Make effort today to be fully present. Give others the gift of your attention, time and presence.
As I walk through my house turning off the lights…heading toward bed, there are things that catch my eye…things that fill my heart with joy, love, peace…
I cannot imagine my home without these things, although some are new; some are fleeting…yet all make a home.
First we have the artwork on the fridge. No…I am not the mom that keeps all art; rather I prefer to truly savor each peace. If I find myself walking past without notice, it is time for a fresh picture!
I could stare at this for eternity. A tree covered in the love of hand painted and hand crafted ornaments, stockings hung in anticipation: a reminder of the magic of Christmas, and my “happy painting” that is a staple of our main room. No matter how messy life can become…a reminder to live it fully!
This little piggy stayed home. This little piggy has been in my life for as long as I can recall. I remember emptying his contents as I prepared to head off to college, emptying it’s contents in a panic when trying to “adult” (unsuccessfully at times!) and now I look at this piggy with prolongued grief as I am aware of the cracks that will oneday (soon) expand and shatter my trusty sidekick…likely the result of me using it as a step stool and a chair one too many times in childhood!
A reminder that our mindset matters…and that just as we can strengthen our muscles…we can strengthen our minds to seek the good in life.
Post a photo or two below. Share with us…where are your peaceful places?
Validation is the ability to communicate to another person that they, their perceptions, their feelings and/or their opinions are valid. Our world tends to be quite Invalidating, in that we are berated with the message that we aren’t enough and we don’t make sense. It reminds me of the teacher that we all had, that would correct your response even if you read from the text the exact answer. Validation is a skill that will instantly improve relationships, especially if you learn to validate and then STOP. The STOP is about not jumping into problem solving. Think about how it feels when people hurl solutions to you (have you tried____________??) without taking time to understand the problem or communicate to you that the problem is anywhere near valid.
Validation requires you to find the truth in another person’s point of view. This means that no matter how ___________ (dumb, pointless, absurd, irrational) you deem their experience to be, if you want to expedite their calming down, it is necessary for you to validate something. Validating is not the same as agreeing with them if you truly do not. You could say something like “I can see that you are really passionate about this” or “It sounds like you had a difficult day and it has you feeling really depressed”. If you agree with them, you can be more validating by saying “I think it makes sense that you feel that way” or “given your background, I understand why his statement bothered you”. Letting someone know that you hear them will aide in their ability to calm down and thus problem solve.
Some tips for validating
- Make eye contact, stop what you are doing and put your phone down. Communicate to the other person that they are important enough that you can give undivided attention
- Pay attention to their body language and whether it is congruent (think slumped teenager saying “I’m fine” and attend to the one you believe is more authentic
- Be open to correction. If I think you have your head down because you are disinterested in what I am saying, I need to remain open to you correcting me and telling me you have a headache
- Communicate to them with your words, that you think the make sense either because of their history or because ANYONE would feel that way given their circumstances
- In unique situations, share the feeling with them (not one-upping them, not taking the focus off of them) ie: when they get REALLY good or REALLY bad news
I have a feeling that if you reflect on who you like to spend time with, they are a fairly validating people! If you can channel that person, it may be easier to validate by thinking “what would _________ say?” Take time to practice!
As a mental health professional, self care is paramount to my well being and ability to do my job well. I often say that I won’t preach what I don’t practice, so I wanted to share with you five of my self care rituals.
1. Sleep. My sleep is mandatory and highly schedule! I typically allow for 10 hours of sleep each night, knowing that sometimes it takes 15-20 minutes to unwind and fall asleep. The longer block of time also allows for me to wake on my own (BEFORE the alarm startles me awake). If my body happens to need more sleep, it is not difficult to get it with a 10 hour block.
2. Skin. I use a lot of lotion! I have a large bottle at every sink in my house, on my dresser, on my nightstand, in my purse and work bag, at my desk, etc. I find putting on lotion to be a kind gesture to my body; whether it’s hands, elbows or feet. It also allows me to pause for a moment several times a day just to reflect on the sensation.
3. Scents. I am an avid candle burner. One of the first things I do when I get home is light a bunch of candles all over the house. The warmth, flickering light, and scents are all very relaxing to me. I also choose my body wash wisely, using a citrus in the morning and lavender in the evening.
4. Music. I always have music on. Records, playlists, Spotify, Pandora, radio, etc. Music to me is very soothing, both listening to it, searching for it, etc.
5. Me time. To me, this means scheduling time to explore. From new stores, the library, trails, taking the scenic route or walking around the block. I love to spend time exploring and learning about new places, people, and parts of the city I live in.
What do you do for self care?
I was recently contemplating my life and the disparity between what I’d like to do and what I tend to do (see previous post for deeper understanding of this disparity). The main excuse I provide, usually as a rationalization, is that I don’t have time. I’d like to call bull on that one…on myself!
The most frequent example that comes to mind is going to the gym. So often I wake up early, get off work early, or generally have a few hours on the weekend in which I think “I should go to the gym”. I know that going to the gym improves my mood, increases my confidence and sense of mastery; however I typically talk myself OUT of going! The act of talking myself out of going leaves me feeling lazy, defeated and hypocritical. I don’t know about you, but I’d chose accomplished and proud over sluggish any day (and yet I don’t).
The thing is, I always have time. Even if it’s 15 minutes, I could do some free weights and not need a shower. If it’s an hour, I could get in a really “good” workout. The trick is acting from a goal oriented state of mind rather than from current emotion. Action and emotion can exist independently from one another.
Other things I would like to do are: read more, go to parks, call friends and relatives, and paint. I know from experience that it’s not as easy as “just do it”; and yet it is! (simple, not easy ) Once I start doing any of these things, the ball is rolling and I’m more likely to follow through with the task. For example, if the phone is already ringing, I’m not going to hang up on my dear Aunt! If I’m already in the car with my dog, I’m not likely to turn around and go back home, and if I turn off the TV/radio and open a book I am more likely to actually read a chapter.
The message I’m trying to convey is that you (and I) need to peel apart our emotions from our actions. Schedule what you want to do in a week, and find ways to reward yourself for a job well done!