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09/28/2010

Personal Note from Sandee Nebel: Self-care routines from the WPF team

Since we've been talking in the Fence Post this month about self-care routines and how to stick to them, I took an informal poll of the White Picket Fence Counseling Center team. I asked: What have you added to your self-care plan recently, and how do you stick to it?
 
Please note that the following information is not meant as a prescription or recommendation. Always consult your therapist, dietician and/or doctor before beginning any program of treatment or exercise.
 
Here is what the team told me:
 
Liz, therapist:
 
Recently, I noticed that I was feeling more tired than usual, almost dragging myself out of bed on some days. In order to find some relief, I started journaling on a regular basis. Doing so allowed me to monitor any new patterns or routines that may have been contributing to my exhaustion and make the necessary adjustments. Now I'm getting my energy back and feeling so much better!
 
I stick with this routine by keeping my journal on my nightstand. That way I see it every morning when I wake up and every evening when I head to bed. Since I'm journaling about my sleep, this bedside location really helps to remind me to keep up with my writing.

Courtney, graduate student intern:
 
I have recently had food allergy and deficiency testing done; as a result I have started being conscious of the foods that my body was deficient in and starting to incorporate them into my daily meals. I also have tried to avoid the foods my body was sensitive to, and replace them with foods my body more easily digests.
 
I am able to stick to my newly implemented self-care plan by evaluating how good my body feels when I stay away from foods that I have a hard time digesting and increasing foods in which I am deficient. Although I miss certain foods, I am finding alternative foods to replace them with. It’s all about being creative and finding balance.
 
Ali, therapist:
 
I have started walking every other night with my husband. This activity has the double-bonus of staying active and enjoying quality time with each other – both are important for our health. When one of us wants to bow out I try to remind myself that one mistake – or one missed walk – isn't the end of the world, I will just go again tomorrow.
 
It is also important for me to stop and remind myself what is really important in my life at that moment. Whether it is requests for my time, offers of food, or even an extra job to make some money, I have had to learn to stop and think about my decisions and who they will affect before replying with an automatic "yes."
 
Sandee, therapist:
 
Recently I started varying my food selections. I used to do this more regularly, but for convenience was getting away from it. A food journal has really helped me to see just how limited my choices were becoming. I enjoy my food so much more when I haven't eaten the same things for my meals!
 
I stick with it as best I can. There will be times when life just gets in the way. I pick up my healthy self-care at the next meal.
 
The obstacle I encounter most is when I fall back on planning. Then I'm more likely to run out of fresh vegetables, or not have food prepared to take with me when I'm heading out the door. When I take even just a few minutes to think ahead to what foods I'll need, it gives me more freedom to be present in my day and with people at work and at home.
 
Tara, therapist:
 
I recently began running three times a week. I also enjoy walks in nature, and I recommend walking as a self-care activity that's suitable for people at all fitness levels.
 
When something comes up that might get in the way of a run, I'll handle it differently based on what the request is. If the request taps into another personal value such as my children or other relationships, then I might rearrange my schedule and run at a different time. If my schedule is pretty tight that week, ultimately I may have to miss a run. More often than not, it usually means saying no to something/someone else, which I view as modeling self-care. 
 
 
 
Joe, business development:
 
I have a birthday coming up and that has motivated me to develop healthier habits. I recently cut out unneeded sugars, such as sodas, candy, etc. When people offer me sweets, I'm polite but firm. I am now taking much better care of my self through balanced nutrition.  Of course, it helps to work with such great role models of good health!