Ways to Practice Self-Kindness

Ways to Practice Self-Kindness

We oftentimes forget to show ourselves a little extra love and intentionally practice kindness on ourselves.

We oftentimes forget to show ourselves a little extra love and intentionally practice kindness on ourselves. Self-kindness means not giving yourself a hard time when things may not go the way you want or expected. Here are a few ways that we can practice self-kindness, especially in the midst of your busy schedule:

  • Set boundaries and limits in your external environment, which may look different for people such as reducing ties to negative people or saying no to tasks that may cause you to feel a lot of pressure or unnecessary stress.
  • Recite self-kindness mantras ritually. Some mantras may include: “I am strong,” “I am confident in my decisions,” “I love myself,” “I am worthy of love,” and “I surround myself with loving and supportive people.”
  • Ask others to tell you your strengths. So often we only look at our weaknesses and oftentimes, it is easier to see positive traits in others than it is within ourselves. So ask people around you what they think your strengths are. Compliments are extremely powerful in helping us promote self-kindness.

Disconnect yourself from technology every once in a while. Scrolling through social media platforms can move us away from practicing self-kindness very quickly, leading us to compare ourselves’ to others and distracting ourselves from being in the present moment. Set a certain amount of time each day where you can turn off your phone, laptop, tv, etc, and take that time to do something nice for yourself! Take a warm bath or read a book you have been wanting to start for a while. Self-care looks different for everyone so do what makes you feel good and rejuvenated.

Take some time in your schedule to practice self-kindness, be gentle with yourself, and give yourself some extra love and care.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or want to dig-in a little deeper on what self-care might look like for you, counseling is an excellent tool for some self-compassion. Gives us a call at 615-591-5262. We are happy to talk through your options for starting the counseling process at The Refuge Center. Our sliding scale might be a great option for you if finances are a concern. 

Blog written by Refuge Center Masters Level Counseling Intern Skye Clark.

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The Most Beautiful

The Most Beautiful

You are the most beautiful you’ve ever been. It’s time to start believing that.

You are the most beautiful you’ve ever been. It’s time to start believing that. It’s time to put all the masks away. It’s time to stop hiding behind the smile, and the false labels you have created to try to define you. It is time to stop running away. It’s time to stop trying to tame the curls and quit trying to scrub away the shame. Just be you in all your natural, God-fashioned beauty. He sees you and loves you and comes with heaps of grace and mercy.  It’s time to pick up your brokenness, even carry it around with you and maybe, just this once, be ok with not fixing it. Because sometimes we just have to live in our pain as we sort it. 

It’s time to assert yourself and find your voice. I know it feels easier to be a victim; to kowtow to the lie or believe what the narcissist said. But he cannot define you. It’s time to start living out loud and shouting, “I like it this way!” to the voices of opposition you have let drown out your speech. Because there will always be those voices but you are enthroned with passion. YOU have great ideasYou have desires and it’s vital to make them known. Don’t cower. You were not meant for cages and cobweb corners and darkness and lonely, solitary bedrooms and silence. 

It’s time to reveal your beauty because the world suffers in its absence. Let your beauty be your gift to this messy, chaotic, broken world. Even if just a smile. 

It’s time to say yes. It might be just a coffee date or an invitation to connect. But just what if it turns out to be a nice surprise? He might raise the standard of all that preceded him. That coffee date? That reply? It might lead to wonder. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true?

Trapped you may feel today but there is a song inside of you. Belt it out. Live unhindered. Go, be beauty-full because you, my lovely, are the most beautiful you’ve ever been.

Written by Refuge Center Masters Level Counseling Intern Kimberly Kooy.

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Night Blooms

Despite my many struggles, strivings and efforts, some things have failed. I have experienced some sadness and grief over those broken dreams and occasionally wonder, will my life have made a big enough difference?

Recently, I was watching a Planet Earth documentary that showed this place in a dessert that had a flower that bloomed at night in the freezing temperatures (the details escape me!).  Humans cannot go there to see the flowers bloom because it’s too cold at night, so a drone caught the gorgeous blooms on film. I was so struck by the remoteness of the location and the fact that humans can never physically witness this miraculous bloom in sub-zero temperatures.

It made me wonder, “Who are they blooming for?”

The answer immediately came to me, that they were blooming for their Creator. In our culture fame is very much tied to worth. Doing great things, making a name for oneself, and being well-known are all things that pull on us as we make decisions in life.

These little flowers made me pause and wonder, would it be enough if I only bloomed for my Creator? 

Despite my many struggles, strivings and efforts, some things have failed. I have experienced some sadness and grief over those broken dreams and occasionally wonder, will my life have made a big enough difference? In the quiet times, I know that God’s witness of my life is enough. He has been there for every victory, fear, failure or tear; and because He is my witness, it all matters. There are other types of witnesses too, my family, close friends and even my therapist.

