What self-care deposits have you made today?

Have you heard that jingle for the credit card company “What’s in your wallet”? It’s an important message – you should know what types of financial protection you have tucked away.

This is true for self-care too!

So what is in your self-care wallet? What things do you do or what ways do you ensure you're protected for those tough days?

Self-care is a bit like a bank account. Consistent, steady 'deposits' into the account will ensure you have something to draw from on those challenging, stressful days.

Self-care looks different for each person.

For some, running five hours on a dirt trail or backpacking into the woods for a weekend is the most healing and invigorating self-care.

For others, connecting with family and friends, hosting a get together and trying a new wine with friends, or having your kid’s friends over for a slumber party brings joy.

What brings you joy?

Knowing what things belong in your self-care wallet can be protective for tough days, and can be a resource when you're struggling.  If you are aware of the things you can do that help you feel better, that bring you joy when you're stressed, angry, sad, worried, etc., you will be able to immediately start going down your list and find something that works.

For some, actually creating a self-care kit can be a nurturing activity.

If it feels right, try gathering activities and items together into a basket you can keep in a sacred space. Maybe include a new novel, yarn and a crochet hook, coloring book and fresh markers, your favorite uplifting movie on DVD, favorite snack foods, or puzzle book.

For most, having a list of self-care activities and acting on them daily works.

What do you do to take care of yourself when you’re having a rough day?

Is heading to the gym, meeting friends for a movie or happy hour, or planning a trip out of town what works for you? Maybe going for a walk with your mate or meditating is your thing.

Whether you make a list in your head or have an actual basket, there are some basics to self-care activities that should be present in everyone's life.

  • Eating healthy nurturing foods
  • Getting a restful night sleep
  • Moving your body
  • Avoiding mood altering substances (which can include caffeine and nicotine)
  • Taking care of your physical and mental health needs
  • Getting in some fun leisure and social activities

If you neglect one or more of these areas you will have a harder time handling the day-to-day stress and emotions that come up.

So, what are you going to put in your self-care tool kit?

I'd love to hear about your self-care routine! If this is something you would like help with please contact me here to schedule a free telephone consultation. I look forward to connecting with you and being a part of your self-care.

Adriana Joyner, LMFT, is a Sacramento Area therapist specializing in counseling for people healing from painful life experiences and traumas, and gender support for those within the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway 50 at Sunrise Blvd.  For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (916) 547-3997 or email adrianajoynermft@gmail.com.

 

 

How to Control your Self-Doubt

Self-doubt.

That nagging thought that burrows into everyone’s minds at some point or another.  It comes in many forms, but usually sounds like “I’m not good enough.”

Maybe it’s when you have a major presentation for work, in how you feel when you’re around your in-laws, when you question your parenting abilities during your two-year-olds tantrum, or when trying on bathing suits for summer. We all doubt ourselves at times.

Changing our thoughts, feelings and actions is a challenge. There are literally thousands of books written on the topic!

There is a strong connection between our thoughts, feelings and actions. Picture a triangle where each of the three points are interconnected and flow back and forth.  Creating change in one area will impact the others. Our thoughts, feelings and actions flow and interact in all directions.

If you change your behaviors, your thoughts and emotions will follow suit. You’ve heard the phrase “fake it till you make it” right?

This is probably easiest to visualize this interconnection with physical exercise. If you commit to working out several days a week for a few weeks, you will eventually start to notice changes in your thoughts (improved self-image, more confident), feelings (more upbeat, better mood) and actions (craving healthier foods, feeling more toned, higher energy levels). This creates a positive cycle that will help you continue working out because you enjoy the benefits.

In general, it takes about 21 days to create a change in behavior.  Which means it may take three weeks of working out before you start to notice changes in your thoughts or emotions.

And for some of us, it may take longer than 21 days. I mean who really likes getting up before dawn to work out?

This change works in all directions of the triangle. If you change your thoughts around an activity, it will be easier and more enjoyable to do that activity.  If you change your emotions, your thoughts and behaviors will follow along.

So you’re asking: what does this have to do with self-doubt?

Self-doubt is a thought.  Now that you know the formula, you can change your thoughts easier!

Let’s look at ways you can approach self-doubt from all directions of the triangle.

Here’s an example: imagine you’re questioning your parenting skills. Say your toddler has thrown the largest temper tantrum of his life in the middle of the grocery store check-out line. You see other people whispering and staring at you. It’s difficult to focus and finish checking out; you know you can’t just leave the basket and head home because you need those groceries for tonight and tomorrow. You’re feeling like the worst parent in the world.

If any of this is connecting with you, let me reassure you, you are not alone.  This happens to the best of us!

Changing your behavior in this instance might mean:

  • taking a deep breath,
  • bending down to your child’s level and speaking with him calmly,
  • being clear and directive in setting limits,
  • possibly ignoring the tantrum while you check out.

Remaining calm will help you finish the chore at hand and you can get to the car and address the tantrum in a more private setting. Keeping your behavior in control will also help you feel confident that you are making the right choices in handling the tantrum. Sometimes the right choice in parenting is to ignore the behavior (even if others look and stare).

