SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace. Find happiness. Find yourself.

Month: December 2015 (page 1 of 2)

My Christmas List…

Michigan. Farmington Hills. Christmas wreath in a snowy fence. Wintertime scenics and holiday spirit.

Not just giving presents, but being present.
Not only grocery shopping for holiday meals, but also donating to families who do not have holiday meals.
Not just traveling for the holidays, but thinking of those who do not have family to travel to.
Not only watching the beautiful snow fall, but thinking of those who have never seen snow.
Not only giving thanks for all that we have, but giving our time to others who are not as fortunate.
Not just decorating our home for the holidays, but remembering those who do not have a home to decorate.
Not only having the Christmas spirit, but spreading the Christmas spirit and love to others.
Not just being excited to celebrate Christmas and receive gifts from Santa, but remember those who have never celebrated Christmas or ever received a gift.
Not just praying for good weather so our travels are easy, but praying for those who have nowhere warm to go when the weather is cold.
Not only listening to Christmas music, but spreading Christmas cheer.
Not only searching for great holiday deals, but being thankful for everything we already have.
Not only opening gifts from others, but opening our hearts to those who need love the most.
-keep shining
 
 
 

 

Happy Things Thursday

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1. Good hair days
2. Calm, quiet snow fall
3. Wedding celebrations
4. A giant cup of your favorite coffee
5. The smell of Subway
6. Being asked if you’ve lost weight
7. Finishing a good book
8. Christmas movies
9. Packing for a vacation
10. The cozy feeling of walking around in your favorite slippers

HALT

Halt-Bord

HALT
Hungry
Angry
Lonely
Tired

The first time I heard about HALT was working with individuals who struggle with addiction. HALT is used a lot in relapse prevention programs, however I think it can be utilized daily by anyone who finds it beneficial. I use HALT a lot to ensure that I am taking care of myself and queuing into what my body is telling me that it needs. Simply asking yourself each day to assess your body for HALT symptoms (‘Am I hungry, angry, lonely, tired?’) will help you be more aware of what you need, and aware of how you’re interacting with the outside world. Paying attention to these simple needs is quick and easy, and will ensure that we are aware of our own well-being.

Hungry: Sounds pretty self-explanatory, right? But, how many of you skip meals or forget to eat when life gets busy? It happens more than we realize! We all know the importance of a healthy, balanced diet and how this truly is fuel for our brains. I know when I have skipped a meal or eaten late, I can feel myself get tired, impatient, and unfocused. There is no way to function every day feeling like that! For anyone to complete their daily tasks successfully they need to refuel their brains and bodies. People aren’t lying when they say breakfast is the most important meal. Even if you are not hungry in the mornings, try to get something in your body to fuel up your brain and body for the long day ahead. It is also so important to eat full meals throughout the day. We all get busy and have to settle for a granola bar now and again, but when you have time to plan ahead, try to prepare nutritious meals. There are many tips and tricks on the internet to take shortcuts and make meal preparation a breeze!

Angry: People associate anger as such a negative thing. Anger is just a feeling, it does not need to be anything more than that. It is okay to feel the way you feel. I wrote a blog about this a while back to remind you all that you are entitled to your own feelings! ( http://swsecrets.net/?p=43 ) Why are you angry? Just recognizing your anger can make a huge difference in the way you feel the rest of the day. Identify your anger. Have you ever tried ignoring your anger and then lashing out at someone later on in the day? We are all guilty of that, I bet! Taking time to recognize our anger and using steps to calm ourselves will keep us from lashing out at others. Plus, once we are aware of our anger it is less damaging to our mood. Awareness is everything.

Lonely: Everyone knows what it feels like to be lonely at some point in life. However, there is a difference between being lonely and being alone. If you feel lonely, there are always ways to make more connections with people. Whether that is online, community activities, scheduling more time to spend with friends…There are endless opportunities, and this is a great way to practice that self care I know you’ve been working on 😉 ( http://swsecrets.net/?p=174 ) Take a leap of faith and put yourself out there! Make a small effort each day to do one thing that helps you to feel connected to someone else. Just be sure to spend time with people who you feel comfortable with. Spending time with people that are not good influences in your life, or someone you’re not comfortable around, will not fulfill your feelings of loneliness. Make these interactions meaningful and fulfilling.
I personally struggle with being alone. I could be surrounded by people all the time and would rarely feel the need to have any alone time. This is something I am working on  changing about myself because silence is a beautiful thing. We are constantly surrounding ourselves with noise, but just being in silence can be so peaceful. I do not listen to music on the way home from work anymore, and it feels so good! Silence is golden.

