Love more, stress less!
(Picture from healthpsychtam.com)
1. Practicing gratitude and meditation: This has aided me in my ability to help myself when I’m alone at my site. Breaths are like little love notes to your body so letting yourself breathe is a good start to your self-care routine. The same goes for gratitude, reminding yourself why you are here, how you got here, and what good you have in your life can make a bad day more manageable. There is so much to be grateful for!
2. If you are an outdoorsy person like me, hiking can create healing: I go on hikes when I’m not serving to help me relax. Hiking allows me to exercise, access more companionship, and take in good ole’ Vitamin D. It provides a space where I can just let nature nurture me.
3. Write down what you feel: In AmeriCorps (especially as leaders) we are encouraged to journal about our experiences. This can be quite cathartic. It gets our thoughts and our struggles out of our heads and onto paper making everything much more manageable.
4. Reach out: You are never alone so please don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you in an appropriate manner (do have boundaries for yourself and respect people’s limits). It can be hard to start service and not have a big social circle right away. I’ve found that joining MeetUp groups and talking to other leaders can be great ways to start building friendships.
5. Remember, everyone is different: It’s okay if none of these techniques work for you, just remember that your mental health matters! Not only is it incredibly challenging to help others without helping yourself, but your physical health can actually start to deteriorate when your mental health is poor. Stress weakens your immune system, so finding ways to achieve both basic and luxurious self-care is super vital for your service work and personal life.
PS. I originally posted this on Montana Campus Compact’s website and it helped a lot of people so I thought that it would be fitting for my first post here !!