"I need to let go of the idea that exhaustion is okay, and put more effort into receiving adequate sleep and increasing time for self care." - andrea mcdonald
In a world that is constantly pulling you in what seems to be hundreds of different directions every day, what do you do to stay true to your own goals and ambitions? We are often told that we need to sit down and set weekly or monthly goals for ourselves to keep grounded, but sometimes that’s just not fun, and can often become defeating! To ensure that this does not happen to me, I am always looking for fun ways to do a little self reflection and self motivation. I stumbled across this challenge and thought it would be the perfect one to share as we end 2018.
For the past 30 days, I have been asking myself a meaningful inquisitive question every single day. I first took a few minutes to reflect on the question in my mind, and then I took a few minutes to record my thoughts in a journal. While these questions may not necessarily have been related to traditional goals, they were food for thought, and something that I otherwise probably would have never taken the time to think about.
My challenge to you is to do the same for the next 30 days. If you miss a day, don’t stress, we’re all human, but then do your best to get back on track and continue the practice. If your results are anything like mine were, you will quickly realize that not only did you develop a new goal and ambition list, but you will have developed an accumulation of entries with much deeper meaning than when you are forced to organically create a goals list.
To get you started, and to learn a little bit about me, I have decided to vulnerably and honestly share with you seven (one full week) of my entries from the past month.
Enjoy my reflections, and cheers to the beginning of your own reflections and growth. Choose to end 2018 by diving more into your intellect, heart, spirit, and core.
If you would like to embark on your own self-reflection journey, here are questions, challenges, and lists that you can use exactly or pick your own questions from.
30 Days - Setting the Intentions
Journal Bullet Questions
For the Joy
"Children are more likely to remember the joy of simple family traditions and time spent together more than the shiny gifts under the tree." - JUlie gettings, lscsw
Last week, you may have celebrated the holiday of Thanksgiving. If not, there are many holidays during this time of year you may be celebrating instead. Either way, this time of year is supposed to be a festive time of fun and family connection; however, for many, the holidays also spark a feeling of underlying dread and anxiety of a hectic and rushed time. Holiday parties, buying presents and getting out those yearly greeting cards are just a few of the things we add to our already hectic schedules during this time of year. We all want our children to have warm and happy memories of the holidays so here are a few tips to help manage the anxiety that comes with the season and enjoy this special time with our kids:
With the holidays here and the snow on the ground, it’s important to take stock of our expectations. Children are more likely to remember the joy of simple family traditions and time spent together more than the shiny gifts under the tree. Take the time to evaluate what’s important and meaningful to you and your family. Make those things your focus and let go of the rest.
Julie Gettings, LSCSW
PCIT and TFCBT Therapist
"It is not your job to cure your loved one of whatever pain they are experiencing. You are there to be part of the solution, not the entire solution."
Trauma happens. Whether it occurs to you or someone close to you, it is something that invariably is surrounding our world, our nation, our state, our community, our friends, and ourselves at times. When we see our friends or loved ones experience trauma, we recognize that we are going to be a main source of support for them during their journey towards healing. Knowing what to say or what not to say can cause significant anxiety because we just want to take their pain away--we want them to feel better.
Understanding your role
One of the first things that you have to understand, before learning what to say or do, is your role as a supportive friend or family member. It is not your job to cure your loved one of whatever pain they are experiencing. You are there to be part of the solution, not the entire solution. Once we strip away this expectation of ourselves being a superhero to our loved ones, we can respond to their grief in a way that is effective, supportive, and beneficial to their overall well-being.
Kelsey Crowe, Ph.D and Emily McDowell talk about how to properly support loved ones in their book entitled “There is No Good Card For This: What to Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love”. In addressing the trauma of close family and friends, Crowe and McDowell mention three points: 1) Your kindness is your credential, 2) Listening speaks volumes, and 3) Small gestures make a big difference.
What to do
When you hear the news of a loved one going through something terribly difficult, your kindness and outreach is going to be vital in getting them the support they need. Oftentimes, people will shy away from individuals who have gone through something traumatic out of fear that they will say something that would upset them. There is nothing that will make your loved ones feel more alone than a lack of acknowledgement of whatever trauma they are currently facing. Your kindness is your credential that shows your loved one that you will want to be with them, even when they are at one of the lowest point of their lives.
When your loved one informs you of their trauma, the absolute best thing that you can do is be present and listen to them. Unless solicited, it is highly unlikely that your loved one will want advice on how to handle whatever curveball life decided to throw their direction. For example, your close friend may disclose to you that she doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to have children due to her fertility issues. Instead of asking her whether or not she has tried x, y, and z, ask her how she is feeling in the moment. Let her talk if she is comfortable talking, and hinder any urges you may have to redirect the conversation to experiences that you have gone through yourself. Devoting the conversation to the concerns of your loved one is a vital step in ensuring that they are getting the support they need from you.
After practicing kindness and active listening, the next step is to take action. Actions that can help alleviate any stress that your loved one is going through, no matter how small, can really make a huge difference in their well-being. For example, you may have a friend who lives across the country that just lost her mom unexpectedly. A supportive gesture could be sending her supportive snail mail with fun things stuffed in the cards (such as gift cards, stickers, etc.). Say you have a friend who lives nearby that is going through a rough divorce. Offer to cook her dinners, take her out, do whatever you think will make her happy.
It is so important for these gestures to be relevant to the needs or wants of the loved one who is experiencing trauma. Instead of telling them to contact you if they need anything, suggest actual ways that you can help out tangibly. People are often hesitant to ask for help, even if they need it, so it will make a huge difference if you readily volunteer specific ways to help ease their overall stress levels.
Marissa Martin, Counseling Intern