Tag: <span>Self-Care</span>

psychotherapy, connections, healing, emotional recovery

The Power of Falling: How Embracing Setbacks Fuel Emotional Healing and Connections

By Psychotherapist Beata Pezacka

Have you ever wondered what keeps making us feel stuck and unable to connect to others authentically?

How embracing setbacks fuel emotional healing and connection

Committing to your emotional healing or recovery is key to forming honest, genuine relationships with oneself and others. However, the recovery process can be challenging with internal barriers such as self-criticism, fear of judgment, and people-pleasing behaviors. The journey to recovery from emotional struggles is complex. You might find that it feels beautiful sometimes, or you might find that it feels unpleasant, happy, sad, challenging, easy, intimate, or vulnerable in others. All of these feelings apply at different times on our journey.  Recovery is a process that doesn’t have a finish line. We keep growing and learning, one day at a time, but do that knowing it will have a ripple effect on our connections with others.

Embracing Vulnerability

Authentic, honest connections with ourselves and others are essential, yet they’re often disrupted by the very mechanisms we use to protect ourselves. Behaviors like people-pleasing and self-criticism, driven by a fear of judgment, are common defensive strategies that create barriers to the very growth-supporting actions we need, such as seeking support from family and friends or pursuing professional therapy in times of intense emotional struggle. Instead of fostering genuine connections, these protective measures often lead us to isolation and loneliness, distancing us further from the possibility of healthy and authentic relationships.

It does take a lot of courage to admit that we need help and feel lonely. Sometimes, we might feel afraid of sharing our fears, dreams, and struggles with others. We are often afraid of being rejected, not liked, or perceived as weak and judged- but that vulnerability is the beginning of healing.

Self-Discovery and Recovery

We live in an intense, competitive society where our worth is based on our achievements. We learn early in life that we must be perfect, “better than’ others, and that being human and making mistakes is wrong.  Some of us might have received messages from childhood that we are not good enough. Messages that trigger self-doubt and questions like “Who am I?” “What do I really want?” or “What do I need?” Without that certainty or clarity, we can easily become lost as we continue to depend on external acceptance and validation.

mood tracker for therapy, counseling

As a result, we might perhaps find ourselves in unhealthy relationships that are conditional and far from being vulnerable or authentic. We might find ourselves engaging in unhealthy, compulsive behaviors, including substance use, binging on food, overspending, etc., to fill the emptiness we feel inside and escape the negative thoughts we have of ourselves. The first step in changing that is looking inside ourselves.

In order to have an authentic relationship with others, we must start by having an authentic relationship with ourselves.

An Approach to Authentic Connections: A Two-Way Street

I want to offer one approach to connection and healing- engaging the body. In my regular yoga practice, I do a lot of balancing poses. At the beginning of my practice, I often felt self-critical and judged myself harshly. I was incredibly worried about what others would think, and I was afraid of being rejected and disliked. I would get wrapped in the bondage of self where my ego takes control.  The crazy thing is, the more I worried, the more I would fall and be off my balance.

Falling was difficult for me because I thought I had to be perfect.

As I’ve grown in my practice, I’ve started accepting the falls with an open heart and mind. Something interesting that also happened is that the more I allowed myself to fall, the more authentic my connection became with others around me. Since we all make mistakes and are not perfect, my class members connected with my imperfection and my vulnerability.  

I realized that it’s ok to fall.

Genuine relationships with others start with being true to oneself.

The Value of Falling

As we walk on the path to recovery, we are allowed to make mistakes, trip, and fall on the way. Through my yoga practice, I realized that falling is not a setback. It is an opportunity to expand your body, check in with yourself to what it needs, where you are too hard on yourself, and allow vulnerability and imperfection.  Listening to what the body tells you requires skill and engaging in emotional healing. Both in yoga and life, when we fall, we have a great opportunity to listen to ourselves, our needs, and what is going on inside. As you do that work to understand yourself better and heal, it will be reflected in external connections.

Emotional takes courage and involves progress, not perfection. We need courage, compassion, and vulnerability, which leads to an authentic connection to self and others, ultimately reaffirming your path to recovery, love, and belonging.

So allow yourself to fall once in a while.

Beata, is one of the many exceptional therapists on the Kensho Psychotherapy Team and this is a great piece on emotional healing. If you need to book a therapy, please leave your details here.

anxious, communication

What You Need to Know About Mental Health and How to Protect It

Mental health is a topic that is now being recognized as a serious issue today. In this blog, Industry Scholar Intern, Efia Blair, explores the definition of mental health and the surprising things she learned exploring the topic. Efia believes the Coronavirus lockdown shed light on why mental health is so important. The lockdown brought a lot of awareness to mental health because people were stuck in their houses for such a long time that it was inevitable for them to begin to experience mental health issues and illness as they grappled with change, uncertainty, loneliness, and new stressors. 

