Posts Tagged With: self-care

Day 3507: Good answers

People often come to therapy for good answers to troubling questions about life.

This book, which was recommended by my good friend and fellow therapist Megan …

… is giving some good answers to the question of how to deal with painful feelings in ourselves and others. Here’s what I’m reading this morning:

Though all emotional healing requires it, listening to pain is difficult — and the greater the pain, the more difficult it is to listen to. The dark emotions are uncomfortable; they are also contagious. Their energies flow through and between and among us without regard for the boundaries we erect to keep ourselves separate. If we are unable to tolerate some discomfort, it’s hard to listen to dark feelings in ourselves or others. Our best, most compassionate intentions are thwarted, our connections marred by the shadow of intolerable emotions. We become inured to the incessant cacophony of the world’s suffering, limited in our authenticity and responsiveness. And we suffer from not knowing the darker side of ourselves.

Greenspan, 2004, p. 15

Often a good answer to the unrelenting grief, fear, and despair in the world is to take a break from all that. Those breaks can be moments of deep breathing or getting away for a vacation. A good answer for me, here and now, is taking two weeks off from work, starting this Saturday, and flying to Portland, Oregon to visit my college roommate Maria.

Do you see good answers in any of my other images for today?

The Daily Bitch often has good answers, don’t you think?

Here’s my good answer to my own question of what music you would like to share with others:

I look forward to people’s good answers in the comments section, below.

Gratitude is a good answer for everything, so thanks to all who visit my daily blog, including YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 3307: Note to self

Note to self: Write about yesterday’s therapy group, when people sent letters to themselves starting with “Dear (your name here)” and ending with “Love, (your name here).”

Note to self: It can be very healing for people to send themselves important messages with love.

Here’s my note (or letter) to myself for today:

Dear Ann,

Remember to balance other people’s needs with your needs. And stop mindlessly snacking on popcorn and sunflower seeds to distract yourself.

Love,

Ann

Note to self: Share the images for today.

Note to self: In my groups today, do that mindfulness exercise where people hug themselves, in honor of National Hugging Day.

(Note to self: Make sure you have the date right before you publish your blog post. )

Note to self: look for a YouTube video of 97-year-old pianist Ruth Slenczynska.

Note to self: express gratitude to all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 3237: Nourishment

When people talk about food in my therapy groups (and they often do!), I sometimes invite them to expand the discussion to include different kinds of nourishment.

It might be nourishing to include a definition of nourishment here.

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Do you see nourishment in my images for today?

I hope for a day when veterans everywhere get the nourishment they need.

I doubt I’ll get the nourishment of a Sundae today (because I work from 9 – 8 on Thursdays), but there’s always tomorrow!

Part of my recent nourishment has been listening to Pat Metheny’s Side-Eye NYC album, including this nourishing tune:

What types of nourishment have you been getting these days?

Gratitude is one of my favorite kinds of nourishment, so thanks to all who visit this blog, including YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Day 3235: Be mindful

“Be mindful” is good advice and is something I saw on a sign yesterday near work.

Because I try to be mindful of people I love, I want to wish my friend and co-worker Jan a happy birthday!

Let’s be mindful of all the riches around us.

Let’s be mindful about self care, shall we?

What else is there to be mindful about? What helps you to be mindful?

When I search YouTube for “be mindful,” I find this

… and this:

Be mindful of the comments section, below.

Finally, be mindful of how grateful I am that you show up here, exactly the way you do.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 3177: A pat on the back

I think we all deserve a pat on the back for getting through months of this pandemic, as well as other soul-sucking challenges that could easily break our backs.

Not to pat myself on the back too much, but my job as a group therapist for a major Boston medical center is important and also very stressful. I’m feeling more stressed than unusual today because I’ll be returning there in-person one day a week, starting tomorrow. In response to the stress, I’ve developed a new nervous habit — scratching myself on the back. This morning, I decided to transform that into a more adaptive habit: whenever I notice that I am scratching my back, I will consciously pat myself on the back instead.

Do you think I deserve a pat on the back for that helpful transformation or for any of the images I’m choosing to share today?

Patting oneself on the back takes practice, so I am now going to pat myself on the back for keeping several awesome friendships over the years.

Also, when I look at the National Days for today …

… I notice that several are related to giving pats on the back.

I’m also patting myself on the back for choosing to spend part of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 yesterday by listening to the uplifting score of Come From Away — the musical based on the true stories of the planes that were rerouted to remote Gander, Newfoundland after the Twin Tower attacks.

