Notes from the Stress Management and Self-Care Workshop

This week’s workshop on self-care took a bit of a different approach to the topic.

We all know the benefits of self-care, and most of us seem to have an idea of the kinds of things that would be nourishing for us, and yet we most of us still struggle when it comes to actually implementing a regular practice of care. So rather than just putting out one more list of “self care ideas”, we opened up a discussion of what gets in the way of self-care, and how we can navigate those obstacles. The group came up with a ton of obstacles to self care, including…

  • social expectations to always be “doing” something
  • a structural system that rewards “productivity” over nourishment
  • guilt around disappointing others
  • internal expectations for perfection
  • fear of judgment
  • shame
  • other people’s values have become internalized

…And so much more.  We encourage each of you to ask yourselves what gets in the way of really putting yourself as a priority. If it’s other people’s expectations, you might ask yourself if those expectations match your own values. If it’s about judgment, you might check in with yourself what the worst that could happen is. Sometimes, setting a boundary and putting ourselves as a priority is much harder for us than it is for the person hearing it. Other times, it means losing people in our life who we had once been close to, but aren’t able to respect our needs.

In this way, the first step to changing our relationship with ourselves is really about becoming mindful – mindful of what our body needs, mindful of what’s getting in the way, and mindful of what might support us to do something different. If you’re new to the idea of mindfulness, you might like this fun mindful eating exercise:

http://hfhc.ext.wvu.edu/r/download/114469

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