Starting a new self-care routine, or maintaining a routine consistently, can be challenging. You get busy, other people interfere with your plans, or maybe you realize that you don’t even like the self-care activity you have chosen. In this episode Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie discuss tips and tricks you can use to support you in sticking to your self-care routine and living a healthier life.
00:00 Introduction 00:52 Scenario 02:05 Jeremie – Don’t track self-care in your head. Physically track your successes. 06:00 Discussion 07:10 Indrani – Reduce self-care to a list of your favorite choices. 11:10 Discussion 14:25 Amy – Get help and support when you can’t do it on your own. 20:20 Discussion 22:10 Jeremie – Change your self-care routines until something works. 26:00 Discussion 29:50 Conclusion 31:41 Outro
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.
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
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.
Buy a journal – I found an empty journal we had sitting around the house (see the image at the start of the post).
Decide what you want to track daily in your journal – I track gratitude, habits, and successful days.
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.
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.
Start using your journal – I am re-kickstarting my journal Friday January 26th.
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.
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.
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
Indrani wrote the blog below. While you’re reading her story, think about how you are attempting to smile through all of the chaos going on in the world right now. Are you speaking up when you hear the hatred, discrimination, and abuse that is happening in presidential campaign right now? Do you have a trusted person to confide in … someone who is aligned with your values and understands your sorrow over the latest terrorist bombing in Brussels?
In the United States, we have entered into an era of transformation, divisiveness, and uncertainty. The intense energy that is surrounding us in our country is affecting us every day. We are affected by what we see and read from our friends on Facebook and social media. We are overhearing conversations about politics…. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hilary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders in the restaurants, grocery stores, and parties. We are seeing people suffer from terrorists’ bombings on CNN.
What is making your heart ache about our world? Are you smiling through it? Indrani talks about how you can speak your truth, cry if you need to, and that being taught to smile through pain is a bunch of crap!
Here is Indrani ….
“There is a song by Nat King Cole that says, “Smile though your heart is aching.” While I love the song, I no longer believe the message.
I think we need to delve into why our heart is breaking and allow a cry if that’s what’s needed and then smile as we plan a strategy to live more fully and to get away from negatively charged people and situations.
I believe that we had been sold a bunch of crap when we were being taught to smile through pain even torment.
It is this cultural brainwashing of not speaking up when things are bad or trying to keep up appearances that nothing is wrong, that gets us into lots of emotional quagmires.
We need to have trusted people in whom we can confide.
We need to tell our stories to safe people and we need to hear ourselves speak the pain out loud. Not in a way that looks like verbal vomit, but in a way that looks like true release.
Often times, just by allowing ourselves to speak the pain can ease the strangle hold that the pain seems to have.
We must, however, be careful with whom we offer our vulnerabilities. Showing someone how vulnerable you are is a gift to them and to you. You need to be sure that people can respect the gift you give.
I hope you can find true confidants and can be a true confidant to someone in need.”
Love and light,
What are you doing to speak your truth? How are you managing your heartache these days? We’d love to hear some stories from all of you. Maybe your story can help others. Share your story below, or on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/indranislight/. You can also Tweet Indrani at @indranis_light.
Some of you are wondering what our Caregiver Project is all about. Well, let’s start by defining the word, “Caregiver.” There are a few variations of the definition, but this is the one that best fits our mission:
“Relatives, friends, or professionals who provide a wide range of paid, or unpaid care to dependent relatives, friends and/or people needing physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual support. Caregiving is the action of providing care to these individuals.”
Caregiving can include:
Emotional and social support (e.g. visiting, transportation, talking about emotions)
Finding and accessing services (e.g. housing, medical supports)
Behavioral support (e.g. communicating effectively, managing challenging behaviors)
Financial help (e.g. financial support, managing finances)
Practical assistance with basic activities of daily living (e.g. housekeeping, shopping, meal preparation)
Personal care (e.g. help with monitoring medication, bathing)
Physical help (e.g. assistance with movement, supervision, direct medical care)
Overarching all of these activities, caregiving is the assumption of responsibility for providing care, along with the concern, worry and emotional involvement this entails.
Why is ILF involved with the Caregivers at women’s shelters?
Early last year, the founder of ILF, Indrani Goradia, began talking with the staff of shelter facilities who were caring for victims of violence. They began sharing their concerns for the high turnover rate of staff within their organizations, and the burnout that naturally happens due to the nature of this work.
Indrani quickly went into action. She knew if we were losing these passionate people who work with victims of violence, we could lose the shelters, or cut the number of women, men, and children who need be housed. Now, how could ILF help? We can train and educate the shelter staff (the Caregivers) how to keep from burning out.
