experience the enjoyment of learning new ways of being engaged in self-care and being physically active.

Learn, grow, engage in self-care & enjoy,
Mandi