"Be dedicated to change the way in which people see mental illness at all levels of society. If not for yourself, advocate for those who are struggling in silence.” — Germany Kent

So, What Is Mental Health?

Well, it is your overall emotional well-being, and it is critical for us because it controls our actions and reactions. Various things can impact your mental health. Still, your main concern should be taking precautions to improve or sustain your mental health.

One thing that was surprising to me, that widened my knowledge on mental health, is that not only can mental health affect your state of mind but also your physical health. Your body can stop functioning how it used to because of psychological effects, increasing your possibility of developing an illness. Did you know that? I had no idea the mental and physical health connection was that strong. I also learned that our mental health can affect our ability to make decisions if our mental health is compromised. One more thing, did you know mental health problems can be passed down through genes? I thought your mental health was only affected by one’s environment or if you’ve experienced some sort of trauma. 

How Can You Protect Your Mental Health?

Mental health struggles are sometimes inevitable, but many practices can help support good mental health. First, you can connect with a therapist to talk to someone and get the help you need. Sometimes it’s helpful to speak about your feelings out loud. You can also start new hobbies, join a new club, or connect to the people around you. Those two essential acts- asking for help and doing things you enjoy can help protect your mental health in more ways than you realize. 

What things are you doing to protect your mental health? What about using a journal like this one or taking the time to nurture your well-being with walks, meditation, or yoga? Please share your suggestions in the comments!

Self Care Planner for Black women. a ay to protect your mental health

Researched and Written by High School Student Efia Blair for Kensho Psychotherapy Services, where she is an intern through Industry Scholars. If you or someone you know in the NY area is in need of a therapist or counselor, please click here and submit your details for someone to get back to you. The practice offers individual, family, or couples therapy and accepts several insurances like Aetna, 1199, BCBS, UHC, and Optum.

prioritze your self care and wellbeing

HOW TO SET GOALS THAT STICK

Almost the end of the year, time to reflect on what you have done. Did you achieve your dynamic goals? Did you accomplish anything at all?

No shade sis, but we are about to wrap another year, and I’m just curious if all those ideas are still in your head or typed up nicely on that google doc somewhere on a cloud. Reflection is good for the soul.

Before we get into what we haven’t done, take a few moments to map out your achievements for the year so far. Sometimes we are moving too fast to embrace our efforts, accomplishments, failures (and the lessons gained), and our success.

Back to Goals

Truthfully, goal-setting is easy. It’s the accountability side of things people struggle with.

Mapping out your achievements is a great way to reflect on what you have achieved and keeping it in front of you.  Your brain loves visuals!  Having a vision board is a great way to help you focus on what you want to achieve or need to keep building on. Typically, when you think about goals for your business, you probably think of pages of text, boring stats, and numbers. You know, the kind of thing you’d nervously push across the desk to a bank officer in hopes of securing a loan.

write out the vision

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything I like less than to have to piece together that kind of stiff, formal business plan. I’m not saying don’t know your numbers and projections, but let’s infuse some creativity into your growth process.

Instead of thinking about the words and the numbers, think about the pictures. It’s much easier to see the future when you can see it.

The Business Plan That Isn’t

What if you could plan your business with fun, colorful photos, and inspirational quotes and phrases instead? What would that do for your daily motivation?

Well, that’s exactly what a vision board will do for you. By collecting images representing your dreams and aspirations, you’ll have a constant reminder of where you’re going and even why you started your business in the first place. Maybe you want to spend more time with your kids as they’re growing up or have enough money to finally take that vacation to the Maldives. What about that house in Panama City Beach or upgrading to that house that’s calling your name? You haven’t invested all this time and energy into your success to flop now.

None of these things will find a place in a traditional business plan or the occasional google doc or note app you never visit on your phone, but they’re perfect for your vision board. More importantly, they’re critical to your long-term success. Without your dreams, it’s nearly impossible to remain focused and on track when it comes to growth, but with visual reminders, it’s easy!

Why Vision Boards Work

Does all this feel pretty airy-fairy to you? You’re not alone. Many of us were raised to believe that business had to be all about numbers and stats and that there was no room for fun when making money.

I completely disagree!

In fact, some of the most successful people in the world routinely use vision boards to help clarify their dreams and keep their goals front of mind. And that’s precisely why vision boards work so well. By keeping visual reminders within sight, you’re constantly aware of your “why,” and that’s a powerful motivator, no matter what you’re working on.

As we [almost] wrap this year, it’s time to get very specific about those big audacious goals and not lose that desire to finish.  Don’t be afraid to set goals that scare you, but also set goals that reflect and represent you. It’s easy to get caught up thinking that our goals need to be monumental or based on what success looks like for another person.  Sometimes that leads to focusing too much on the numbers, whether it’s a paycheck, followers on Instagram failed launches and profits.

What do you really want?

What makes the most sense for you at this point in your life?