To change your mood around in this situation you could try:

  • taking a deep breath,
  • reflecting on what other feelings you’re also experiencing in the moment (besides frustration/irritation at your child),
  • reflecting on times when you feel proud and strong as a parent will help you recognize your skills don’t always correlate to your child’s behaviors and may help you shift your mood around,
  • expanding your focus to more than the self-doubt and frustration to also incorporate other more positive feelings. Maybe you’re excited for the latest episode of your favorite show tonight, happy for a friend who just announced their pregnancy , or relieved because you finished a major project at work.

This broadening of your ‘feelings spotlight’ to experience more than just the frustration in the moment helps integrate the fact that sometimes challenging things happen that create self-doubt, and you can still be happy.

Changing your thoughts around self-doubt in parenting can start with:

  • finding ways to change the meaning you attribute to your thoughts.

It’s possible that your automatic thoughts are: “My child is throwing a tantrum in public = I’m a crappy parent.” Identifying things that are accurate and also true about your parenting can be helpful to start to change your thoughts: “My son skipped his nap today and is very tired, of course he’s going to melt down when I say no to him having chocolate.”

These shifts away from negative self-talk to understanding the bigger picture will help you begin to see yourself and your parenting skills in a new light. Shifting to this mindset may not change the situation, but will help let go of your self-doubt around your parenting skills. In turn, your mood will lighten and your interactions with your child will be more at ease.

Just like heading to the gym every morning, taking a deep breath during your child’s tantrum or reframing your thoughts of self-doubt may take a few (or 21) tries to stick and become a habit. And the result will be a calmer, more confident you.

 

If you find that you would like extra support in changing your thoughts, feelings or actions, or gaining confidence in your life, I’d be glad to help. Click here to find out ways to get in touch with me. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Adriana Joyner, LMFT is a Sacramento Area therapist specializing in counseling for people healing from painful life experiences and traumas, and gender support for those within the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway 50 at Sunrise Blvd.  For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (916) 547-3997 or email adrianajoynermft@gmail.com.

How to Focus your Energy - Finding Mindfulness in Nature

It’s easy to get distracted and disconnected this time of year.

You have multiple lists of things to-do, gifts to pick up, and errands to run.  Your normal routine is still in place but you have 50 extra things to add on to your already busy schedule.

Your anxiety is high trying to manage everything; it’s like juggling five balls at once. You are trying to make sure your family is cared for and has the best holiday and New Year possible.

You are often in last place on your to-do list. Self-care feels like something from your distant past.

Now is not the time to add on a complex self-care routine that will feel more like a chore. But something needs to change to help you feel more present, manage your mood and actually relax enough to enjoy this time of year!

 

Let’s try a simple and easy way to improve your mood!

A huge part of regulating your emotions (from anxiety to anger to sadness) comes from your five senses (touch, smell, sight, sound, taste).  

Soothing your senses will help you shift your mood away from uncomfortable or ineffective emotions to a mood that will help you manage your stress and extra responsibilities this time of year.

 

When you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or unhappy find ways to soothe your senses:

  • Sight: Surround yourself with images and items that are appealing, attractive and comforting. It can be something small, like looking at photos in your phone, or hanging up a picture of your favorite vacation destination at work.

  • Smell: Identifying smells that bring positive memories and emotions – maybe the smell of baked goods, pine branches, or certain flowers. Keep those items around (or have a Scentsy air freshener going) to keep the smells enjoyable.

  • Touch: Now’s the time to put on your favorite sweater or scarf and feel it cozy on your skin.

  • Taste: Splurge on a tasty treat that you enjoy – perhaps a piece of dark chocolate, go out to your favorite meal for lunch, or grab a fancy coffee drink. 

  • Sound: Putting on your favorite music can snap you into a positive mood. Find something soothing and enjoyable.

 

If you want to take it to the next level, try soothing your senses while connecting with nature.  

Here is a fun article about helping children connect with nature. While this article focuses on kids, I think it’s just as applicable for adults to use too! Let’s try the Five Senses Wildlife Hunt.

 

We are lucky to live in the Sacramento Area which has amazing and vibrant seasons, and yet is still moderate enough that you can head out doors for a stroll in winter. One of my favorite places is the Effie Yeaw Nature Center.  This tiny gem is easily accessible from Gold River, Fair Oaks and Carmichael, has a three-mile dirt trail following the river, and is home to an abundance of wildlife. It’s hard to walk the trail without seeing deer, turkey, coyote and woodpeckers.

 

So here’s your mood-improving challenge:

Go on a five-minute outdoor walk today.

 

Easy right? Focus on your five senses for five minutes:

  • Feel the air, wind, or rain on your skin

  • Hold a leaf and feel the different textures

  • Notice the smells around you; fill your lungs with fresh air

  • Watch all the movement in everything around you, small and large

  • Observe the trees bowing in the wind

  • Watch beetles running under a rock

  • Pay attention to the squirrels searching for nuts for winter

  • Notice the multitude of colors in the trees

  • Watch the changing colors in the sky and the movements of the clouds

  • Feel the texture of bark on the trees

  • And if you’re really daring, taste a raindrop on your tongue!

Connect  with being fully and authentically present in the moment.

 

I’d love to hear how you connect with nature or about your mindfulness practice. Share with me in the comments or send me an email at adrianajoynermft@gmail.com.

 

Adriana Joyner, LMFT is a Sacramento Area therapist who provides counseling to people healing from trauma and abuse, and those within the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway 50 at Sunrise Blvd.  For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (916) 547-3997 or email adrianajoynermft@gmail.com.