An important facet of emotional health is good self care: the concept of deliberately spending time attending to your own needs. It is fundamental to your wellness and something you should do in some fashion daily. Part of therapy can be learning when and how to care for ourselves, and the signs we subconsciously give ourselves that self care is overdue. Today’s topic is two skills you can use to practice good self care. They are presented as exercises for you to try. As always, talk in session first before implementing a new skill about the benefits and risks, and how to maximize the effectiveness of the tool for you!
Today’s self care skills: Safe Place and Self Soothing. One of the challenges in our hectic lives is to find small moments of peace and happiness. Rather than wait for these moments to come to us, we can also learn ways to make them for ourselves. Two ways to do this are by creating a safe place and through self soothing. Try these exercises to get you started:
Exercise 1. Making a safe place.
Think of a time in your life when you were at peace. Where were you? Inside or outside? What was around you? Were there people there? What time of day was it? You can combine several peaceful experiences or just focus on one to answer these questions. What was it about your surroundings that made you feel at peace? The lighting? The smells? Were there specific items around you that made you feel peaceful? A tree? A stuffed animal? A candle? Use some extra paper to write or draw about your safe place. Fill it with as many peaceful things as you can. Are there any pieces of this you can recreate right now? If your safe place is at the beach, can you go outside? Can you light some candles or get a stuffed animal? Think about how you can recreate or find your safe place in your everyday life. Maybe you can actually go to your safe place every day, maybe you can spend time meditating and imagining yourself there. Think about ways to make this a part of your daily schedule.
Exercise 2. Self soothing.
This exercise is similar to the safe place exercise. It is based on mindfulness or appreciating the moment. The process is simple. Take each of your five senses, one at a time: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Think about things in each of the five senses that you like or that make you happy. Use some extra paper to make a list of things for each of the five senses. Take time to think about the little things that make you happy. Is it the sound of crickets or the rhythmic sound of a window fan? Do you like the feel of cold water on your hands or a soft blanket? What are your favorite tastes? Does the smell of freshly baked cookies make you happy? The list you make will probably be of everyday things. Some things on the list you may not have noticed before as things that bring you peace. After you are done making your list, go back through and circle things you can do every day. Can you turn your pillow over to the cold side and snooze five extra minutes in the morning? Can you have a bowl of your favorite cereal for breakfast? Think about ways to use your five senses and self-soothe as part of your daily schedule.
(c) 2017 CREATIVELY, LLC
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.