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From mindfulness to what a therapist wants you to know, our blog is filled with helpful information to get you through your day-to-day.


Just like meal planning or figuring out what workout is best for you, self-care also takes planning and setting goals that work for you. When starting out, I strongly recommend creating a self-care plan to help you achieve your goals. When making a self-care plan or schedule try to set realistic, feasible targets that work with your lifestyle and needs! Here are some tips on creating your own self-care plan:


Step 1: Choose What Realms You Would Like to Improve


Within self-care there can be multiple realms or categories that we would like to care for. When starting out, it’s important to select which ones suit you and what areas you would like to focus on. They should feel meaningful and represent areas in your life that you would like to spend time nurturing. You may call these categories mind, body, spirit, or maybe physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. You may also want to consider having a self-care plan for your personal life and one for your professional; I encourage you to tailor these categories to your needs.


Step 2: Set Goals


Start with some high-level, realistic goals.


Step 3: Details

Once you have your goals in place, it’s time to create your activities, timelines, and supports.


Activities are ways in which you plan on achieving your goals. They should address what you need to do, not necessarily what you want to do. For example, if your goal is to get more exercise an activity could be walking outside or doing yoga at home. Try not to get this confused with activities that don’t actually promote self-care, such as staying up to 4 am to watch a TV show to take your mind off of troubles. These pleasurable activities may end up having the opposite effect and cause more exhaustion and challenges with daily functioning. Aim for what is best, not what is more fun or easy (I know easier said than done). It’s also important to note that activities can be things you don’t do, such as putting boundaries in your life or limiting a habit such as, spending less time on your phone or on social media.


Along with activities it’s important to set up Times for your activities. You can do this by setting short-term timelines to start and setting long-term timelines when self-care becomes more of a routine. For example, if your goal is to find time to unwind and an activity you chose is to journal, a short term timeline could be to journal once a week for 10 minutes. A long-term timeline could be to spend some time everyday to journal. Remember these timelines should act as a guide and not cause more stress. If you find your plan is too restrictive there is always the option to alter it.


Support is another important aspect to consider when making a self-care plan. Try to have a list of people you feel comfortable reaching out to to help you achieve your goals. This support team should be a source of support and encouragement as you establish your self-care routine.


And there you have it! It can feel overwhelming to create time for yourself, which is why self-care is a commitment and a practice, but also requires adapting in order to meet your needs. So I encourage you, check in with yourself, listen to your bodies, and make time for self-care. Make it fun and creative, I personally love taking dance breaks, being in nature, going for walks, and making art! What are your forms of self-care?


Thanks for reading,


Michelle Miranda



There has been a lot of buzz around the term self-care lately. And while I think self-care is very important in promoting a healthy lifestyle, I think there is an important distinction needed to be made between self-indulgence and self-care. Often times I hear people say, “I’ll just treat myself to something as my self-care” or “I decided to binge watch a show all last night, it was my self-care”, and as much as these momentary actions might make us feel better, there is more to self-care than masking it by things we enjoy doing.


So what is self-care? Self-care are self-initiated behaviours and actions that people use in their life to promote good health, and one’s general well-being. This includes learning to be more self-aware, promote self-regulation, and find balance in one’s daily life. Without this important practice, individuals are often faced with feeling overwhelmed, burnout or experiencing unmanageable amounts of stress that leads to mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. By integrating self-care practices into our everyday life, individuals will be able to develop resiliency, emotional stability, and enjoy life to its fullest!


Now when we talk about self-care, there are actually several realms of self-care that should be considered including, professional, physical, psychological, emotional, personal, and spiritual. Below I’ll be breaking down each of these aspects and providing suggestions of how you can practice self-care!


Professional:

Whether it’s managing work-life balance, dealing with a difficult colleague, or meeting strict deadlines; work can have a large impact on how we function throughout our days. Some ways to help promote self-care at work could be:

  • Taking small breaks

  • Taking a lunch break

  • Stretching or tense & release muscles at your desk

  • Taking all of your vacation days

  • Listening to a podcast or music if you can

  • Disengaging at the end of the day, leave work at work

Physical:

Oftentimes when I talk to individuals about physical self-care the first thought often goes to working out. And while maintaining exercise is extremely good for one’s physical, mental, and emotional state, there are also other aspects to consider and ways to care for our physical health including:

  • Quality & quantity of sleep

  • Safe physical contact with loved ones

  • Basic needs (food, housing)

  • Making your space comfortable

  • And moving your body

Psychological:

The demands of life can take quite a toll on our mental and psychological state. What are ways that help you to unwind, relax your mind, or help manage a stressful day? Some ways could be:

  • Journaling

  • Art-making

  • Reading

  • Gardening

  • Asking for help if necessary

Emotional:

When balancing all that life has to offer, it can be challenging to find time to experience or even access emotions. It is important to take care of our emotional state so that we are able to regulate our emotions in a healthy way. Maybe care for your emotional state by:

  • Allowing yourself to cry

  • Taking time to laugh

  • Practicing self-forgiveness and forgiveness towards others

  • Being compassionate and patient with yourself

  • Allowing yourself to experience feelings, even when uncomfortable

Personal:

As individuals we are wired for connectivity, but it is also healthy to find balance in our free time and to also make time to spend with ourselves. Perhaps personal care could look like:

  • Setting personal goals

  • Relaxing with loved ones

  • Nurturing friendships

  • Engaging in self-discovery

  • Spending time alone

Spiritual/Mindful:

Whether you are religious, spiritual, or mindful, have you considered how you have been caring for this realm? It is important to strengthen our self-awareness and to find out what this means to us. Would you care for your spiritual/mindful self by:

  • Connecting to a higher power

  • Walking or connecting in nature

  • Meditating

  • Having quiet time

  • Accessing your playful side

Let me know how you incorporate self-care into your life! And stay tuned for tips on creating a self-care plan.


Thanks for reading,

Michelle


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  • Michelle

Let’s face it, life can be really tough sometimes. Especially over the past year there has been additional amounts of uncertainty, challenges, and obstacles that each and everyone of us have had to face. But amongst all the hardships and storms that come our way, we are still able to find ways to be empowered, encouraged, and to persevere. And a part of this resiliency that we find within ourselves, has to do with the inner strengths that each of us possesses. These inner strengths that we have developed can help us to understand, reflect, and overcome even the hardest of times. So when considering what has helped me to face the uncertainty that life continues to present, I often find it helpful to reflect back on what anchors me, and what gives me strength to continue.


As an Art Therapist, I am constantly looking at how stories and ideas can be expressed in a visual and creative way. And oftentimes this goes hand-in-hand with using metaphors or symbols to represent these thoughts and feelings. I believe that by using the power of imagery this can help us to reflect and observe aspects we had not considered, or even explore alternative versions of a story that we have been telling ourselves.


So I am going to invite you to explore, play, and get creative with me! I’d like to start off by inviting you to consider the following questions:

  • What does an anchor do?

  • What does an anchor symbolize or mean to you?

  • And finally, what anchors you? Where do you get your strength from?

After reflecting on these questions, I encourage you to grab whatever art materials you have handy and get creative! How would you creatively represent your anchor and what anchors you?


Thanks for reading

Michelle


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