Caring for the Caregivers: Examples of Self-Care Practices Part Two – Episode #16

There are far too many self-care practices in the world to list them all. However, if you are looking for something new to try this year you can listen to Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie as they share their own self-care practices from 2017. In this episode, part two of two, the ILF Team each shares new self-care practices they will be trying in 2018.

Episode Time Codes

00:00 Introduction
00:35 Jeremie – a new self-care practice he is rebooting from his past
02:55 Indrani – preparing for a future self-care goal
05:44 Amy – holding space for your personal life after work is done
09:45 Discussion
17:35 Conclusion
18:49 Outro

Self-care: How to start a gratitude and success journal

I am starting with a notebook I had in my desk.

I heard about gratitude journals years ago and brushed them off as a waste of time (I have a very “left-brain” background).

After starting my work with Indrani’s Light Foundation I would hear Indrani talking about her gratitude journal, but still filed it away as “something I didn’t have time for”.

Last year in October, I finally decided to give the gratitude journal idea a try but didn’t really have any idea how to get started. I knew that writing a traditional journal entry in complete sentences didn’t feel like something I would actually do, so I worked through a few ideas, and finally landed on something that worked.

Now, when I say “worked,” I mean that I successfully journaled for 17 out of 61 days in October and November before stopping completely in December.

You must get started somewhere right?

In episode 15 of the Caring for the Cargivers Podcast Indrani, Amy, and I discussed some of our self-care practices. One of the self-care practices I want to improve upon in 2018 is keeping a gratitude and success journal. When I started keeping my own journal in late 2017 I had no idea what I was doing, but over time I managed to find a system that works for me.

To kick off 2018 I thought I would share how I am using my gratitude and success journal in the hopes it might help you give the idea a try.

How to start a gratitude and success journal (the Jeremie way)

My template includes: gratitude, habits, and successful day.

  1. Buy a journal – I found an empty journal we had sitting around the house (see the image at the start of the post).
  2. Decide what you want to track daily in your journal – I track gratitude, habits, and successful days.
  3. Create a template for your journal entries on the first page – or if you are less worried about structure skip this step. Remember this is YOUR journal.
  4. Pick how often you want to write in your journal – I am committed to writing in mine every week day, if I make entries on the weekend that is a bonus. I also try to write in mine first thing in the morning before starting my work day.
  5. Start using your journal – I am re-kickstarting my journal Friday January 26th.
  6. Don’t beat yourself up when you get off track. Just start again.

How I use my journal

An example of my entry for January 26th.

Section One: Gratitude

I start each day’s entry by reflecting on the previous day and writing down three things that I am grateful for from that day.

I reflect on my previous day for a couple of reasons:

  • I find I am usually too tired before bed to properly reflect on my day and write down my thoughts. If I try to journal at night, I just don’t do it.
  • By writing these three things down first thing in the morning I get an instant boost of energy to my day.

Section Two: Habit Formation

This middle section of my journal entry is dedicated to forming new positive habits. Currently I am trying to go for a walk, drink 4-8 glasses of water, and take my vitamins and other meds every day.

To form these activities into habits I know I have to repeat them enough times that they become routine: actions I take without even having to think about them. By recording my success with each habit in my journal I am reminded to complete each daily task and eventually (hopefully) form a new habit.

Section Three: Successful Day

Every day I select 3-5 tasks from my much longer task list that, if I finish them, will make me feel like I accomplished something and made my day successful.

This section is super important to my day. In the past I have always worked through my day using a long list of tasks I need to complete. What I discovered was, even when I finished a lot of the tasks on that list, I wasn’t feeling very accomplished. There were so many more tasks on the list.

For the end of 2017, and for 2018 I have stopped working of my long task list. Instead, I record 3-5 tasks that I need to complete each day that will make me feel like the day was successful.

If I manage to get more tasks done…great! But achieving more than the five tasks listed in my journal is not a requirement. Only the three to five in the journal need to be finished for my day to be successful.

At the end of 2017 this tweak to my daily routine made a big difference. I found that, at the end of the day, while wrapping things up and transitioning to family time I was feeling much more accomplished and had higher levels of energy.

By limiting my expectations of myself (which usually were not very realistic or fair) I have set myself up to succeed and put myself in a better headspace for the rest of the day and evening.

Journaling every day

Right now, I have a one-day-in-a-row streak going for my 2018 gratitude and success journal.

