Making a Self-Care Wheel for 2020

Every year I make a short video to walk you through creating your self-care wheel and see what jumps out as your self-care priorities. Here is the 2020 5 minute video on how to make your self-care wheel.

I have heard from some of you that you are using this video in your staff teams. I love seeing the wheels you make and what feels like a priority for your self-care now. 

For 2020, I had some new things come forward as priorities.  I am planning to do more personal retreat time, being sure I have even more time for contemplation and reflection. I have some daily time for retreating with my guitar, reading, and writing, but this year I am saving full days weekly for personal retreat time.

Writing is a place on my wheel for 2020. I write haiku, which is playful and relates to nature. I also have several writing projects that I want to complete in 2020. The word "completing" kept coming up in the writing section of my self-care wheel. 

I suggest you make your wheel a few different times so you can see what happens as you focus in.

Here are the things that came up as priorities for my self-care wheel for 2020.

Though I've practiced mediation for a long time, this year my meditation is expanding in two ways. One is Mindful Self-Compassion and the other is being more mindful with my phone and social media. Less is more. Media mindfulness.

Family time feeds my heart. As my children have grown up, I understand the need to do their own lives and I am trying to find ways this year to spend quality fun and meaningful time together. 

Since I broke my hip in 2019, I am increasing my walking. I can't jog like I used to, but I would like to be able to take much longer walks. I am building up to a 5K as part of my walking self-care. There is a tipping point when I push my hip too hard, it hurts and I don't really gain anything. Exercise is a key place on my wheel. I'm a daily exerciser. I swim, lift weights,  pilates, walk. This year I am also hoping to get into yoga.

And the final place that showed up on my self-care wheel for 2020 is clearing and getting rid of things that I am not using. This also feels like a mindfulness practice. I can't tell you the number of times I have thought about and half-heartedly cleared drawers, closets, and stuff.  It has never shown up as part of my self-care. Seeing it as connected to my self-care is putting a whole different spin on it. It also feels connected to caring for our environment.  I am seeing it as changing my lifestyle to be more in tune with living in harmony with the planet. I feel like I am waking up.

The process of making a self-care wheel helps you clarify what is really true for you and what is relevant right now for your self-care. I have been sharing this process for several years and if you do it yearly, you will find that you are strengthening your inner core in layers. You can expand outward and see things building on each other. One year "meditation" was on my wheel. Just practicing meditation. And that has now expanded to an awareness practice that shows up in my writing, exercise, my social media, personal retreat time, and self-compassion. 

If you are doing this for the first time, please save one spot on your wheel for FOUNDATION. Your foundation is sleep, eat, exercise. When you get depleted in any way, always return to focus on your foundation. 

If you have been doing the wheel several years with me, your Foundation is probably embedded knowing. You know when to return to it. You can fill in 6 spaces on your wheel or save one for Foundation. 

Take good care of you in 2020. If you get time, send me an email and share what showed up on your self-care wheel.

Insiders , Outsiders, and Holidays

 As a very young child, I knew the feeling of being an outsider, inside of my family. I was not raised by my parents and their absenteeism in my childhood was felt. This resulted in me searching for connection and relationships in my neighborhood, at the homes of my childhood friends.

I learned at the houses of my friends, at their family dinners, at their birthdays, etc. what being an insider looked like. I joined in other people's families and felt included.  I grew up seeing my community as “home” and learning how to help myself feel included.

And though things turned out ok, I have a deep wound inside that can sometimes rip open or come up to the surface when I feel the sting of being an outsider, or being excluded.

As we go into the holiday season, notice your boundaries, who is considered an insider and who is an outsider in your family?

 If, like me, you are familiar with being the outsider, and the pain of that, take time this season to notice the moments when you feel like an insider and when you feel like an outsider. 

If you find yourself hurt or excluded, use these three steps to help yourself with the pain.