The Homework (my favorite thing to give my clients)

Instead of thinking about Q4 as a cue for what you haven’t done, let’s get a handle on what you need to do to finish strong. Let’s take this last chunk of the year (90 days) and break it down into bite-sized pieces. Try to visualize it as 3 separate chapters (October, November, December).

Where do you want to be at the end of, say, October? And what do you need to achieve to get there? Take those goals and break them down into visible milestones that will become your vision and virtual motivator for the year’s balance.

The more you can help yourself see the next step in front of you, the more likely you will remain consistent and connected to the process. That said, keep it simple. Focus on fewer, more meaningful goals so it doesn’t feel overwhelming and kick up any anxiety or your favorite friend, procrastination.

Don’t overthink this process. Give yourself the freedom to dream, to break out the glue stick and get messy and create.

 

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is passionate about supporting the dream of ambitious women and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply help you get out of your head, stress less, and focus on your success.

Revamping Self Care. The Pandemic Edition

Pandemic Coping Skills

 

If you weren’t exercising your self-worth before this apocalyptic level crisis by balancing daily demands with our natural need to say “no”, “rest” and “recharge”, well for sure, the time has come to indulge and nurture what you’ve neglected. Don’t presume that one takes a back seat while navigating the new demands of remote work, google classroom or a looming recession. Regardless of your evolving role, pausing to engage in self-care may be one of the key tools to protect your energy so we can survive and thrive through this pandemic.

Let’s call out this thing for what it is, insane! It’s a profound loss of control that has shown up in every aspect of our lives and that is exactly what trauma is. Adding on to this ordeal is the physical and mental strain on our health. This shows up differently for everyone depending on several factors like emotional support, ability to self-care and skills to cope. It may look like irritability, restlessness, constant worry, a decrease in productivity, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, loneliness, increased flashbacks, self-doubt, depression and more.

Why self-care? We all need to take time out to decompress and let some of the steam off. This lessens the impact of stress and worry that is building in the background.

Raise your hand if you aren’t stressed and worried. . .crickets.

Pausing means taking time to nurture your needs and for some, some untreated emotional wounds.

How to get started– Take a minute (actually get out a piece of paper and a timer and set it for one minute) and jot down all the things you love to do or maybe wanted to do but just didn’t have the time to do. Now push yourself a little bit further for the next five minutes and think deeper about what you really need to nurture right now. Now take a look at your loves list and consider what you can add to further nurture your needs. For example, going to church is one way I recharge but I don’t have access to this form of reconnecting right now, at least not in the same way. Nevertheless, I can listen to a YouTube worship service or dynamic inspirational song at my desk while at work daily. I can add devotionals to my nurture list or learning a bible based affirmation. My strength comes from the Lord.

Once you have your list ready, the next part just requires regular and consistent action on your part. Take a few things from your list, especially the ones you can do now considering the circumstances and build it into your daily schedule. That’s it.

Your Pandemic Edition Plan might look like this:

  1. Pausing daily to check in with what you need emotionally, physically and spiritually. Notice it and nurture it. Maybe incorporate some meditation or mindfulness practices. Check out the calm.com app, Headspace or Stop Breathe Think. A colleague and I are also hosting a Virtual Wellness Summit on 4.25.20 to help you pause, reconnect and recharge. You should come, it’s free. Register on Eventbrite: https://bit.ly/34OuTOT. Or consider other similar events.
  2. Figure out your daily routine to incorporate the items you love and to make sure you are creating things to look forward to during your day. Without goal directed action it’s easier to lose track of time and procrastinate as days blend together. Read, write, take a drawing class or enroll in a free course at Yale (yup, that’s happening).
  3. Take time to connect: Call, text, or even write to a loved one or a friend to not just see how they are doing, but to chat about live, practice being social, and maybe as a byproduct find inspiration to you. Of course its ok to set limits on this. If you just don’t feel like talking, that’s ok. Another great option is joining some online groups with friends or finding events like the one mentioned above through Eventbrite or maybe even link up with a charitable group to be of service to others and foster a sense of connection while supporting your community.
  1. Move your body. Your body is craving to be noticed and to move. There is freedom and healing in our bodies, especially when we connect it to silence or the rhythm of our ancestors. Try a free yoga application like Down Dogg in the App store or free online workouts being offered by YMCA. You can also join in on the IG DJ Battles and dance it off, or maybe even join your kids for a “Just Dance” session in the Livingroom. 
  2. Get outside. Walk, run or just sit outside and get some fresh air and sun. Kick off your shoes and feel the earth beneath you- we call this type of grounding “earthing”. As you ground yourself use that time to think about a few reasons to be grateful.

Continue to ground yourself in the one thing that you have control over: Simple acts of self-care and nourishment of one’s mind. Taking it in step by step each day. I am grateful for you, proud of you for doing the best you can, and wish you endless days of self-love, care, compassion, phenomenal health and healing.

Author: Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R  4.24.2020

psychotherapy, connections, healing, emotional recovery

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