Tired: Being tired takes a serious toll on our bodies. How often do we feel ‘tired’ and practically chug 8 cups of coffee before noon? It’s easy to ignore how tired we are when each day is filled with meetings, errands, other activities…Our ability to think accurately diminishes when we are constantly running on fumes. And if you add hunger, loneliness, and anger in the mix…Look out! Increasing the amount of sleep you get each night or finding a few moments in the day to close your eyes may be all you need to have a better outlook on life each day. Satisfying your need for rest is what keeps us healthy- both physically and emotionally. Simply recharging your mind/brain can be helpful- using self care techniques such as listening to music or deep breathing may be all you need to get through the day, and recharge your batteries!

HALT is a quick reminder to be sure we are meeting our basic needs each and every day. Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? Taking a simple assessment of our needs will help us to practice being more in-tune with our bodies. Just take one minute per day to HALT, think about yourself, and how to manage the remainder of your day. You owe it to yourself to be happy and healthy.

It is health that is real wealth, not pieces of gold and silver.

-keep shining

Happy Things Thursday

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  1. PTO
  2. Happy tears
  3. Everyone laughing at your joke
  4. Finding a pen you love to write with
  5. Accepting an apology
  6. New toothbrushes
  7. Being told you’ve made a difference in someone’s life
  8. The relief of putting chapstick on dry lips
  9. The smell of flowers
  10. Meaningful anniversaries

*Don’t forget to ‘like’ my Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/secretsofsw/?ref=hl

 

Being Selfish Is Not Selfish

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I know that you have heard me say it before, but I want you to know some really good news!!! Are you ready for it? Here it goes….

 It is okay to be selfish sometimes.

Isn’t that relieving?! Knowing that you can focus on yourself and your own needs, and not have to feel guilty about it?

For the sake of this blog I like to refer to selfishness as ‘self-interest’ because it has a much more positive tone to it. So, why is it so important to be self-interested? And how can we be self-interested without feeling guilty?

Answer me this…How productive are you when you are exhausted, upset, rushed? How involved and focused are you on your work, family, and other obligations when you are experiencing those symptoms I just listed? How are you able to fully invest in those obligations when you are not fully invested in yourself, first and foremost?

Do this exercise for me real quick: Come up with a list of things you can do for self care, because to be self-interested means you have to take care of yourself. What are some goals you can set for yourself to be sure you’re giving yourself enough ‘me time’, and how will you hold yourself accountable for reaching that goal? For example, one of my self care goals is to get a manicure every 3 weeks 🙂 I schedule my next appointment while I am at the salon so I know for sure that I will continue my self care and not forget about it. Although this act of self-interest costs money, there are many self-interest options that do not cost anything, such as taking a bath, going for a walk, calling someone you’re close to, listening to music, etc.

Each day ask yourself two things: 1. What would be the most loving action I could take for myself today? 2. What would be fun for me today?
Put these questions in your phone as an alarm, or write yourself a sticky note and place it somewhere you will see it each and every day.

Self-interest helps to clear our minds and feel rejuvenated. It helps me focus on myself, and what I need to do for me in order to focus on my other obligations. We need that ‘breath of fresh air’ sometimes, that break, that moment of selfishness to feel ready to take on the next challenge that comes our way. I know for a fact that I am much more empathetic, patient, and happy helping others at work every day when I also remember to help myself.

Sometimes I feel guilty when I focus on myself, and I think that is pretty normal. But, by reminding myself that I am a better me when I am happy and give myself some time to breathe, I feel so much better about every other aspect in my life. You are helping others more-so by spending some time focusing on you as well. With a fresh mind, you can better help and be there for others. It is all about balance and giving yourself permission to love yourself.

I think society puts a lot of pressure on us to do for others, be helpful, focus on people’s needs and how we can better this world. Yes, all of these things are true and important, but we are forgetting to include ourselves in there! We cannot better the lives of others if we are not bettering ourselves. We are a society focused on external reward and praise for our actions. Those are great things, but they can be even greater if we remember to give ourselves a break sometimes.
Self interest = self respect.
Type ‘self-interest quotes’ into your search engine and view images to see all the negative ideas of self-interest that pop up. This is unfortunately a good example of why we are made to believe that being self-interested is frowned upon, and that is truly a misconception!

It is not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and make your happiness a priority.  It’s necessary.

Have I persuaded you yet?

-keep shining

 

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