I am hoping that I can make writing in this journal a successful part of my self-care routine. However, I am also not going to beat myself up for not getting this self-care practice “right”. I think that is an important piece of any self-care routine: if the self-care routine makes you feel worse because you aren’t doing it, then find something different to try.

A self-care routine that makes you feel guilty isn’t doing its job.

I am looking forward to getting better at journaling, and I would love your help. Let me know in the comments below what your gratitude journal (or any sort of daily journal practice) looks like.

Caring for the Caregivers: Examples of Self-Care Practices Part One – Episode #15

There are far too many self-care practices in the world to list them all. However, if you are looking for something new to try this year you can listen to Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie as they share their own self-care practices from 2017. In this episode, part one of two, the ILF Team each share one self-care practice that worked for them in 2017, and one self-care practice they want to improve upon in 2018.

Episode Time Codes

00:00 Introduction
00:57 Welcome
02:53 Indrani – Finding gratitude in the small moments
05:37 Amy – Communication your own needs
10:00 Jeremie – spend time with others doing what you love
12:47 Discussion about what self-care practices worked in 2017
15:58 Amy – yoga and meditation
19:14 Jeremie – keeping a gratitude and success journal
22:54 Indrani – restorative yoga practice
22:52 Discussion about what self-care practices need improving in 2018
32:43 Conclusion

New Year’s Resolutions: Do They Work?

One of the beautiful things about the New Year is that it traditionally makes us feel like we can start over, improve on what was not working, and gives us an opportunity of “letting go” of what went wrong during the past year.  As 2018 was approaching a few weeks ago, I reflected on all of the things I just mentioned.  I listed the people, things, events, and work that served, or didn’t serve me in 2017.

{Amy Jaffe with Saza in Chiangmai, Thailand – 2017}

I made New Year’s resolutions last year, as I do every year, and I had to force myself to recognize that I can’t remember one year that I stuck with my resolutions religiously. I gave many a good try, but I have not been fully committed after the excitement fades. Last year was another one of those years.

Here were a few of my 2017 resolutions:

  1. Develop better communication skills, and be clearer about my own needs.
  2. Develop a regular yoga and meditation practice.
  3. Be more aware of my body weight, diet, and exercise. Plan a diet that fits in with my life and body. Lose weight, and exercise on a regular basis.

Do any of these look familiar to you?

These are some common resolutions that I hear quite often, and I jumped on the bandwagon last year on all of these.  At the end of the year I actually celebrated one of the resolutions regarding my weight, diet, and exercise.  I lost over 40 pounds last year that had been creeping up on me the past 6 years, and I feel great!  I’m on the treadmill at least 5 days a week, and my diet is mostly gluten free, vegetables, a few grains, and vegetarian.  I have kept my weight off all year and grateful to feel healthy and whole.

Now, for the “not so celebrated” resolutions….

What kind of feelings do YOU go through when you reflect on your failed commitments?  Do you feel like a failure?  Do you believe you shouldn’t try again because you just know you’ll fail again?  My feelings are similar, AND the feeling of fear rises up when I want to try them again.  How can I be better at these commitments?  Why are these resolutions so important to me? And how can they become habits?  I am sitting with all of these questions and feelings, and ready to stand up and move forward with the desire to keep trying.

Brené Brown is one of my teachers in life, and two of her books, “Daring Greatly” and “Braving the Wilderness” are my new bibles.  At the end of every year I beat myself up with guilt because I did NOT stay committed to my New Year’s resolutions.  I am a perfectionist at heart and mind, and when I am not perfect …. the guilt and anxiety take a hold of me.

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Where do I go from here?

I am setting my intentions and resolutions again this year!  My intention is to follow Brené Brown’s advice and focus on healthy striving in my life.  I am one of the hosts of Indrani’s Light Foundation’s “Caring for the Caregivers” podcast.  Indrani Goradia, Jeremie Miller and I publish a bi-monthly podcast to support our Caregivers who work as staff members in domestic violence shelters.  (Available on iTunes)  In our newest episode for 2018, the three of us discussed how we can reflect on our current self-care practices, and plan for new ones as an important step in being intentional about our self-care.  We also talked about what practices worked for us in 2017, and which ones need improvement in 2018.

I am excited about starting this New Year free from guilt and shame, and acknowledging that intentions and striving for a healthier life is what my New Year’s Resolution will be!

I would love to know if this blog and our podcast episodes have been helpful for you this first month of 2018.  What have you learned so far?  Have you freed yourself of guilt, and discovered your New Year’s Resolutions?