The same is true for you. He has been there for every win and loss and will continue to share in your joy and suffering. If you feel that you lack those relationships in daily life, know that you still have a witness to your successes and deepest pains. If you want to start developing relationships in daily life but are not sure where to start, remember to start small and begin to recognize that you’re already seen.

Written by Refuge Center Masters Level Counseling Intern Tiffany Miller.

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Letting Go of the Struggle

We learn patterns of coping from a young age and often these same ways of coping that helped us survive in childhood become cumbersome later in life.

Life can be hard.

The ways we learn to cope with life’s pain can be learned in childhood or during a tough season of adulthood. We learn patterns of coping from a young age and often these same ways of coping that helped us survive in childhood become cumbersome later in life.

Sometimes, after a season of hardship or struggle, we can forget what it feels like to be in a healthy cycle of rest, times with a healthy amount of stress that is followed by another time of rest. Some common coping behaviors are drinking, worrying when there’s no clear benefit, getting used to chaos and struggling to enjoy good times when things get easier.  

A good example of this is the usefulness of snow chains on a tire when it’s snowing outside. When the weather is bad, those snow chains are essential, you couldn’t get anywhere without them!

But what about when it’s summer and the roads are dry and dusty? I am not a mechanic, but I do know that in that scenario, snow chains would be harmful, not helpful.

We can think of our own learned coping mechanisms in the same way. When we were in childhood or going through a hard time following a death in the family as an adult for example, we needed those coping mechanisms to keep us afloat. When the sun comes back out and life is good again, how do we take off the snow chains from our proverbial tires? Well, one way to start examining those things that have helped us cope in the past, but may not be as helpful now, is to just start observing when you do that behavior.

An article on the Good Therapy website describes this struggle in these words:

“Oddly enough, painful feelings can be comfortable, especially if they’re all you know. Some people have trouble letting go of their pain or other unpleasant emotions about their past because they think those feelings are part of their identity. In some ways, they may not know who they are without their pain.”   

So, who would you be without your pain and negative coping mechanisms?

Some good ways to start learning this about yourself is through these three options:

  1. Beginning therapy
  2. Finding your trigger points. When do you feel a spike in those anxious and painful feelings?
  3. Observe them, but don’t judge. Simply start becoming aware when and how often you engage in that behavior.

If you’d like to begin therapy and explore these topics, give us a call at 615-591-5262.

Cohen, I. S. (2017, Aug 7). Important Tips on How to Let Go and Free Yourself.

Retrieved from https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/coping-mechanisms

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-emotional-meter/201708/important-tips-how-let-go-and-free-yourself

Written by Refuge Center Masters Level Counseling Intern Tiffany Miller.

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Five Tips for Relieving Stress

Before we find the solution to the problems we experience, we can carry a lot of stress. Here are a few tips to help manage the stress before the solution is found.

Life can be unpredictable and painful, and sometimes even when things are good, day to day life can feel overwhelming and stressful. Learning what you need to help release that negative stress can go a long way in gaining energy and health. In a 2018 Time magazine article, stress is described as “an imbalance between a challenge and the resources they have to deal with it…” Before we find the solution to the problems we experience, we can carry a lot of stress. Here are a few tips to help manage the stress before the solution is found.

  1. Stop and acknowledge: When you feel pressure mounting at work, or home, a good first step is to stop and acknowledge to yourself that you are feeling stress. Simply stating that you are stressed out loud to yourself or someone else can help take the edge off.
  2. Body Scan: Try and identify what that stress feels like in your body. A simple way to do this is to close your eyes, start at your toes and scan your body for where you feel any tightness, shortness of breath, tingling or warmth. You may feel something that isn’t listed here, and if you notice that, that’s great! You are making great strides in getting to know your own body and how you experience stress. Once you identify where your body most feels your stress, try to soften it and send some love to it.
  3. Deep breaths: Calm, deep breaths can help send the signal to your physical body that everything is ok. Try to make the exhale twice as long as your inhale breath to help your body kick back into a resting state.
  4. Remind: Remind yourself that all stress is not negative, and that it can be incredibly useful! In small amounts on a daily basis, it can help you be a better problem-solver and gain new skill sets which then boosts self-confidence. The key is to view it as a friend, not an enemy.
  5. Assess: Assess the activities and obligations in your life to see if anything could be reduced, cut out or altered in any way. Don’t do this step until you are in a calm state as it will be difficult to problem solve when in an anxious state.

If you’d like to explore how stress is impacting your life and daily activities and relationships, counseling is a great way to make that step. Give us a call at 615-591-5262.

Selna, E. (2018, November). How some stress can actually be good for you. Time. Retrieved from https://time.com/5434826/stress-good-health/.

Written by Refuge Center Masters Level Counseling Intern Tiffany Miller.

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