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Improve Self Care

Self-care encompasses many aspects of life.

Here are a few suggestions:

Mindfulness and Meditation – learning more about these practices helps to relieve stress and improves relationships. There are many useful apps. I would suggest Calm, Headspace and UCLA Mindful.

These practices can help quiet anxiety and worries about the future.

Sleep – a good 7 to 8 hours a night is optimal, yet many people have great difficulty either finding the time or having trouble falling asleep or waking early.

Good bedtime hygiene includes giving yourself time to unwind at the end of the day, putting screens away an hour or so before bedtime and sleeping in a cool, dark room on a good mattress and without distractions.

Self-talk or what you are saying to yourself about yourself. Brene Brown writes and speaks about shame and guilt. Guilt is when a person feels they have done something wrong whereas shame fosters the belief that you are a bad person. Such thoughts often enter our thinking at an early age coming from parents, relatives or teachers. Beliefs can stay with us for a lifetime if left unchallenged leading to rumination and depression. The rise of social media has allowed us to compare ourselves with others often leading to feelings of inferiority.

Learn to speak about yourself in more positive terms. If you find this difficult ask people you like and respect for their feelings about you,

Try the exercise of saying I am and then thinking of a positive description that describes you.

Monitor screen time

It is hard to believe that the iPhone is a little over a decade old! Now, for many people their phone is in almost constant use. Studies show that even the presence of a phone on the dinner table, for example, is a distraction. In my practice, many people tell me that they are feeling disconnected because they are not getting attention from their partners. Sitting in the same room but checking Facebook or Instagram or surfing the web they are living in two different worlds.

A friend of mine’s granddaughter said to her “talk to me with your whole face”.

Texting frequently leads to misunderstandings. Excellent for making arrangements or checking in, but not so good for conversation and having a discussion or argument. Expecting instant responses causes problems too.

Emphasize the positive

One of the strongest findings in Dr. John Gottman’s forty years of research into what makes a lasting and happy relationship is the importance go a positive attitude. when couples’ interaction is high in criticism and contempt and low on praise, compliments and admiration they can enter what he terms as negative sentiment override. This is a state of affairs when even positive behaviors are discounted and viewed with suspicion.

Take care of physical health

Physical and mental health are closely related. See your doctor for an annual physical. Women make sure to have regular mammograms.

Pay attention to diet and exercise.

Add fun to your life

Some of my clients tell me that they are lonely. Perhaps they have retired and moved away from family and friends. Learn about what is going on in your area. Check out the Meetup website to find groups of people with similar interests. Many colleges have alumni societies.

Make plans with your partner and/or friends to be a tourist in your own area, A day trip or staycation can be a great way to recharge the senses. Or plan a bigger adventure. One couple I work with have started a vacation fund and are having fun making plans.

Learn something new

Here in Sarasota ACE has a myriad of classes where you can try a new hobby or sport. A class can be a great place to make friends.

Listen to some podcasts or Ted talks.

Websites I recommend for further information

www.elephantjournal.com

www.goodtherapy.org

www.gottman.com

www.huffpost.com

www.meetup.com

www.psychology.com

www.webmd.com