What we teach the Caregivers?
Our trainers are teaching the caregivers about different tools they can use for self-care, and lead a more balanced life.
We educate caregivers on how to recognize their own triggers of shame, guilt, and humiliation that effect their work and personal lives.
We help them improve their personal boundaries, and how to say “No” to things that compromise their well-being.
And we remind them that they matter, that they are loved, and that they are “seen,” for the work they do.
Where can we teach the Caregiver Project?
We can send our trainers to anywhere in the United States, and some areas of Canada.
We teach in women’s shelters and organizations that directly have contact with victims of violence.
We are currently training ILF trainers all over the world to help us reach the caregivers in other countries.
How much does the training cost?
We offer the Caregiver Training at NO COST to the shelter or organization. We do, however, rely on donations to fund the 2-day training class. The training requires two certified ILF trainers, and the cost for travel, transportation, food, supplies, and pay for the entire training is approximately $5,000.00.
How can you help us with the Caregiver Project?
You can SPREAD THE WORD! Use social media, email, or mention us at a party or event. (facebook.com/indranislight Twitter: @indranis_light)
You can BECOME AN ILF TRAINER! We will be offering the Train-the-Trainer Course every year to certify trainers to teach our ILF curriculum to their own communities and shelters.
You can DONATE! Here is where you can donate ANY AMOUNT to help our Caregiver Project, or any other area of our mission to end domestic violence.
We need your feedback.
What do you think of the project?
Is this something you would love to support?
How would you like to support us?
What more could we do?
If you have already supported our mission in any way, we want to extend our deepest gratitude. If you would like to do more, or maybe you haven’t taken the step to support us yet, please reach out to our Director of Education and Training, Amy Dier, at email@example.com. She will be more than happy to talk with you about your options.
Some of you will have read the title of this blog and have no earthly idea where I will be going.
Others of you will say, “But of course, everyone knows this!”
Still others may just be amused that the title may seem trite.
Let me tell you a story to make this topic come alive. A few years ago, at a business conference I heard a CEO of a large company recall an instance of how this manifested in the C suite.
He was sitting and engaged in his work when he was interrupted by his personal secretary to say that someone from Marketing had a very serious issue.
Being a benevolent CEO, he stopped his work and took the unscheduled meeting.
The Marketing employee came to to tell the CEO that EVERYONE in the Marketing department hated the manager. She listed (painfully) a long string of names of those who had been wronged and how they were wronged and just how affronted she was at the whole state of affairs in the Marketing dept.
The CEO, leaned back in his chair (sure fire behavior that she had lost his attention) and asked her ONE question.
This was it…”Were you appointed by the WHOLE department to bring these atrocities to my attention?”
The answer was a halting and faltering “no.”
He continued, “No one asked you to come to me with this litany of complaints.”
She said, “no.”
He said, leaning forward, “What is YOUR specific problem with your job?”
She blurted out that someone who did less work than she did was making more money than she was.
The CEO, then simply told us these words, “If she had come in with ONLY her problem, we would have looked at it and made a correction. The fact that she was in everyone’s business was so unprofessional that she threw herself under a bus.”
I heard that story many years ago.
I really had not assimilated it to other life incidents as efficiently as I did a few days ago while I was mediating between a home owner and a domestic helper.
I started with the domestic helper first and I asked what her concernS were and she began a litany of past ills NOT against herself but against others she had heard about.
She told me about “Mary” who was underpaid and about “Janice” who was put upon and “had” to ignore her own family and on and on.
I could NOT find a way into this woman’s issues and her individual problems.
Every time I tried to speak she blocked me with another litany.
I then asked her to STOP.
I said I am going to tell you a story. I told her the story from the CEO, the story above. She was enthralled.
I asked her, at the end of the story, to tell me what the CEO was disappointed about and why.
She was able to identify that the employee was in everyone’s business but her own!
Then, I said “Are you in other people’s business with all the stories you were telling me and not able to identify your own issues?”
She agreed that she was indeed NOT in her business.
I had been observing her facial expressions and body language as she retold the stories that were not hers to tell. She was agitated and closed in and contracted.
When she began to be in her business she was open and her face was not contorted. She was actually able to smile and laugh at some of the humor that I was pointing out.
The moral of this story is:
When we stay in our business we practice self care at its finest.
Byron Katie has a great worksheet for understanding whose business you are in.
Your donation will be used towards eradicating gender violence, training community leaders and sharing behaviour-change tools with people who are ready to leave violence behind and create a brighter, more peaceful world.