Step 1 - Notice how you are feeling. Acknowledge to yourself, I am feeling like an outsider. When I feel excluded, it hurts.
Step 2 - Assure yourself that this happens. It is a normal, human experience. We all feel like insiders and outsiders at different times.  
Step 3 - Say something kind to yourself. "I know this hurts. I'm sorry you were left out. I'm going to make some time right now to do something with you." Take a kindness break and give to yourself.

You can use these three steps to soothe yourself any time you are feeling hurt, about anything. It takes some practice. 

 Here is a short video giving you ways to soothe yourself with kindness when you are hurting.

The Three steps are from the work and research on Self-Compassion and Dr. Kristin Neff.

How to Stop Failing at Self-Care

Are you failing with self-care? Maybe you really are too busy. Maybe you are dragging yourself around sick, and emotionally circling the drain, and having low energy and no inspiration. Nothing is calling you.

First thing is to figure out if you are emotionally plugged up.
Have you had a loss, or trauma in the last 6 months? Are you facing some hard things emotionally? It is possible that your draggy feeling has some grief hidden in there.

Self-care recovery can be done in baby steps. Crawl back into bed. Take out a journal. Ask yourself about your grief or loss. What has been emotionally hard? Write about it. Make contact with your feelings. Read your journal, writing to yourself. You have to get emotionally truthful with yourself and understand how you are feeling.

When you struggle with self-care, it usually means you are struggling with some other things.

While you are in bed journaling, I want you to recover from whatever cold or body injury you have. Get more rest. Stop doing. Stop running around. Stop asking so much of yourself. Your body needs to recover. Rest is the most underrated medicine. Read a novel, find some interesting music to listen to.  Rest is great for so many things and is a wonderful self-care tool. Catch up on your sleep.

 Getting on track with self-care:

After you have rested, caught up on sleep, eaten well, you can take baby steps to start moving. This can be walking, going to a gentle yoga class. Sometimes joining an exercise class is helpful because they give you the structure. You don’t have to think about it.

Do things that make you happy and give you joy. This is a journal practice to help you: Make a list of 50 things you like to do. Write it as fast as you can. It’s ok to repeat yourself on your fast 50 list. Then read your 50 list and circle only the things that really are self-care just for you - (usually all kinds of to-do stuff pops up, but we are not looking for your to-do list). Only circle the self-care ideas. Anything surprising pop-up?
Do those circled things that are just for you.

I learned that creativity is an essential part of my self-care, playing music, writing/ journaling, and knitting. Reading is also an instant self-care feeder. There are so many choices to read, I keep my kindle loaded at all times and it is always with me.

Try new things: 

If you are not feeling self-care from your old activities, change it up. Learn something new. Try something outside the box. Just follow your curiosity and see where your heart leads. My heart led me to 2-stepping, SoulCollage, cross-country skiing, etc.

Self-care is a process of discovery. Let your self-care surprise you. I look forward to hearing about your discoveries. Send me an update on what works for you.

By practicing self-care, I have created a sanctuary, that I am always in. My sanctuary of self-care helps on the hard days.

Are You Dating Your Device?

"Research by the Nielsen Company found that the typical American adult spends, on average, ten hours and thirty-nine minutes per day interacting recreationally with screens." Doreen Dodgen-Magee, Deviced 

You probably don't need a psychologist to tell you this is having a huge effect on all of us. But in Doreen Dodgen-Magee's book Deviced, she helps us reflect on what this means for our relationships, our creativity, and our ability to feel resilient. She asks us to think about our relationship to our devices.

And yes, that's exactly what it is - a relationship.

I felt disturbed by this book. Disturbed in a very good way. She talks about our "embodied lives" and what is at stake for us as we spend more and more time in digital spaces. I am really struck by the word embodied, and that boundary, or lack of boundary between an embodied life and a digital one. I can't shake the idea out of my mind - how much we interrupt our embodied lives.

