To say I’m passionate about encouraging people to attend to their own needs and have good self care habits might be an understatement…. Luckily for me, I’m not alone. A few days ago I met with three amazing colleagues I had the privilege of working with at Fulton State Hospital to talk about one of our favorite topics: Self Care. Along with these amazing ladies, I’ve been invited to help put on a “Self Care” room at the Department of Mental Health/Missouri Institute of Mental Health’s annual Spring Institute training conference. The first two years, I assisted a little here and there but was mostly a participant. This year I helped with the organization, planning and running of the room. I have to tell you, that is an amazing conference to attend. Yes, they have excellent trainings where I get to learn about all of the neat things going on in mental health around the state. Yes, it’s like a big holiday get together where I get to see all of my favorite colleagues in one place for two days. But the lat few years, what really sets this conference apart in my opinion is the self care room. The Self Care and Resiliency Station is a large round room. You can tell you’re getting close when you begin to notice the beautiful smell wafting out the door from the aromatherapy supplies. You walk in and are greeted with the opportunity to participate in around 12-14 “Self Care stations” where you make crafts, complete puzzles, create your own bag of potpourri to take home, play with a zen garden or even get a massage. Participants are encouraged to skip one of the training sessions to instead spend an hour or so engaging in these restoring self care activities. You can see people visibly relax as they move through the activities at their own pace. Some come once for an hour, others come back for brief visits during breaks throughout the two day event. For the last three years, I’ve left this conference feeling re-committed to my own self care practice and bring back new ideas to share with clients. For those of you who are my clients, this is where I first learned about the Mindfulness activity where we balance peacock feathers!
This Spring, while I was moving back and forth between planning for Spring Institute, getting my ducks in a row to move our office across town and life (i.e. planning a family vacation, prepping my son to start Kindergarten Summer School, helping a new therapist get up and running, etc.), it occurred to me that I could continue to spread the idea of self care by hosting a Self Care themed Open House that would have the added benefit of showing off my new office space to friends, colleagues and everyone who has helped me along the way.
On July 20th Aspire Counseling hosted our first Self Care themed Open House to celebrate our recent move to our new location. We had healthy snacks (who doesn’t love to eat at an open house, right?), a Sand Mandala, Zen Gardens, puzzles, a station to write Thank You notes and learn about gratitude, an “Ocean in a Bag” craft, meditation apps and a nature themed craft. In preparation for that Open House I wrote a series of blog posts on the topic of Self Care. As they were spread out around the website, I also wanted to create a list of all of my self care themed posts to have in one place for those or you who are ready to delve a little deeper into the topic.
Round Up of Self Care Blog Posts
Now you have probably read one or two of my self care themed blog posts recently, but it’s also likely you’ve missed a couple. Since this will be my final post on Self Care (for now-give me a month or two and I’m sure you’ll see another!) I wanted to do a quick “Round Up” so you can catch up on any you missed!
- What is Self Care?
- Is Self Care Selfish?
- 10 Self Care Activities that take 10 Minutes or Less
- Incorporating Nature into Self Care for Emotional Healing
- 5 Senses Grounding Exercise
- Improving Sleep
- Eating Fruits & Veggies to Improve Mood
- Self Care for Parents of Children with Special Needs
- Three Ways to Practice Gratitude
- Build Mastery as a Self Care Skill
- Basic Self Care Habits
Jessica Tappana MSW, LCSW is the founder, director and a full time therapist at Aspire Counseling, a Mid Missouri counseling clinic. Jessica’s clients would tell you that she’s diligent about teaching the importance of caring for yourself. Jessica tries to “walk to walk” so to speak by prioritizing self care and finding balance in her own life as well so she can be refreshed, present in the moment and attentive whether she’s sitting with a client or playing with her own children. Aspire Counseling helps individuals of all ages and backgrounds find healing to move forward. Our intake coordinator works with you to find the therapist who will be a perfect match for your needs and all of our therapists provide at least one evidence based treatment.