Some of you may be familiar with the question, “What have you done for me lately?” most notably asked by Janet Jackson. Let’s take some time to reflect on the question, “What have you done for you lately?”

2020 was the kind of year that caused many people to go into self-preservation mode, whether for financial, physical, social, or emotional reasons. There were just too many stressful situations to ignore and even if you were not directly impacted by the events of 2020, you likely felt the indirect effects of what was happening in your community. This means that our normal support systems may not have been readily available to us. When cafes and restaurants are shut down, it is difficult to catch up with dear friends. Zoom meetings with mentors and colleagues might not have the same rejuvenating effect. Everyone is just trying to get by!

In these difficult times, we just cannot afford to wait for others to take care of us – we have to take care of ourselves. Until we are fulfilled, we will not be able to effectively care for others.  Sure, we may be able to give others what they need for a short period of time, but as soon as that reservoir of care runs dry, we will face a serious case of burn-out.

To prevent burn-out and continue to be an effective caregiver and collaborator, we must adopt self-care practices that fill our unique reservoir.

Take some time this month to identify one or two things you can do each day that are rejuvenating and meaningful to you. The things that work for you may not necessarily work for others. You could try:

  • Mindful transitions – before transitioning from one part of your day to the next, you can take three deep breaths to clear your mind and get you ready for what is to come. You could wake up and take breaths before getting out of bed, before getting in the shower, before leaving your house for work, before exiting the vehicle to go to work, before entering your classroom, etc.
  • Goal-driven decisions – What are the practices or habits that add joy to your life? Which are the ones that add very little value to your life, but you still find yourself doing them more than you would like? If you would really like to read more or get more exercise, or watch less television, examine your daily routine and make realistic decisions about changes that will align your actions to your wishes.  Perhaps limit yourself to half the amount of television that you normally consume and fill that extra time with things that bring you joy.
  • Manage social time – Make it a point to reach out to loved ones, even if it is just on social media for now. Positively engage with others; avoid negativity. Recognize when you are engaged in a negative interaction and remove yourself from the situation – especially if it is on social media!
  • Stress reduction – Read about how stress impacts the body and mind. Take time to identify how you respond to stress. Look for clues that you are stressed, which can vary from person to person. Perhaps you feel tightening in a particular part of your body, or turn to food when stressed.  Some people distract themselves with their phones or engage in habitual practices that calm them down. Knowing your signs of stress can help you identify your triggers so that you can begin to reduce or eliminate them.

You don’t have to make big changes. Avoid adding more stress to your life by thinking that you have to completely reinvent yourself in the New Year. This is why resolutions fail; change is hard. Pick small practices that are meaningful and joyful to help keep you motivated.

For the main article Stress Reduction in the New Year, CLICK HERE

For the article Supporting Children during the New Year, CLICK HERE

For the article Offer Family Support, CLICK HERE

For the article Committing to Positivity with Your Team, CLICK HERE