I think the creators of Come From Away should pat themselves on the back for transforming the pain of that day into such a deep, compelling, and healing work of art. Here’s a number from the show plus a recent interview on Good Morning America :

How can you pat yourself on the back, here and now?

Finally, I will pat myself on the back again for sharing my thoughts, feelings, and gratitude with wonderful people who have my back every day, including YOU!

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Day 3024: Pro (and con)-crastination

These days, many people in therapy are talking about procrastination.

Without procrastination, I’ll tell you why: People feel guilt and shame about not getting more done during the coronavirus pandemic when “I had so much more time on my hands!”

I wish people would stop procrastinating letting go of guilt and shame about procrastination. Procrastination is NOT a sin. Procrastination occurs when you

  • have to do something you dislike doing,
  • are focusing on the prospect of failure,
  • don’t have the information or resources you need to complete the task, and/or
  • are not at your best and think you would do a better job if you waited until you felt better.

When you consider that, it’s amazing any of us are getting ANYTHING done.

I’m now procrastinating sharing something I just realized. I not only procrastinate, I also do the opposite of procrastination, which I’m calling concrastination.

What is concrastination? It’s the need to do something immediately, without putting it off to a better time. I concrastinate the following:

  • responding to emails, texts, and phone calls,
  • meeting people’s expressed needs,
  • trying to solve perceived problems,
  • exploring new ideas,
  • expressing my feelings, and
  • creating blog posts after I wake up, even if it’s in the middle of the night.

Do you see procrastination or concrastination in any of today’s images?

Here is PROCRASTINATION – The Musical by AVbyte:

I’m concrastinating asking for comments, below, and expressing thanks to all who help me create these daily blogs, including YOU!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 2643: What are your priorities?

On this day, what are your priorities?

Do your priorities include taking care of tasks?

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Do your priorities include noticing and appreciating what’s around you throughout the day?

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Do your priorities include staying hydrated ?

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Do your priorities include keeping track of what belongs to you?

Do your priorities include eating healthy food?

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Do your priorities include socializing as best you can during these strange times?

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Do your priorities include compassion, kindness, and grace?

Do your priorities include effective communication?

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Do your priorities include smiling? Studies show that smiling helps improve your mood (even if you don’t feel like smiling).

Face it!  It can be very difficult to set priorities during changing and uncertain times. My priorities, here and now, include

  • blogging,
  • arranging and conducting on-line therapy groups,
  • forgiving myself for my mistakes,
  • listening,
  • communicating,
  • accepting myself and others,
  • balancing action with thought,
  • hope,
  • safety,
  • letting go of judgment,
  • letting go of worry,
  • finding joy wherever I can,
  • caring for myself and others as best I can, and
  • music (here and here).

As always, my priorities include gratitude, so thanks to all who help me create these daily posts, including YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2638: What we can teach each other

Yesterday, I decided that our shy cat Harley could probably teach people a thing or two about social distancing, so I started taping this tutorial:

However, Harley didn’t teach the way I expected him to. Based on my past knowledge of Harley, I assume that Harley’s behavior was different because his best friend Michael was in the room.

This morning, when Michael was not in the room, I tried again:

Somebody can teach me something about how to hold the camera and Harley can teach us all this about social distancing:

  • Maintain a distance of six feet from people.
  • If somebody gets too close, move away, if possible.
  • If not, ask the person to back off.

Harley also teaches us that fear can make us very catty.

What can these other recent images teach us?

That teabag can teach us that our strength is our own knowledge.

I hope our knowledge and our strength help us all get through this.  I look forward to the teachings in the comments section, below.

Thanks to all who teach and learn, including YOU!

Categories: health care, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 2609: No Filter

Do you know people who have no filter — who say whatever comes to mind?

I thought about people with no filter when I captured this image yesterday:

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As I wrote here recently, when  I facilitate therapy groups, I filter my comments through the question of “Who is it for?”

As I’ve shared many times starting here, I do my best to filter my behavior through these three things:

  1. Show up.
  2. Be gentle.
  3. Tell the truth.

Here are my mostly unfiltered photos from yesterday:

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In my groups, I have no filter when I encourage people to be selfish (i.e., practice self-care) and to be in the moment.

Here‘s “No Filter” by Fifth Harmony:

No filter needed for your comments!

No filter for the gratitude I have towards all those who help me create this daily blog, including YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2528: I’m sick of _______

I’m sick of

  • politics,

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  • trying to figure out my ring size,

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  • misspellings on signs,

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I’m NOT sick of

  • people who are funny,

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  • cats,

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  • self-care,

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  •  Michael’s cooking,

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  • your comments, and
  • gratitude.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

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