She raises concern about how our devices are affecting our ability to maintain eye contact. Imagine the ripple effect in every relationship and our ability to bond and feel cared for and connected with others.

An added value in this book is the significant research she has gathered for us. Every question I have ever wondered about regarding technology's impact on our psyche has been answered in this book. She includes a wide swath of research from the speed of images, video violence, porn, attention span, impact on children, overwhelm, digital overload, radiation, etc. 

Are you concerned about the radiation that leaches off your phone? I will never use my phone when it has one bar after reading the research she has gathered up in this book. 

Her exploration of how the immediacy of getting answers online is impacting resiliency is stunning. Having spent a lifetime of work on helping people develop their resiliency, I am learning how our digital spaces are undermining our embodied resiliency.  I feel compelled to share this book and get us all into a different and deeper conversation.

This book will make you ask yourself some questions. I am certain many will change their habits after reading this book. There is something very impactful about the way she has laid out what is  understood in research and the impact on our embodied selves.

This is a worthy and disturbing read. 

Psychological Warfare In America

I write and teach on the subject of boundaries. I’m also a family therapist and I am looking at what is happening where I live through that lens. I see what is happening in my country as much more than a struggle over boundaries. At this time, I see what is happening as psychological warfare.  I didn’t make up the term ‘psychological warfare’. It’s a very specific set of strategies aimed against people. 

As I watch the divisiveness in my country, it is a divide that is rapidly expanding. Each expansion seems to drop us lower and lower. Into what? How can this be taking us anywhere good? The evidence of the divides is everywhere. Our sense of truth is distorted beyond recognition. Lying is a big part of psychological warfare. 

In the old days, the big channel for communicating your psychological war message was radio, leaflets, and posters. And let’s remember, that was effective. But now, social media and other channels provides an endless stream of opportunities for propaganda 24 hours a day. Imagine the increased efficacy.

Another of the weapons being used is DARVO.

“DARVO stands for "Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender." The perpetrator or offender may Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim’s role and turns the true victim -- or the whistle blower -- into an alleged offender.” Jennifer Freyd, Ph.D Professor of Psychology at University of Oregon, Fellow 2018-19 Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University

Let me make DARVO clearer. A few years ago, Colin Kaepernick takes the knee to protest how black people and other minorities have been treated in America. The DARVO twists his personal protest into a statement that he is offending veterans and is un-American. He was taking a knee for victims. Then suddenly his action is distorted into he is victimizing others. That is a classic DARVO.

And Colin Kaepernick’s protest turned into a media storm to just push out as much as possible, an “interpretation” of his action. Rather than focusing on the issues he was trying to call attention to.

Once you see DARVO - you’ll see it over and over again. The victim is suddenly turned into a perpetrator. We are being saturated in DARVO messaging in our country. Every single day.

In psychological warfare, atrocities are used to demoralize the population. Demoralizing - making you give up and feel hopeless is a weapon of psych warfare. The children separated from their parents at the border is an example of a modern-day atrocity.

Propaganda is used to influence the values, beliefs, emotions, reasoning, motives, or behavior of its targets. The goal is to win the hearts and minds. There is nonstop talk of a “base”- which base do you belong to?  One of the things we keep hearing over and over is the word “un-American”. Who is un-American? Americans are not un-American.

It’s not just that we are polarized. It’s that we are being made crazy. EVERYTHING is being used against us. Most importantly, each other.

Step back and ask yourself, who does all this divisiveness serve?

Who gains from this psychological warfare on our country?

Stand back and think about your strategy for a psychological war. A war is going on. It is being waged on all of us. How will you deal with it?

It is possible that the core freedoms of our country and our constitution can be taken from us in a psychological war. Ask yourself who wins. 

The way I am getting through this is I refuse to be dragged into battle against family members and friends who have different beliefs than me. I will stand up and stand with others. I will also  try to figure out why there is a psychological war being waged in America. I urge us to stand together.