As do many other individuals, I believe that wellness is a journey. For those of us who have chosen to travel its path, we find ourselves working our programs or processes on a daily basis. There is no question - it is hard work! And, it is worth it. At times, however, many individuals working their wellness routines find themselves in relationships with loved ones, friends, family members, co-workers, etc. who are traveling a different path - one of unhealthiness. Today, we are going to explore...
|Path of Wellness|
Self-care is an extremely broad topic which can apply to a myriad of situations or circumstances. We are going to break it down into four restorative steps which specifically address how to take care of ourselves when others are not in a healthy place.
When an individual's unhealthiness is causing chaos, confusion, unrest or any type of interference with our well-being, it is extremely important to silence the noise or voices around us. It is not uncommon, especially in families or other institutions/systems that involve large numbers of individuals, for the fallout of dysfunction from one individual to spill over into the lives of others. This, in turn, creates additional turmoil. In order to regain a healthy perspective on our current healing reality, we must begin our self-care with stillness and quiet. Implement the following:
- Give yourself permission to detach from the noise or voices.
- Give yourself as much time as needed.
- Communicate respectfully and firmly to others of your need to detach.
- Expect resistance or anger. Prepare self-care statements in advance.
- Remain detached until you are clear on your boundaries (next steps).
Being still isn't about pushing others away.
It is natural for feelings of guilt or over-responsibility to start creeping back into our minds, especially if family, friends, or co-workers exhibit unhealthy attitudes or behaviors in response to Step One. Therefore, it is important to self-assess as soon as we have silenced the noise or voices around us. Because writing, journaling, or informal brainstorming help in clarifying our thoughts and feelings, I highly recommend the following:
|Clarify Feelings and Needs|
- Get on your computer or get out some paper. Begin by writing down how you are feeling. Are you mad, resentful, sad, other? Don't hold back. Get those feelings out!
- Next, write down why you are feeling this way. Who or what has contributed to these feelings? Describe the specific behaviors that interfere with your healthy ways of being.
- Lastly, write down what you need in order to take care of yourself. These needs provide the foundation for your self-care. Take your time. Be very specific.
|What Is Jeopardizing Wellness?|
Self-care requires examination of what is jeopardizing our wellness.
After we have silenced the noise and determined our needs through self-assessment, we then must shore up or set up healthy boundaries to safe-guard our health. When there are other individuals in our lives who are not choosing wellness, we must carefully examine how and to what degree we are investing into them and/or if we should continue investing in them at all. Although this may sound strange to some, we can choose to invest selectively into people. In other words, we can put boundaries around our investments into others. Because there is much to say about boundary work, for now I am going to provide you with three criteria to consider when implementing selective investment. (*Note - see below). Ask yourself and answer the following questions. Again, I encourage you to write down your truths as you continue down your path to wellness.
1. How much do I want to give of myself in this relationship, system, or environment?
2. How much do I want to give away of my resources in this relationship, system, or environment?
it? What worked well for me? What didn't? How did I feel? What am I going to do
differently next time?
4. Lastly, do I need to discontinue this relationship altogether?
Lastly, in embracing a restorative response, it is important that we surround ourselves with healthy support. Although this includes individuals who nourish our spirits and/or who are like-minded in their wellness journeys, it is important to think about places, hobbies, interests, and events which contribute to our sense of well-being. Again, I suggest spending time reflecting upon and writing down whom or what you want to invite and integrate into your well space. Keep a pulse on how you are feeling and what you need as you make decisions which support your self-care.
I remember my friend Claire sharing with me that in support of her self-care she re-embraced a past love - playing her piano. She dug out her music, began taking lessons again, and spent hours practicing - feeling refreshed and renewed with every note.
|Notes Of Renewal|
In closing, it is important to remember that for many of us who have chosen to travel a path of wellness amidst an environment which is contrary to what we embrace, we can often feel alone and we may even question our own direction. We must remember that we, too, are on a journey. By looking back and seeing how far we have come, we can rest in knowing our road ahead is filled with peace and promise. We can trust our truth - it is well with our souls.
|It Is Well With My Soul|