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My Self-Care Strategies

Lately, the topic of wellness has been a prevalent one among myself and several of my colleagues and peers.  This world in which we live can deal us incredible highs, and what may sometimes seem like insurmountable lows.  With so many strings pulling at us each day and multiple stressors and factors that play a role in our lives daily - sometimes we just need help, and that is OKAY.

Recently, several people I know have been struggling to find their happy place, myself included.  I don't know if it is the weather here in western Canada (we have had a ton of snow fall recently, along with low temps), or if it seems like the perfect storm of personal and professional matters, but the question, "What do you do for self-care?" seems to have come up a lot lately.  I have been thinking about what I like to do for self-care, and what I could do more of in times when I am feeling like I could use a little more of it.  This is what I came up with:

1. Unpack your feelings.
Sometimes this isn't the easiest thing to do.  We don't always want to admit to ourselves that we are feeling a certain way, especially if that "way" is sad, mournful, unhappy or simply crappy.  If you have realized that you need to do this, however, you are already taking a step in the right direction, and unpacking your feelings will definitely help you.  Some people may prefer to make a list of all the feelings they are having, but what I like to do is sit with my spouse if he is available, or call my sister or mom and "unpack" how I am feeling.  It may sound like venting, but there is one difference.  Don't lay blame.  Be accountable and aware.  I will explain by saying, "I can't explain it, but I am just feeling this way...", or "When I hear this, I feel..." - however you phrase it, use emotions to convey how you are feeling and unpack everything either to a piece of paper, journal, blog or to your person who is listening.  Once you finish, you will find yourself perhaps feeling a little lighter, I do!

2. Find a song that speaks to you.
Music is the soundtrack to our lives - cliche, yes, but very true!  Whenever I am feeling down, most of the time I hear a song that speaks to me.  When I hear the words of a song and they resonate with me, I feel connected in some way.  I feel more connected to my feelings, but also deep down in my soul, I feel like I am starting to heal the way I feel.  If I am in my car, or at home, I crank that music AS LOUD AS I CAN, and I begin to sing AS LOUD AS I CAN, and I feel that song and the words of that song AS DEEPLY AS I CAN.  I do feel better after doing that - it is a great release.

3. Shut the door.
Ever have one of those days when you just want to shut the world out?  I do...but I know that I can't hole myself up and completely shut the world out.  I can for a bit, though.  Whether it be going up to my room and locking the bedroom door to just breathe in the safety and comfort of my bedroom on my bed, or shutting the doors of my office and "working" (I pretend so everyone leaves me alone sometimes!), it can be such a nice reprieve for the mind.  Shut your door once in a while and just BREATHE.

4. Count your blessings.
Finally, when I find my peace and solace, it is because I have remembered what is good in my life.  Some days it may just be as simple as the fact that I have a roof over my head, but most days I am able to be grateful for so many other things.  Gratitude is a mindset, and when we practice gratitude, our mind shifts and things get more positive.  Life doesn't seem so bad anymore.  Count your blessings, keep track in a journal if you desire, but I guarantee that the more you do this, the easier it will become to release the bad and enjoy the good.

Not everything works for everyone, and by no means am I an expert on wellness.  I do have strategies that I use, and will continue to use, to help me stay well and practice a little self-care.  Self-care is not selfish, and I will always believe it.  

Best of luck to you in your journey.
#BeWellEDU

~Charity

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This is my beautiful daughter, Ava.  She is on the verge of so many changes in her life - she turns 13 in April, and she is in her first year of junior high.  She makes me happy.  She also inspired this post.  Recently, she was texting with a boy and she showed me the texts, at one point she asked him, "What makes you happy?"  He responded by saying that nobody had ever asked him that.  I felt both proud, and sad.  We all should have someone ask us that and mean it.  I was proud that she was truly interested in the answer, and she made him feel good and likely put a smile on his face.  He went on to respond with a list of things, and then asked her for her list.  What a great little conversation for two 12 year olds. 

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