A new decade!?! Now if that isn’t time to pause and ponder, I don’t know what is!
With a new year upon us, let’s take a minute to get a clear vision of your current methods for self-care and ways to enhance the way you care for yourself and others in 2020. We’ve mentioned in past blogs how essential focusing on your own needs are, especially because you’re in a helping/care-giving job where the goals center on thinking about and caring for others.
“If you don’t have water in your pitcher, how can you pour for those around you?”
To start, let’s pause and consider the questions below to identify feelings and come up with some areas that might need attention, with intention. Try writing journal entries about anything that feels relevant or might need more exploration. The entries can be thought-out ideas or just a few words jotted down. Challenge yourself to write one journal entry each day for a week.
- What are points of dissatisfaction or areas in which you might like to improve or change?
- We all have areas that we want to grow or develop in—what are yours?
- Are there things you wish you were doing, but haven’t been able to do…yet?
- Are you able to imagine changes you’d like to see at the end of one year as well as more long-term changes?
- What are the feelings that come up around areas of dissatisfaction?
- What is the opposite/positive feeling word(s) that come up for you? For example, if you are feeling frazzled or stressed, maybe the opposite word that comes to mind is ease or calm.
After doing this reflection, say the positive word (s) that you came up with a few times to yourself. Where and what do you feel in your body? Close your eyes and say the word(s) again. Did you come up with an image that you can hold onto? Write or draw these words or images. They can act as intentions towards your goals and can help you take action. Research shows that when our goals are attached to our “bigger why” (intention) we are much more likely to follow through on goals.
Once you have this clear vision, you may want to take steps to physically see your entire vision. One way is to create a vision board to help pinpoint and remember your wishes and intentions. Adding a sense of purpose to our goals is another profound way to see action happen. The article, How To Create A Vision Board With Intention & Purpose by Morning Coffee with Dee leads you through it step by step.
This is the initial step, but every goal will have a journey. Let’s get down to the specifics and come up with the steps to take your journey.
We’ll begin by mapping out some mini habits with steps to get to your larger goal, another researched-based strategy to help you meet your goals. Think about one thing you can do to move forward. Is there something you need to look up/research? Do you have a mindset that you might need to overcome? What is one small step to help you move forward? For example, if you want to spend more time being social and develop strong relationships, here are a few habits that you can start with:
- Find out where your co-workers have lunch and ask to join them.
- Look up some “Meetups” that relate to your interests.
- Call or text a friend or family member on a daily basis.
- Look into taking a class.
- Start a project at work with someone you enjoy spending time with.
As you develop goals, keep in mind the value of starting with small changes. Perhaps your goal is to run a mile every day. If you find yourself coming up with excuses for not doing that run, consider changing the goal to running for one block or walking for half a mile. In many cases, you’ll be able to identify and carry out a small piece of a goal that feels achievable. Once you take a small step, bigger changes often follow, as explained in this TIME article, The Simple Trick That Can Help You Achieve Your Goals.
Being a therapist, educator and/or caregiver can be a highly fulfilling job. It is also filled with giving to others, which can be draining. Remember that having enough water in your own pitcher is essential in order to be able to pour water for others. Take the time to reflect on what you need, and then develop goals with intentions and habits to get there.
Accountability and support, paired with a sense of community, can work wonders! That is one of our driving factors at Communication Works, to provide support to our amazing RockStar therapists who constantly caring for others and helping them thrive. Another part of our work is to share information to our extended community through blogging and trainings. We are GRATEFUL for you all as part of our work-family and extended community and want to stay in close touch in the coming years.
Article by Elizabeth Sautter, M.A., CCC-SLP – Speech Language Pathologist & Executive Director of Communication Works
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