With gratitude,

Amy

Amy Jaffe | Director of Education & Outreach
Indrani’s Light Foundation

Caring for the Caregivers: A Meditation for the New Year – Episode #14

Join Indrani for a meditation to help prepare you for the new year. This meditation will help you get grounded, then send peace and compassion to yourself. Once you are feeling at ease, you can then send the same peace and compassion to others.

Caring for the Caregivers: 6 Tips for Taking Care of Yourself and Focusing on Self-Care During the Holidays – Episode #13

Prepare for the holidays by listening to these SIX self-care tips from Amy, Jeremie, and Stacie.

Learn how to plan for your “you time” ahead of time, how to use your boundaries and values to navigate difficult conversations, the importance of gratitude, and three more tips in this episode of the Caring for the Caregivers Podcast.

Episode Time Codes

00:00 Introduction
02:03 Stacie Kenton Introduction.
03:26 Scenario
04:15 Jeremie – Plan for your “you time,” ahead of time.
07:10 Discussion about Planning your “you time,” ahead of time.
07:45 Stacie – Show some gratitude.
09:37 Discussion about Show some Gratitude.
11:56 Amy – Boundaries and values.
18:42 Discussion about Boundaries and values.
20:50 Jeremie – What positive emotions do you want to experience?
23:55 Discussion about What positive emotions do you want to experience.
27:25 Amy – Saying No.
33:12 Discussion about Saying no.
36:50 Stacie – Assume everyone is doing their best.
39:42 Discussion about Assume everyone is doing their best.
43:46 Conclusion
45:05 Volunteer Suzanne Holman shares two tips.
46:20 Volunteer Alyce Jurgenson shares two tips.

Links and Resources mentioned in this episode

BOOK: Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

LINK: Positive Emotions List

BRAVING:

B – Did I respect my boundaries?
R – Was I reliable?
A – Did I hold myself accountable?
V – Did I respect the vault and share appropriately?
I – Did I act from my integrity?
G – Was I generous towards myself?

Vaikhara Mudra

(Source: Mudras – For Healing and Transformation by Joseph and Lilian Page)

Caring for the Caregivers Meditation – “Are your expectations leading to sticky situations?” – Episode #12

If you aren’t setting clear boundaries, and communicating your expectations, you are going to find yourself in conflict. Indrani shares a personal coaching message about setting and dealing with expectations at work and at home.

Caring for the Caregivers: Sacrificing Holiday Time for Coworkers – Episode #11

Holidays can be stressful. Family, friends, extra expenses, and finding time to get everything done, while trying to enjoy yourself, can push you to the edge.

A coworker at the shelter asking you to switch shifts, or give up your holiday time, only adds to this holiday-madness and stress.

In today’s episode Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie discuss three tools you can use to have a conversation with your coworker, stick to your boundaries, and still protect the relationship.

Episode Time Codes

00:00 Introduction.
00:43 Scenario.
02:05 Amy – Guilt and shame triggers.
07:28 Discussion about Guilt and shame triggers.
13:16 Indrani – Working from your strengths.
19:50 Discussion about Working from your strengths.
24:40 Jeremie – What happens when you don’t set boundaries.
29:30 Discussion about What happens when you don’t set boundaries.
34:05 Conclusion

Links and Resources mentioned in this episode

VIA Strength Survey – Free
Going to the Movies – Episode #3
Going to the Movies – Episode #5

Caring for the Caregivers Meditation – After a tough conversation – Episode #10

In the last episode you learned some tools you can use for having a tough conversation with your supervisor. After having that tough conversation your brain is going to be full and your emotions running high.

Use this meditation to get to a place where you can properly review the meeting and make decisions on your next steps.

Caring for the Caregivers: Feeling Guilty When Saying “NO” to Your Supervisor – Episode #9

When you want to make an impact on people’s lives, it can be hard to say “no” when asked to help. But what if providing that help will end up hurting you? In this episode Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie share three tools you can use to say “no” to your supervisor, without feeling guilty, when asked to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing.

Episode Time Codes

00:00 Introduction
01:02 Scenario
01:50 Amy – “I want to be perceived as…”
06:04 Discussion about the “I want to be perceived as…” tool.
08:06 Jeremie – Delivering a “Yes. No. Yes?”
12:41 Discussion of the “Yes. No. Yes?” tool.
16:50 Indrani – Self-care: Press pause and think about your answer.
20:50 Discussion of the “Press pause and think about your answer” tool.
28:10 Conclusion

Links and Resources mentioned in this episode

The Power of a Positive No: Save the deal. Save the relationship – and still say no